Trade shows can be one of the most effective and dynamic ways for you to get out and market your business. They allow you to be face to face with prospective customers and educate them about all of the reasons that you are so great at what you do.
So which shows do you choose to go to? Do you attend them all? What should you look at when determining where your team will have the biggest impact and you’ll see the best return on your investment?
Follow these tips to help you choose the best trade shows for your business:
It’s Okay to be Picky
Not all trade shows are created equally. It’s important to choose a show that will deliver the best return on your investment. A particular trade show may not be the best platform for your company. Focus on shows that will have the biggest impact on your business, while eliminating ones less beneficial. Perhaps consider attending fewer shows with a new strategic approach instead of stretching yourself thin by packing in too many shows into your calendar. The money you have saved by focusing on worthwhile trade shows can be invested wisely with these opportunities:
- Create a larger custom booth. There can be an overwhelming competition for attention and time can be limited. A booth that is bold and stands out from the rest will ensure that you get noticed.
- Invest in more feet on the ground. With a proper staff to help maintain the booth, it provides you the opportunity to give your attention where it’s most needed.
- Host an off-site event. This is an opportunity to gain exposure to local and potential customers and leave a good impression.
- Buy a sponsorship. This can broaden your competitive edge while boosting your credibility and image.
Identify Your Goals
The first thing you need to do before you sign up for any trade show, or perhaps before you even begin to look for one, is to decide what it is that you are looking to get out of the trade show experience.
- Are you trying to gather leads?
- Looking to promote a new brand?
- Do you need to make direct sales?
- Or perhaps you are trying to gain publicity for your company?
Understanding what you hope to achieve out of attending a trade show makes it possible for you to set benchmarks for which you can measure the success of the event and your return on your investment. Plus, it will allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not to attend the same trade show in the future so you don’t waste your money on an event that did not meet the goals you are shooting for.
Research Past Results
Just as many experts say, the best predictor of future events are past results. Before selecting a show you’ve never attended, do some research about its history. Make an attempt to find out how many vendors and attendees they have had in recent years.
If you are willing to dig even deeper, consider asking the organizer for the following information:
- Testimonials are a great way to get in touch with past vendors to ask their opinions on how the show has been run in the past.
- Ask for feedback from people that attended the show as a consumer to see if they felt the trade show was effective.
- How many new clients were gained after an event closure.
- The impact the show had on their revenue.
Know Your Audience
Before you spend your valuable marketing dollars on the entry fee for a trade show, it is imperative that you have a thorough understanding of the people that will be in attendance. Try to find out all you can about what motivates, excites, engages, and persuades. This is a particularly good reason to try to contact past attendees of the show so you can ask if they bought anything or found any particular vendors more interesting than the others.
Try to understand what attendees of the event are looking to purchase, learn, or gain by attending the event so you will know how to tailor your booth to draw them in. It will also give you valuable information when trying to decide if it’s not a valuable event for your business.
Take the Plunge
Gaining exposure at a trade show is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your business. Once you have eliminated the shows that don’t meet your criteria, it’s time to execute and plan your vision. Align yourself with the right resources to make your exhibit stand out from the rest.