Promotional Products Home Promo University® Advanced Promo Item Management How to Choose the Right Trade Show for Your Business

How to Choose the Right Trade Show for Your Business

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

Published: March 18th, 2019

Updated: April 22nd, 2019

Trade shows are a dime a dozen, and you’ll find them all over the world. That’s why you should know what options are out there for your particular needs. After all, it doesn’t really make sense to go to a bridal expo if you sell digital toasters, right? Luckily, there’s a trade show for almost everything, which means you’ll find the perfect place to showcase your product or service.

Which trade shows should you check out? How do you find them? Pack your bags and get ready to promote your brand at the next big expo!

How Do You Choose a Trade Show?

If you’re a business owner, there are many conventions and trade shows you can attend to advertise. The best way to choose the right one for you is by:

  1. 1. Knowing your target audience
  2. 2. Checking the web for upcoming shows
  3. 3. Preparing for travel
  4. 4. Choosing a good exhibit space
  5. 5. Creating a great display
Know Your Target Audience

1. Know Your Target Audience

It’s helpful to first hone in on your target audience, especially since some trade shows are consumer-focused while others are business to business.

Are you trying to market to teachers? Bankers? Wizards? Or do you want to network with others in your industry and build connections? Figuring out what you want from the trade show will help you determine whether or not you should attend the one you have in mind.

Know Your Target Audience
Find an Expo

2. Find an Expo

Once you’ve figured out who you want seeing your booth, it’s time to find an expo that meets your needs. A simple Google search for “Arts & Crafts trade shows,” “Engineering trade shows,” or any other industry + trade shows will yield plenty of results. You can also find trade shows using free databases like Expodatabase industry, keywords, or locations to find something that fits your needs.

After finding an event, you can look further into its history, reputation, and costs. Consider also following the expo on social media. If it’s getting poor reviews, or is way out of your budget, it’s definitely not worth your time and attention.

Find an Expo
Get Ready to Travel

3. Get Ready to Travel

Maybe the event sounds super awesome and you want to check it out. In that case, you need to decide how far you’re willing to travel. If it’s far, you might need to factor hotel costs, airfare, and rental cars into your budget. Worst case, it’s a good excuse to take that Vegas vacation you’ve always wanted!

Get Ready to Travel

The top locations for trade shows include:

  • Las Vegas
  • Orlando
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Atlanta
  • New Orleans
Las Vegas, Nevada

1 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Popular Trade Shows: International CES, SEMA Show, Magic Market Week

Fun Sights: The Strip, Fremont Street, Bellagio Fountain Show

Good Restaurants: Pizza Rock, Le Cirque, Beauty & Essex

Orlando, Florida

2 - Orlando, Florida

Popular Trade Shows: PGA Merchandise Show & Convention, AIMEXPO, The Landscape Show

Fun Sights: Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World

Good Restaurants: Trevi Pasta, Sushi Pop, Black Rooster Taqueria

Chicago, Illinois

3 - Chicago, Illinois

Popular Trade Shows: The Luxury Bridal Expo, National Restaurant Association Show, International Home + Housewares Show

Fun Sights: Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Willis Tower

Good Restaurants: Purple Pig, Girl and the Goat, Frontera Grill

New York, New York

4 - New York, New York

Popular Trade Shows: American International Toy Fair, Summer Fancy Food Show, AES Convention

Fun Sights: Times Square, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

Good Restaurants: Wildair, Victor’s Cafe, Sullivan Street Bakery

Atlanta, Georgia

5 - Atlanta, Georgia

Popular Trade Shows: Small Business Expo Atlanta, Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, Atlanta Boat Show

Fun Sights: World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta Botanical Garden, CNN Studio Tours

Good Restaurants: Staplehouse, Ticonderoga Club, O4W Pizza

New Orleans, Louisiana

6 - New Orleans, Louisiana

Popular Trade Shows: SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, New Orleans Gift and Jewelry Show, PITTCON

Fun Sights: French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square

Good Restaurants: Toups Meatery, Neyow’s Creole Café, Café Degas

Choose the Right Exhibit Space

4. Choose the Right Exhibit Space

Ready to go to the trade show? Make sure you reserve your space early and set up shop in the right spot. The most recommended location is close to the entrance, right when attendees are feeling fresh. Other high traffic areas are near the food and restrooms, in the aisle intersections or corners, and in close proximity to major attractions. Stay out of the back or sandwiched in the middle of other booths.

Choose the Right Exhibit Space

5. Create a Great Display

Now that you have the prime spot on the trade show floor, you need to come through with an incredible display. Start with making sure you have awesome giveaways to hand out to the crowd. From there, create an eye-catching backdrop and staff your booth with vibrant, enthusiastic personalities.

Get Ready to Go

Get Ready to Go

Congratulations! You’ve decided on a trade show and are ready to go dazzle the crowd and promote your brand. You’re making a good choice considering the return on investment of these events. In fact, 4 out of 5 people at a trade show are potential customers. Overall, trade shows have a rich history of networking and lead building.

Before you get too excited for your trip, though, take the time to ensure you pack the essentials like comfortable shoes, power cords, and snacks. After all, you deserve to have an awesome experience.

Check off all the boxes on this handy trade show checklist!

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, trade shows are an investment and it’s okay to be picky about which ones you attend. Do your homework, look up reviews, and decide on a budget. This will help you narrow down your choices and get into the trade show game.

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She's a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you'll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.

References

Vantage Advertising. (2018). Top 6 Trade Show Locations in the United States. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.models4tradeshows.com/top-6-trade-show-locations

Design Shop. (2018). Tips for Choosing the Best Exhibit Space at Trade Shows. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.teamdesignshop.com/blog/2013-12-12-tips-choosing-best-exhibit-space-trade-shows

Shear, A. (2018, March 17). How the Right Color Choice For Your Trade Show Displays Attract More Visitors. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.infinityexhibits.com/choose-great-colors-for-trade-show-displays/

Matthes, C. (2018, March 2). 20 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows and Expos. Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://www.spingo.com/blog/post/20-powerful-stats-on-the-value-of-trade-shows-and-expos