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Tips to Choose Your Trade Shows Wisely


Has your company been exhibiting at the same trade shows for the past 10+ years simply because that’s how it’s always been? Maybe your business is dealing with budget cuts including trying to cut back on trade shows this year; and therefore, thinking about going the obvious way and cutting whichever show is the most expensive solely based on the floor space investment? Or are you considering adding a new trade show to your list because it is close by?

Let’s talk about why these trade show marketing strategies might be worth re-thinking. If you re-attend the same events over and over…

If you came into the business being told to plan for the same yearly trade shows, or have been at the forefront of these plans from the start of the business, have you ever thought about expanding your horizons to new shows? Although it is tempting to stick to your usual lineup of trade shows, this strategy might be killing your exhibiting opportunities and not giving you the best ROI. While these yearly shows might have produced great results in the past (or not) that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re still the best option now.

With new trade shows being introduced and many shows shifting and growing, it is quite possible that there are more qualified trade shows out there for your needs. Finding all of the right shows is possible, it’s just a matter of your team taking time to dive into your options and understanding if your current go-to shows are giving you the results you’re after.

If you go for the more ‘cost-friendly’ shows…

Did you know that even if you are exhibiting at inexpensive, smaller shows, you could still be losing money on these investments? At the same time, this can also be true for larger shows. It truly doesn’t depend on the size of the show, as what matters comes down to the quality of the attendees.

If you make the investment to attend a high traffic, very well attended show, this could be extremely rewarding and prove to be a great return on your investment. On the other hand, it might not be. Some events state their ‘projected’ number of attendees each year on their websites, which reflects in their pricing. However, this number could be inferred based on previous years’ attendance and might not be reflective of the current conditions of the industry given the last year we have all had. It is important to analyze your results after each event and take a look at the price you are paying vs the leads you are bringing in. While one show that boasts large numbers might only bring you a few quality leads, a smaller show that is more specific to your industry/target audience could provide more qualified opportunities, meaning way more leads coming your way.

This is why it’s important to test the waters with new shows, and not just stick to whatever is cheapest. Doing your research on trade shows in your industry might lead you to a new show that your business can flourish and stand out at, rather than blend in. Pay attention to your show’s numbers as this will play a large role in your ROI! One way to track attendance is by using QR codes for booth guests or even putting every person who enters your booth into a drawing. If numbers are much lower than expected, chances are you’ll be losing money, and it is probably time to find a new show where you can maximize your exposure.

While it is obviously important to factor in the price of a trade show, factoring in the quality of the show is more important!

If you stick with trade shows that are the closest options…

It’s understandable, trade shows that are within driving distance or a short flight seem to make sense as it involves fewer travel expenses and less time out of the office. But don’t let it fool you into not reaching your full potential. If you have been keeping it close to home for your trade show exhibiting, chances are, there are many more shows that would be a much better fit beyond the limits you’ve put on your business.

For those in competitive industries, it may take some of the larger industry shows to get the maximum exposure needed to grow their business. Getting your business’s name out to a larger market cannot be done efficiently at your smaller, more local events.

If you are keeping it to smaller shows, chances are you’re missing out on a huge potential to reach some of the biggest buyers in your industry. According to Exhibitor Online Magazine, “45 percent of audience members at any given trade show attend no other exhibitions in their respective industries.” If you are sticking to the smaller local shows, you’re definitely missing a huge market of buyers! Having the option to reach more people at once can also allow you to attend fewer trade shows that give you more bang for your buck. Fewer trade shows also mean saving time and money from exhibiting at many smaller shows just to get the same exposure.

Another reason that exhibitors like to keep their shows in close proximity is because of shipping costs for exhibits. While this might be a pricey thought to have to ship your exhibit across the country, Skyline Exhibits takes that factor out of the picture for you. With a global network of hubs all over the country, we are able to keep your costs down with our asset management options.

And although, yes, deciding to exhibit at further trade shows that include taking a plan ride to get there may be more costly, meeting with the highest quality buyers is more than worth it. You will quickly see that in your results.

Now is the perfect time to take a good look at your trade show exhibiting schedule. Before shows ramp up again, ask yourself WHY you are attending each show and put together a plan to measure your success at each event you plan on attending moving forward.

Have more questions about getting outside your box of typical trade shows that you have always known? Skyline Exhibits can walk you through the process of venturing out, and we can share how we will help you every step of the way.