Considering a trade show opportunity? Make sure you spend your time and money on the right one.
Just because online marketing has started a new chapter for companies doesn’t mean trade shows are no longer worthwhile. Trade shows can get your employees in front of potential clients, demonstrate your products or services in a way you can’t over the Web, and give you and your employees a chance to network with others in your industry.
But there’s no denying that trade shows are a lot of work. To pull off a great trade show, you need to spend days preparing, whether it’s training your employees or creating branded materials or perfecting your booth setup. So, when you commit to attending a trade show, it’s important to ensure it’s worth your valuable time.
When choosing a trade show, the first thing to consider is what your goal for the show is. Are you launching a brand new project, or trying to increase sales of a current one? Are you raising awareness about your brand, or are you simply trying to connect with clients you already have? By discovering your goals of attending a trade show, you may either realize you don’t need to attend a show after all or that you don’t need to go to the biggest, flashiest show to see a difference in your bottom line.
Then, after considering the list of industry trade shows, do some research. Find out statistics on attendee numbers, attendee occupations, and other participants. If you’ve never heard of any other company that’s gone to this trade show, for instance, it probably isn’t a great fit. You want to be where the competition is. Another thing to consider is how long the trade show’s been around. A brand new show that doesn’t have a large audience may not be worth your time—or it may be a great way to become a big fish in a small pond. This decision will circle back with your previously-discovered intentions for the show.
Next, ask your current clients which shows they attend regularly or have attended in the past. If they’re going to certain shows, chances are that those similar to them will be attending as well.
Lastly, don’t forget your budget. Some trade shows charge thousands of dollars and give you only a few square feet, whereas some will provide a booth and a large setup space for only a few hundred dollars. Trade shows, like every other aspect of marketing, run the money gauntlet, and it’s important to take your budget into account when selecting a show.