Time To turn Pro – Trade Shows

Choosing The Right Show

If you’ve decided to take a stand at a show this year then, before investing, it’s vital to complete some comprehensive research. Consider as many potential shows as possible, and don’t discount smaller local events, especially if you’re just starting out. Think about the risk vs reward; would the high-risk event you’re considering signing up for result in a potentially low or high reward? Many factors can contribute to this, such as whether your ideal client is likely to be attending, the number of competitors who will have a stand there, how well publicised it is and so on.

Take time to consider the audience that you’re likely to encounter at the event. Here, any statistics that you can receive from the organisers is invaluable. What has been the show’s footfall in previous years? Did your target audience attend? Were they investing whilst at the show? The more information you collect, the easier it will be to decide whether to book a stand.

Don’t take on lots of stands within a couple of months of each other. Instead choose one or two; focus on making them the best they can be, and then subsequently evaluate how they performed. This will then give you time to
adapt and change strategy if necessary.

Also, when comparing potential events, consider any extras that are offered by the organisers. For example, will you be advertised on a high-performing website? Are you going to be included in the show brochure? How much general publicity is the show going to receive?

You also need to consider the following:

Monetary Investment
You’ll need to invest in the following; stand, accommodation, travel, insurance (public liability), display items, marketing material and so on. This can very quickly add up into a large sum, so consider what this is likely to be early on, to enable you to estimate your potential return on investment.

Time Investment
Consider the time you have available to dedicate towards an event. You will need to prepare before attending and then spend time on evaluating and subsequently following up leads. Show lengths can also vary, from one day to five or more.

Size of Stand
Different stand sizes are likely to be available, with larger stands obviously representing a bigger investment. Lay out the size of your potential stand with some string in an open space, and this allows you to visualise how it can all work out. Will people be able to easily walk around and browse? How will the overall layout look: might it be overcrowded or, conversely, have too much empty space? How can you incorporate your branding into the overall look? If you really can’t get the layout to work then explore the option of choosing a different size.

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