Trade shows – what to consider before you sign up

At Get Ahead, we love business exhibitions. We love the energy in the room and we love meeting people. It’s exciting to learn about the latest industry trends, and some of our most productive relationships have been started at expos.

However, expos are not for everyone. They are great marketing tools, but they are not a magic spell to double your business or become the market leader. You might get a lot out of attending an expo, or you might not. In this blog, we look at what to consider before you sign up.

Is this the right event for my business?

If you’re inexperienced with expos, it might be difficult to work out whether or not you should go. Of course, the organisers will make it sound like the greatest show on earth, but it’s important to remember that attending will cost you time and money. 

Firstly, consider the type of expo. Is it for all businesses in a certain area, or a nationwide event for one industry? Is it trade-only, or open to the public? What kind of visitor are they expecting?

Exploring the website should give you an idea. Look at the list of exhibitors and let it tell you what kind of people the organisers are hoping to attract.

It’s also a good idea to look at the events programme. Most expos have talks and seminars – do the topics sound too advanced, too basic or just right for what you offer?

Trade shows – exhibitor or visitor?

Pros and cons of exhibiting

When you exhibit at an expo, you pay for a space which you can design as you wish, and it’s yours for the duration of the expo. Your business will get a mention in the programme, and there might be public speaking opportunities too.

However, exhibiting can be expensive. Not only must you consider the cost of the stand, but also the graphic design, banners and promo items. You’ll be away from your desk for the duration of the expo, as well as the day before for setting up, and possibly even the day after if you’re worn out. 

Expos are a great marketing opportunity, and a great way to build your network. However, it’s important to weigh up the operational and financial costs of attending an expo before committing yourself.

Pros and cons of visiting

A less expensive option is to go as a visitor. All you need is yourself and your business cards, and many expos are free to attend. The downside is that you can’t directly promote your business and you’ll have a much lower profile than an exhibitor. However, you can still build your network, talk to the exhibitors and identify new opportunities. You’ll be able to attend the talks and you won’t be stuck in one place for the whole event.

It’s also a good idea to go as a visitor if you want to find out more about the expo. For example, if there’s a new trade show, it might be better to visit it this year and use your findings to decide whether you want to exhibit at it next year.

Should I go to the trade show?

The Get Ahead regional directors love expos and trade shows and always get a great deal out of them. However, expos aren’t for everyone. We’d always suggest going to at least one as a visitor before you decide whether expos are the right solution for your business.

Business expo support for small businesses

If you do decide to go, we’re here to help! We can support you with graphic design, marketing messages and social media in the run-up to the show, and even take care of your out-of-office support. To find out more, contact your local regional director.

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.