How to choose the trade show that is right for your business

There are hundreds of trade shows throughout the year, giving businesses more options to exhibit. However, not all trade shows are going to be a right fit for your company. Here are a few quick tips to help you decide which trade show is right for you so that all of your efforts pay off.

1. Look at the history of the trade show. A good indicator of how your experience will turn out when you exhibit at a trade show is the trade shows history. By looking at it’s history, you can probably find out how many vendors exhibited last year and figure out what types of products they were showcasing. Were there a lot of exhibitors in the same industry as you? If other leaders in your industry attended, then it might be worth looking into. Check to see the longevity of the trade show. Usually, trade show continue, year after year, if they are successful. A trade show that is well established will run smoothly and you’ll be less likely to encounter any issues. Nomadic Displays says, “Be cautious about participating in a first time show. Promotional material may be extremely persuasive, but a show without prior history is a risky venture.”

2. Look for feedback. Are there any reviews, blogs, or articles that reviewed the trade show last year? If it is a good trade show, people will be talking about it. If you aren’t able to find anything online, try to find someone that either attended the trade show or exhibited to let you know how their experience was. By speaking to people that actually attended, you’ll get an idea of how it might be for you. Ask around and gather opinions. Here are some questions that might be useful to ask someone that previously attended the same trade show:

  • What type of audience did you notice? Did you receive any quality leads?
  • What impact did it have on your business, overall? 
  • What were your favorite things about the trade show and what would you change?

3. Know what you want. Why are you attending? Are you exhibiting new products, are you trying to get leads, checking out the competition? Make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish and analyze whether the trade show you chose will meet your needs. By knowing what you want to get out of the trade show, you’ll know what to look for when doing research about the different trade shows. 

4. Check to see what the trade show is doing to attract attendees. How the trade show is set up and how it is managed makes a difference. You want to attend a trade show that is well organized and that is creating a buzz for themselves. Look to see if they’re doing anything extra to attract a larger crowd or what type of advertising they’re using. It is important that they bring in a crowd so that you’re able to meet more clients and therefore, sell more. Baeu Medina from Cre8 Exhibits & Events says, “The most vital factor is to have individuals attend your exhibition stand, if nobody attends then taking part in a show will be a waste of your time.”

5. Money talks.  According to Peggy Swords from Excalibur Exhibits says, “It doesn’t matter if the trade show looks perfect on paper if you can’t afford to exhibit. Trade show costs can add up quickly, so make sure to do your homework on the costs involved ahead of time to avoid surprises later.”One of the biggest concerns for a lot of businesses is whether they have the budget to attend a trade show. Establish your budget and compare the amount of money you will be spending vs. your estimated profit (or what you would need to make to break even). Here are some costs that you should consider when deciding: 

  • Booth space & fees, trade show displays, promotional gifts, trade show staff
  • Other expenses: transportation, food, hotel.

6. Check for Additional Opportunities. if you are trying to find ways to save money, ask if maybe you can be a sponsor and if they’ll be willing to trade or give you a discount on the booth space. This will allow you to build a relationship with the trade show coordinators, help get your name exposed while still saving money  Another option is to see whether you might have the opportunity to be a speaker. This is a great opportunity where you can use your expertise to help others, making it more likely for people to remember you and allowing you to stand out.

7. Timing is everything. Something to take into consideration is the date of the trade show and what types of projects your company is focusing on. You should try to go to a trade show when there are important things happening in your business or if you have some new products that you want to introduce to the public. It is also best to attend during the peak season of trade shows (most trade show happen in the fall or the spring). Even if you don’t have any new products, check to see when it is the busiest time for your clients and try to cater to them. 

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