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Trade shows are a great way to see what other companies are doing in your field, promote your business and connect with clients, both new and continuing. In researching popular industry-specific trade shows, registration fees for larger and well-attended shows can sometimes seem expensive. Demonstrating to your boss that trade show ROI is worth the expense can sometimes be difficult. The following tips and tricks can help you convince your superiors that exhibiting at a trade show is the perfect way to market your brand.

Choose Trade Shows Strategically

Not all trade shows are equal and some are more effective than others at helping you reach your target audience. Research trade shows to determine which ones will be the best fit for your company by looking at what shows you have participated in already. Does the company focus on industry specific shows, general shows or a combination of both? Use data from past shows to see which have been the most effective in generating new business. Then look for ways you can recommend improvement by continuing at the best shows, dropping ones that are less successful, and adding new shows that are a good fit. Doing your research helps you present a strong case for change based on the data.

Create a Budget

Determine the cost of attending a trade show and make a detailed breakdown of expenses. Find out what funds are available for marketing and work with those to create a realistic budget for the show that fits with the company’s budget constraints. Show that you can allocate funds responsibly and stay within a specific budget when planning a trade show exhibit. Having a clear budget that demonstrates this event fits within the company’s marketing funds makes your proposal more attractive.

Frame it as a Marketing Investment

Trade shows are marketing investments; they are designed to help you connect with potential clients and develop sales down the road. They are generally not a sales tool to generate large numbers of sales over the duration of show. Pitching a trade show as a marketing investment gives your superiors a better idea of the value of trade shows and minimizes the possibility of disappointed expectations.

Focus on the Power of Meeting Face to Face

Face-to-face meetings are a powerful way to make personal connections and establish your company in the minds of potential clients. Trade shows are easily the most cost effective way to meet with a large number of people face-to-face in a short amount of time. The emphasis on face-to-face time applies not only to potential clients, but also to existing ones. A trade show lets you stay connected with your current customers and strengthen your existing relationships. Focus on the potential of these face-to-face meetings when sharing the proposal with your boss.

Emphasize the Free Publicity

Local media typically covers trade shows, making it possible for you to get coverage on local channels or footage to include in marketing videos. Larger trade shows often receive national coverage for even greater exposure. Your company benefits from the additional exposure and can increase brand recognition, even among people who do not attend the show.

Calculate the Trade Show ROI

Use data from past shows to determine their ROI and create a plan for evaluating your proposed trade show. Develop clear goals for a trade show by asking questions about how you are attracting an audience and what kind of impression you are making. Then determine the best method for evaluating those goals, such as performing phone surveys, email questionnaires or exit interviews at the show. You also want to keep track of sales that were the result of your booth at the show. Having specific goals and a way to evaluate them helps your company determine the ROI and the value of participating in future trade shows.

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Share the Benefits

In addition to the benefits already mentioned, trade shows offer a number of advantages for businesses. Sharing these with your boss helps reinforce your trade show proposal. Consider the following benefits:

  • Scope out the competition – Visiting the competitor booths gives you an idea what others in your field are doing and how they are marketing to attendees.
  • Branding – Establish your company as a serious player in the industry through media exposure and strategic marketing.
  • Network – Trade shows are a great opportunity to meet other professionals in your field and build relationships.
  • Product launches – Launching a new product at a trade show creates interest in your booth and is a great way to evaluate the initial response.
  • Find new employees – Putting up a NOW HIRING sign at your booth can help you recruit qualified employees already experienced in the field.
  • Captive audience – Since more than 90 percent of trade show attendees come to learn or see something new, you have an audience that is interested in hearing about your company and products.
  • Qualified leads – Gathering contact information from the people you meet at the show gives you a list of potential clients to follow up with afterwards.
  • Troubleshooting – Networking with professionals in your field gives you the opportunity to share and learn from each other.

Seal the Deal

With the many advantages of trade shows, it is easy to see why numerous companies attend. Nimlok Louisiana has the experience and partnerships you need to ensure your trade show goes off without a hitch. Backed by our team, and by following the tips above to focus on the positive aspects of trade shows, you can show your superiors the value of attending and convince them to support your trade show proposal.

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