Exhibiting at a trade show can feel like an overwhelming process — especially if it’s your company’s first time. But take it step by step and you’ll be a pro in no time.

The first thing you should figure out is which trade show will be the best fit for your brand. Here’s how:

1. What Are Your Goals?

The value of a particular trade show will depend on what your end-goals are. For example, if you want to increase lead generation, consider a trade show that caters to your specific niche within your industry. Doing so will allow you to generate more qualified leads because many of the attendees are already motivated to purchase a product or service that specifically meets their needs.

Or, if building brand presence in your industry is a higher priority, a larger trade show with a broader scope is a great way to reach people in both your industry and in related, but non-competing, fields.

But if you’re looking to showcase new products, try researching the trade shows best-covered by industry news outlets. Try to book time for an interview or demo with attending reporters, as any potential media placements will increase brand awareness, lead generation, customer acquisition, and give a competitive advantage within your industry.

In any of these scenarios, it’s important to utilize your exhibit design to help you stand out on the showroom floor.

2. What’s Your Budget?

There are many factors to consider while setting your budget. These typically include the size of your booth, the cost of your booth space, exhibit-related fees, promotions, at-show services (freight, AV/tech, cleaning, furniture rental, etc.), staffing costs, etc.

To get you started, the two largest considerations will be booth space — 33% of your entire budget — and the booth itself, which is another 20%.

3. Are There Any Networking Opportunities or Value-Adds?

Different trade shows will not only be covered by different media outlets and niche news services, but will have different guest lectures and events as well. Refer to your end-goals and objectives for attending a trade show, as this will help you decide on the show that has the most potential value.

For example, are you looking to beef up your sales team and arm them with industry knowledge? You might want to consider a trade show that has lectures and courses focused on improving their sales efforts.

Or, are you more interested in building brand awareness within your industry? Take a look at the scheduled networking events, as these shows could be a better fit for you. These are just a few factors to consider when evaluating your options.

4. How Long Will You Be There for?

Consider the duration of the trade show, so you can plan for how your business will continue to function while you’re away. For smaller companies, attending a trade show might mean you need to close up shop or slow down production during the event.

When it comes to your trade show exhibit, you want to ensure attendees see your hard work and experience your brand for as long as possible. However, if attending a trade show means a decrease in sales, you may want to sit that one out, or reevaluate your objectives for that specific show.

5. What are You Expecting for Your ROI?

ROI is a measure of the overall cost of the trade show against the realistic goals that you expect to attain, whether those may mean sales, PR value, or leads.

Your ROI metrics will vary based on your overall objectives and the type of trade show you attend, however it’s vital to measure and record as much data as possible.

Be sure to keep track of direct monetary differences, contact list acquisitions, and sales during your trade show, and try to quantify the spread of your brand awareness, PR opportunities, and potential business partnerships as much as possible.

Considering each of these points is vital to choosing the best trade show for your brand. But by starting with your company’s needs and goals, it will help hone in on the trade shows that provide you the best value.

If you have any questions regarding your next trade show and booth, get in touch with Exhibit Options today — we’re always here to help you with your trade show needs!