Trade shows are an investment. Even if you love to make appearances at these events, your budget likely doesn’t allow for it. Instead, you must choose shows that give you the biggest return on investment. As you narrow down your options for trade shows, here are five practical tips to keep in mind.

  1. Define Your Objectives

Trade shows are for more than networking and coming home with free goodies. They are an opportunity to strengthen relationships and expand your reach into new markets. So, before you settle on events for the year, define your objectives and what you hope to get out of your trade show schedule.

Your company goals may be:

  • Improve relationships with existing customers
  • Raise awareness about your company
  • Introduce new products or services
  • Increase sales or leads
  • Drive traffic to your site and social media pages
  1. Do Your Research

The next step is to narrow down your list of options (based on location, industry, and time/date) and research each one. Will the trade show help you achieve your goals? Let’s say that your objective is to get a line of new products in front of your customers. Rather than choosing trade shows with a new audience, you would benefit from events with your current market.

  1. Consider Conflicting Events

Something that a lot of people forget to check is the possibility of conflicting events. Concurrent shows will burn through your budget, as your expenses will be doubled. Conflicting events can also come from outside your company. What other events are taking place nearby the conference? This can affect who attends the show as well as traffic patterns, flights, and hotel accommodations.

  1. Check Space Availability

If you had a custom booth built to be shipped to the event, you need a space that will accommodate it. Not all booth real estate is created equal, so check to see what spaces are available. Will the custom exhibit fit the space? Will you be in a central area where people can see you? It has happened where attendees didn’t check this information and had to reconfigure their exhibit.

  1. Consider the Audience

It’s tempting to attend conferences that get all the attention. But, don’t get carried away with the largest events. Whether attendance is 5,000 or 500, it’s the audience that matters. A good portion of trade show attendants come from the local area, so consider this audience as well and if they fit your buyer personas.

When this research is complete, you can find the best trade shows to attend and put your budget to good use!