How to Make the Most of Your Trade Show Budget

B2B companies allocate significant parts of their budgets every year to trade shows because of the return on investment that they bring for companies’ bottom lines. A trade show exhibitor with a booth of more than 401 square feet will spend more than $43,000 as an average on the booth, according to Exhibitor magazine. With significant sums such as this being spent, exhibitors need to be smart about how to successfully and efficiently use their trade show budget. Here are some ways you can be a savvy spender and maximize your trade show budget.

Create a list of KPIs for your budget

Before going to your trade show, you need to know what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be. Each company is unique in its requirements for what KPIs need to be measured. Your budget should always be measured by KPIs that make sense for you, such as new purchase orders generated from the trade show, new signups for your company’s sales newsletter or a set number of people who visited your booth. It is easier to maximize your budget if you tie it to specific financial goals, such as increasing sales of one specific product line.

Be seen by visitors

The most important thing you need to do as a B2B trade exhibitor is to make sure you visible by attendees. If your trade show booth is hidden in a space that doesn’t get much foot traffic, the opportunity to draw in potential clients and interest them in your products and services decreases. This is the one area of the budget that you need to maximize space for your dollars.

You shouldn’t overpay, but you should definitely try to select a decently sized booth that is in a prime location. Take a lesson from successful real estate agents: The agents who do well are the ones who choose properties in lucrative locations that people want to live in. Weave this strategy into your own so that you can get a good return on your budget. Choose a trade show location that attracts the most amount of foot traffic without breaking the bank.

Invest in the right type of signage

Imagine you are visiting a trade show as a buyer with thousands of visitors. Your eyes are going to be taking in a range of visuals and images from a variety of exhibitors. What would catch your eye as a buyer? With this in mind, it is easy to see that using your budget to invest in signage that grabs attention is the way forward. Create a trade show display that includes bright colors, an attractive design and an engaging message.

Create space for personalized sales and marketing talks

Forty-eight percent of trade show attendees said that face to face interactions are becoming more valuable, according to research from the Center of Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). Your booth should include room for the team to talk to potential buyers.  s You want to provide visitors to your booth with a space for them to sit, ask the team questions and learn more about the products and services you have to offer.. Since there is a higher chance of selling to prospects face to face compared to over the phone, your trade show budget should include plenty of room for face-to-face selling.

Focus on generating revenue

More than 80 percent of B2B exhibitors say that the most important goal is to increase sales, according to CEIR. To make your budget go the distance, everything you do should be about increasing revenue. Some ways you can do this at your trade show include having signage that showcases promotions and offers.. If you create a custom banner that shows a promotion instead of a flyer, you are capturing more attention from foot traffic which could convert into increased sales for your company.

Choose your superstar staff for the trade shows

A trade show can never be successful without the right team of people on the frontline of the exhibit.. Pick your best team members in key departments. Investing in a passionate and authentic team to talk to prospects and generate leads can result in a positive return..

Don’t spend more than 40 percent of your budget on a trade show booth

The accepted budget allocation for trade show location is spending no more than 30 percent of your budget for booth space. The average exhibitor spends around 36 percent of their trade show budget on exhibition space, according to statistics. You don’t want to spend more than 40 percent on space because there are many other things that you need to allocate your budget to, including trade show marketing materials for your exhibit and company swag visitors to your booth, as well as lodging for staff, per diems and allowances, and transport to and from hotels. If you spend more than 40 percent of your budget on exhibition space alone, you will run the risk of either overspending on your budget or making it difficult to see any kind of return. Be prudent. Have everything covered in your budget and always start booking booth space early so that you can get discounts on pricing.

By following these seven tips, you can make sure that you get the most out of your trade show budget. Once you have come up with a budget that works best for you, assign it to a project manager who is solely responsible for keeping it in check. This way, the rest of your team can focus on providing your visitors with a stellar trade show experience.

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Leslie Pierce

VP of Marketing at Half Price Banners
Experienced VP of Sales & Marketing with a demonstrated history of working in the wholesale industry. Skilled in Luxury Goods, Sales, Retail, Store Management, and Sales Operations. Strong marketing professional graduated from Rockhurst University.
Leslie Pierce
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