Get facts and information to help you plan and promote a successful trade show. We have tips on choosing shows, selecting booths, budgeting, creating displays, promoting events—even exhibiting internationally—all designed to help you make the most of your events.
Choosing the Right Shows
Picking the right shows is key to any good trade show strategy. Start by reviewing your overall goals. If you have not already done so, prepare a written description of your prime prospects, including specifics on industries, buyer demographics and purchasing patterns.
Next, make a list of shows that you may want to attend and gather as much statistical data about the shows as possible. This research should include:
Selecting the Best Locations
The location of your display at any show is a key factor in your exhibit’s success. When selecting your space, consider how close you’ll be to building entrances and exits, registration and press areas and your competition. Make sure your space has convenient access to power and other utilities and is within a reasonable distance of restrooms and food service areas. Avoid dead-end aisles, spaces obstructed by columns and ceiling pipes or other areas that do not promise high-volume attendee traffic.
Here are the types of spaces available at most shows and tips for choosing the best location for your display:
Long Range Planning: One Year or More Before a Show
Nine-to-Twelve Months before a Show
Three Months before a Show
Two Months before a Show
One Month before a Show
One Week before a Show
At the Show
Review your overall trade show objectives and calculate the total investment needed to meet those goals. By setting an annual budget, you can then begin to determine how many shows you can attend and how much you should invest in exhibit displays, promotions and other event expenses.
One of the line items on any special event budget should be for signs and graphics. An indispensable component of your strategy, signs help you manage your event by providing a static, consistent method of directing, informing and selling.
To help you begin planning your budget, below is a breakdown of how most companies spend their trade show dollars and a trade show budget worksheet that you can use as a guideline.
How Most trade show Money Is Spent
Click Here for the Graph
Creating a Winning Display
Use words to identify your company, position your products and services, and inform and educate your prospects.
Saving Money on Displays
By advertising your company, products and any special-exhibit activities before the show, you can multiply the positive effects of your trade show investment. Plan early and target your promotions to your core-customer prospects.
Direct Mail, Public Relations and Ads
Premiums and Incentives
These free giveaways add to your trade show costs, but can be a good way to attract more people to your exhibit. Of course, many people who collect free items at shows may be poor customer prospects. Therefore, if you can target premium items to your prime prospects, they can be valuable tools to build traffic and find new customers.
Taking It on the Road
Once you have created an exhibit and gone through the steps to research, plan and make a trade show presentation, you can easily extend that program to any number of shows. Use your initial planning and budget meetings to determine which and how many shows make sense for your business. If you will attend a number of shows each year, keep your display fresh by updating it with new graphics, recent product releases and new promotional support.
Exhibiting internationally is a smart way to test foreign markets for your products and services. Exhibiting at international shows can help you discover new markets, make local contacts and find potential international sales people.
Tips for exhibiting internationally: