Should Your Business Participate in the Next Home Show?

Are home and garden shows an effective way for your home design and build company to get in front of your target prospects? Use these 10 questions to find out.

Custom home builders, landscape contractors, its almost home and garden show season! In preparation for this annual chaotic time, we've lined up a series of topics to help you get the most out of your experience. To get started in this series, let's make sure that your business should really participate in this year's show or two.

As you ask yourself the below questions, be honest with yourself - allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and really provide honest answers! 

If you end up with a yes or need more consideration, read part two in this series: How Much Does a Booth in a Home and Garden Show Really Cost? 

1. Are home shows your only marketing tactic?

If you aren't doing anything else all year long - or not sure if you will, easy answer here: stop reading, you should NOT do a home show, not this time anyway! If it's not the only tactic, keep reading.

2. Are you participating simply because it's what you've done for years and years?

There's no black and white answer with this question, but it does require some thought. If habit is the only reason you're doing a home show again, stop and evaluate this list and othersRelated: See a Decline in Home Shows ROI; Whats Next?

3. Are you complementing your home show strategy with a high-quality blog on your website?

Inbound Marketing is the most effective way to drive people to you - in cost and close rate. A blog however can be complemented with a home show - especially if you just started blogging. If you've got this frequently updated blog on your website, keep reading. If not, don't do a home show and get your blogging act together first.

4. Will you have to stop any other digital marketing efforts to support your home show?

Even if it's temporary, stopping any other efforts can't be option. If you can't afford to maintain your other marketing strategies, then a home show isn't in your near future, stop reading! If this isn't you, keep reading. Related: What Facebook Can Do For Landscape Contractors and Architects.

RELATED: LEARN HOW TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS WITH FACEBOOK WITH FREE E-GUIDE.

5. Will you have any budget to spend on marketing your booth prior to the home show?

Yes, the home show organization is responsible for aggressive advertising of their home show. They do want to bring you a lot of foot traffic! This however isn't the result we often hear. Instead, home specialty and general contractors often complain that their foot traffic drops year after year. You are still responsible for making your home show booth a success - take charge. Make sure you have the marketing budget to advertise your attendance through your bloggingsocial media, and other advertising you see fit. If this budget isn't available, stop - you shouldn't do this home show; otherwise, keep reading. (Wondering what advertising you should do? Stay tuned, that topic is part of this series!)

6. Will you or your best salesperson(s) be able to attend the entire home show?

If you're going to spend the money and energy in preparation, don't skimp on this - you must have your best salespeople there. If they can't make it (annual vacation time, conflict with completing project client work), then don't do the home show - it'll just be a waste.

7. Are your expectations realistic?

If you're expecting this year's home show to fill up your calendar for months on end (and we mean with work, not just endless appointments), then stop kidding yourself. It won't produce that kind of results! And since we are a bit biased of inbound marketing, we'll say that inbound will bring those results. Back to the point, figure out if your expectations are reasonable. If you're relying too much on this home show, go back to the drawing board and look at other options within your budget (or time to increase your budget). Keeping reading if you honestly think your expectations are okay. 

8. Does this home show have it's target market clearly defined?

We've attended too many home shows in which you can see every single type of prospect - but there is always a majority. And no matter how much you spend and how great you do with advertising your booth before the show, if the actual event isn't targeting your target client, then they're not coming. Make sure your target marketing aligns to the home show's target! If not, get out now.

9. Will you be doing anything different this year to improve your ROI with your home show booth?

If the answer is no and you weren't happy with last years results, then stop! Of course you shouldn't do it again. The definition of insanity is... Otherwise, read the last question to get your answer.

10. Do you have your measurable goals defined?

You'll be investing quite a bit, so what are you really doing it for? Answers like "get more clients" doesn't suffice here. How much work will you need to sell after the home show, as a result of the show, to break even, and then to make enough return to have made it worth it? If you have these numbers defined and you meet the rest of the criteria above, then a home and garden show might work for your home improvement business. 

Read part two in this home show series: How Much Does a Booth in a Home and Garden Show Really Cost? 

-Image Flickr HimmelrichPR