Knowing if a trade show is right for you and your business, and more importantly, if it will help your business grow is essential. Trade shows are an amazing opportunity to showcase new merchandise, generate sales leads, and build industry contacts. They can give clients, other businesses and consumers something tangible to see and associate with your brand. Competition at trade shows can often be fierce as hundreds of exhibitors are competing for the attendees’ time, attention and money. It can also be very easy to talk yourself into attending a convenient, but potentially low impact trade show because you have an amazing sales staff or because you are in the middle of a product launch. With all of these factors considered, it can be difficult to gauge which trade shows are truly worth the investment, but here are some tips that will help you make that decision:
- Conversion Rate
Before investing in a trade show, it helps to have a grasp on prospective conversion rates. Try to get a good handle on how many potential customers, or leads will be there. Of these leads, how many fall within your target market? What does your competition look like at this trade show? If a number of important decision-makers or other high-level attendees are scheduled to attend a trade show, the ability to meet and interact with these potential buyers can be very lucrative as they will have the authority to make purchasing decisions. If trade show lead generation is your goal, then these factors will have a direct impact on your ROI, so it pays to do your research.
- Identify All Potential Costs and Benefits
Identifying concrete costs in terms of expenses and sales for a trade show is easy, but that doesn’t always tell the entire story. Often, sales generated by a trade show don’t happen during the event. It is also hard to place a concrete value on general exposure or contact building. At the same time, an expense report doesn’t always tell the entire story either. Lost productivity and opportunity costs are important costs to consider when deciding whether or not to send a particular team to an event.
- Focus on Networking Opportunities
Trade shows offer a wealth of valuable networking options. You can focus solely on sales, gaining leads, or networking with peers. Or, you can split your time up between all three channels. Talk to previous visitors of the show to discover more about the focus of each particular show. For some trade shows, the best networking happens at the events and parties after the trade show floor closes. Instead of viewing the other businesses as competition, it’s possible to take an innovative approach and exchange information, get to know one another, and discuss common strategies for converting leads into customers, etc.
Make sure you investigate the trade show that you will be investing in. Collect reliable data on the show’s full history and its general reputation. In doing your research, you can get a feel for the quality of the show and how it’s viewed by other industry experts and consumers alike. Also, for a company that is trying to break into a new market or does not have good knowledge on their competitor’s product lines, attending a trade show where many competitors will be present can be very valuable.
- Size Matters
Common wisdom dictates that you will have the most success when you attend a trade show whose theme or focus aligns with your business objectives or short-term goals. However, sometimes it is just about exposure and feedback, especially for developing organizations or new products. Large, generic trade shows may not result in as many sales as smaller, hyper-targeted events, but they do provide a huge amount of actionable feedback and helpful suggestions.
Trade shows bring people together for a common industry purpose. That means a potential pool of consumers, peers, or leads are within your grasp. For expanding your network, they can save you months of traditional marketing. With these items in mind, we hope it will be easier for you to answer the question, ‘Which Trade Shows Are Worth It’ for your business. If you have any more questions on what you should be looking for in prospective trade shows, please contact us.