August 24, 2017 — Trade show appearances are great for exposure, but they are certainly not cheap.  Few forms of promotion are costlier except, perhaps, prime-time television ads.  While it’s certainly possible to do a trade show on a reasonable budget, a smart organizer is going to still look for every viable way to get a maximum return on all the money being spent.

There are several ways to accomplish this, both in terms of getting better direct returns from the show itself, as well as finding ways to continue getting value after the show.  We’ve got some tips to help you ensure that, despite the costs, your trade show appearance will be worth the money!

12 Tips to Get More from Your Trade Show Investment

  1. Before the Show
  2. Do your research and pick theright show(s).

Sometimes, success at a trade show is determined early on in the choice of shows to attend.  Picking the right show to align with your overall business goals and show-specific goals will go a long way towards increasing your chances of success.

  1. Don’t get more booth than you need.

In theory, it’s great to have a gigantic can’t-miss booth – but they’re going to cost you a lot in floor space, and even more in filling up that space.  Really drill down to get at your core objectives for the booth, and pick a booth size that fits those needs.

  1. Think carefully about buying vs renting display materials.

This is one of the big X-factors in how much your booth will cost to put together.  Rented trade show display materials, furniture, and such will be far less expensive up-front.   However, purchased materials can be reused for years to come and could provide better value over the long term.   Do the math here before deciding.

  1. Practice, practice, practice!

Never go into a trade show cold.  You should have staff selections made early on, then give them plenty of opportunities to practice their pitches, small talk, demonstrations, and any other public-facing activities.

  1. During the Show
  2. Always make purchasing a possibility.

Even if your appearance isn’t focused on sales, always make sure it’s a possibility – even if that means just having a tablet set up pointing at your website catalog.  Never turn away a sale or tell them they’ll have to wait for a callback.

  1. Do plenty of social media.

These days, a trade show appearance isn’t limited to those at the show.  Do plenty of blogging, Tweeting, and YouTube’ing to keep those at home informed and interested as well.  You can vastly increase your exposure this way.

  1. Make time to network.

Don’t assume all your best contacts will make it to your booth.  Be sure you or another manager spend some time in common areas, break rooms, and such meeting and greeting other attendees.  Often, the face time you get at shows is more valuable than any orders made directly.

  1. Shut off thosephones.

Never let trade show interactions get interrupted by phone calls.  Unless it’s the actual President on the line, nothing is more important than the person you’re talking to right now.  If necessary, have one staff member take calls and messages on behalf of everyone else.

III.  After the Show

  1. Keep the social posts flowing!

Not everyone will be keeping up with social media during the show.  Make plenty of post-show wrap-up reports talking about the show overall, what you learned, and interesting tidbits.  Don’t make it 100% about yourself either; show some love for any notable events.

  1. Make those followup callssoon.

Don’t let any leads go more than 48 hours without a call or email.  If possible, get back to them within 24 hours.  Strike fast, before others have time to get them on the hook.

  1. Repurpose your display materials.

Reuse any purchased display pieces!  Pop-up displays and literature racks could go in your lobby.  Any lighting or other electronics could be incorporated into your offices.  Banners and flags could fly outside your building.  Keep the value coming.

  1. Make plenty of videos.

The more video you can take during the show, the better, because it’s GREAT material for creating corporate videos afterwards.  Even if the videos aren’t specifically about the show, it’s excellent “B-roll” material or as part of your outreach efforts overall.


Best Displays wants your trade show appearance to succeed!  Contact us today to set up great values on display materials and logistics!