You’ve decided to participate in trade show marketing, and now you have to choose which trade shows you will invest your time and money into attending. While it sounds simple in theory, finding and attending the “right” shows takes research and sound strategic planning. There are thousands of conferences to choose from annually, so the last thing you want is to spend money on attendance, displays, and travel to a show that overlooks your target audience.
There are thousands of business trade shows in the U.S. annually and new ones pop up frequently, so it’s important to identify the right show during the right time in the most desirable setting for your business. You can start this research by finding a reliable trade show calendar.
Not every trade show will be a good fit for your business, and that’s okay! By asking the right questions well in advance, you’ll increase your chances of connecting with the right people and increasing your trade show ROI. Below are some tips to get you started.
- Why do you want to attend a trade show exhibit in the first place? First and foremost, you must identify a concrete reason to attend a trade show and have in mind what you hope to accomplish. Determining a strategy and defining objectives upfront is key. Establish a list of goals and a plan to execute them.
- Who will be attending? Answering this question will narrow the field further and help you find a convention targeting people who fit your customer profile. Are you looking to interact directly with consumers, or with other businesses? This will help determine whether you want to attend a B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business) event. Research a list of trade show by industry to narrow down which shows you invest more time into researching.
- What are the past years’ attendance numbers and was it successful? Contact the show’s management and find out. This information (especially robust attendance numbers) will tell you whether this is a show you want to attend.
- What are the costs? Keep in mind you’ll have to factor in entrance fees, booth costs, your marketing campaign, and what kind of space you’ll secure during the show(s) you plan to attend. Premium space cost more, but will likely increase your ROI.
- Will the show require travel and if so, is it worth my time? There are a lot of benefits in attending a show locally. You can save on transportation cost not only for yourself and employees but the transportation cost of the booth and related marketing material. Chances are some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. will not be local and will require travel. Narrow down your trade show list by travel requirements in relation to your budget (airline, hotel, and booth transportation costs) and from there you can determine which shows will be worth your time, money, and travel.
- How many employees will I need? Depending on the scale of your trade show booth, additional staff may be required to set up and man the booth. And if the show will require travel, you’ll have to factor in hotel and travel costs too.
- Is the tradeshow well known? Next, you’ll want to look into the event’s history: is it well-established and well-known? Is it reputable? If you have colleagues or know other business owners who have attended certain shows in the past, ask them about it.
- Are there any sponsorship opportunities at the event? A great way to gain more exposure before the show even starts is it invest in a sponsorship. Securing a spot for your logo well in advanced will increase brand awareness and let attendees know you will be attending.
By answering the above questions based on your ideal trade show calendar, target audience, goals, and marketing budget you will have a good insight on which trade shows will provide solid leads, and which ones you can save time, effort, and money on. If you are interested in trade show marketing and are looking to rent or buy a trade show booth contact us today!