What Should I Spend On a Trade Show?
Trade shows are a tried-and-tested way to put your business in front of a captive, interested audience. When done well, your trade show displays will provide you with an impressive number of new leads, customers and business contacts that will help move your company forward in leaps and bounds.
However, setting up an eye-catching, professional trade show display takes some budget planning and commitment, and it is easy to over- or underestimate your spend. As a general rule, plan to allocate around three times the exhibit space fee for your total trade show budget. The cost will depend on the size of the show and the attendance; larger shows often attract higher exhibitor fees, but the potential for leads is far greater with the increased attendance numbers.
To help you plan your next trade show display, we have outlined four key areas to allocate funding so you can ensure you get the most out of your exhibit.
Trade show exhibit space and display
Your display products can take up to 40 per cent of your total budget, but it is not an area to skimp. Your trade show display becomes your number one promotional tool for the entirety of the event, and the quality and approach-ability of your booth can make or break your experience. Spend time researching what trade show display items will work best for your space, budget and aesthetic, or contact an expert for some guidance.
You may find some trade show organisers offer an ‘early bird’ discount on exhibitors fee – take advantage of this! Getting in early will also help spread out your budget and ensure you are getting everything ready in time.
To further help stretch your trade show budget over time, opt for reusable displays that you can take to the next event or set up a display stand in your office as added on-site marketing. Lightweight, portable display products such as freestanding displays are perfect for smaller trade shows and can easily be transported and set up without hiring additional moving equipment.
Lastly, when it comes to budgeting for your trade show exhibit, ensure you invest in quality graphic design work. As the saying goes, you have “one chance at a first impression”, so make it count in the vast sea of competition around you.
Trade show freebies and promotional material
One of the best things about visiting a trade show is the swag of goodies to take home! Excite and encourage your display visitors with quality, informative and memorable giveaways. Prospective clients will then be reminded of your brand long after they walk out the door! You may also like to include marketing and promotion material in this section of your budget. These can be utilised at the event as well as in the lead up, such as flyers, brochures and advertising campaigns.
There is a fantastic range of accessories now available to help display your trade show freebies and promotional material neatly, such as brochure holders, iPad display stands and freestanding frames. Get creative and think from the visitor’s perspective when it comes to arranging your materials for maximum visibility.
With the increasingly diverse and high-tech trade show displays now available, you need to factor in services such as electricity for your lights and backlit display signs, as well as internet access. Show services costs may also include cleaning, catering, assistance with setups and venue access. These costs could blow out to around 10 per cent of your total spend, so make a comprehensive list and err on the side of caution here.
Personnel and productivity costs
These costs include everything needed for you and your staff to attend, including wages, travel expenses, hotels and meal allowances. To keep costs down, aim to book your travel and accommodation as far in advance as possible, and make use of the many discount travel websites available or an experienced booking agent.
You may also need to think about lost productivity in the office if you have multiple staff away at a trade show. Aim to delegate tasks in advance and have your staff conduct in-depth handovers to minimise lost time.
Maximising your trade show impact with follow-ups
After everything has been packed away, your work is not quite done! Get more bang for your buck with a reliable follow-up system for leads. Trade shows can be overwhelming for people, with so many companies vying for their attention and information overload at every turn. For this reason, follow-ups are essential – remind your trade show contact who you are and what you spoke about, while gently introducing some of your products and services that may be beneficial to them.
Follow-ups are where your trade shows costs are counteracted by sales, so put in the work, and all of your efforts will be rewarded.