While some trade show costs are negotiable and can even be skipped entirely if you are on a budget, you can’t avoid paying for some essentials. From floor space to the cost of getting your exhibit and team to space, you’re going to have to spend money on the following items every time you attend a show.
5 Essential Trade Show Costs You Can’t Avoid
You simply can’t avoid it – you’ll have to pay for the real estate you use on the trade show floor. In fact, according to experts at the Tradeshow Institute, you’ll spend about 40% of your entire budget on floor space each time you attend a trade show event. The actual dollar amount you’ll pay per square foot will depend on the venue itself, the size of the show and other factors; while you can sometimes save on this expense by booking your space early, you’ll still have to fork over some cash for floor space at every show you attend.
You’ll need to get yourself and your team to the site, even if you only bring a skeleton crew. Count on paying for travel, a place to stay and even a per-diem or dining costs during the show. Staying offsite, bundling flight and hotel reservations and booking early can reduce your costs, but it will not eliminate them entirely.
You’ll need to bring staff to talk to prospects and to help interact with every person who visits your booth; carefully reviewing your goals can help you figure out just how many people you should bring with you. You can cut your staffing costs by incorporating an iPad lead capture app into your booth; visitors can enter their own information in exchange for a contest entry or fun prize, no extra employee required.
Booth Transportation, Setup, and Teardown
You’ll need to ship your booth to each show you attend and have it installed; the further the show is from your base, the more it could cost to get your exhibit there and get it ready. You’ll also need to transport consumable materials, your sales promotions and other items. If you are offering a contest or incentives for lead generation, you’ll need to ship your prizes and promo items as well. The venue itself may charge a fee for setup or require you to use their teams for your installation; you may not be able to avoid these expenses when you exhibit at a trade show.
From branded t-shirts and flash drives to totes with your business name, most visitors expect to get a gift when they visit your booth. You’ll need to decide on what you want to offer and how much you want to spend; promotional items vary wildly in cost and perceived value. Consider using an iPad lead capture app to swiftly gather contact information for your salespeople to follow up on later. By offering a promotional incentive, you can be sure your prospects will complete your survey or app and you’ll be able to reconnect later.
A trade show offers powerful selling opportunities – your prospects are right there and able to focus on your presentation. You’ll need to allocate some part of your budget for entertaining existing clients and courting new ones. You may be able to offset some of this cost if you have a traveling sales team; they can meet with clients at the show and eliminate one or more costly trips later in the year.
Every business is different but for most, these costs are unavoidable. While you can’t get out of paying for these essentials, you can make sure you get the best possible return on your trade show investment.
Also published on Medium.