Trade show exhibitions give your small business a great opportunity to showcase products or services to customers and prospects. But let’s face it; you can’t be at EVERY show, and they’re not all a perfect fit for your business. So how can you choose the best one to exhibit at? If you have been asking yourself this question, you are in the right place. We’re going to share with you some time-tested tips that will help you choose a trade show that will not only help take your small business to the next level but also allow you to make the most out of your allotted budget.


Define Your Objectives and Strategies

Before you start looking for a trade exhibition, make sure you define your intent. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to increase your leads? Do you want to raise awareness about your products or service? Do you want the trade exhibition to help you strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers? Pay attention to the location requirements, displays, and type of booths needed. Only after you’ve clearly defined your objective and strategy should you begin to search for the right exhibition.


Define Your Target Market

The next thing you need to do before you start looking for a trade show is determining who your target audience is. What’s their gender? Where do they live? How do they make buying decisions? What products and services appeal to them? Once you know who your target market is, ask yourself: what trade exhibitions do they usually attend?


Understand Your Options

There are thousands of trade exhibitions that take place each year and new ones keep popping up every month. Look for the opportunities that are right for your business. When evaluating the options, look for the one that resonates with your clients and prospects. This way, you will be able to narrow down your list of potential shows.


Look into the Trade Show’s History

Once you have come up with a list of potential shows, it’s time to look deeper into the event history. How long has the trade exhibition been around? Is it new or has it been around for several years? If it has been around for several years now, this is a good sign that it is popular and will help you achieve your objective. But don’t stop there. Check into the history of the organizers. It is also crucial to consider the reputation of the organizers.

Also, be sure to contact organizations and other people who have participated in the past shows and ask them the following questions:

  • How was the experience dealing with the show organizers?
  • What was the size and demographics of the people that attended the event?
  • Were there any problems? If so, did the organizers handle them with professionalism?
  • Did you get any leads?
  • How many vendors attended the trade exhibition?
  • Did the customers and prospects you wanted to see attend?
  • Would you attend the trade exhibition again?



When choosing the right trade show, make sure you consider the timing. Ensure the trade exhibition you choose does not conflict with another function that you plan to attend. Attending two shows at the same time can be tiring and can double your expense. Also, find out about other trade exhibitions taking place in the same neighborhood during that time frame. Even if the other trade exhibitions are not related to your industry and the products or services that you offer, a high number of people can lead to increased hotel rates and increased costs. Lastly, find out if the timing of a particular event aligns with your customers’ and prospects’ buying patterns. Is it too late in the year or too early?


Come Up with a Budget

Figuring out what you’re willing to spend before you spend it can be very helpful. A budget will help you know if you can afford potential trade show necessities like banner stands or modular displays. When coming up with a budget, make sure you factor in the cost of event booths, designs, transportation cost, employee and staff expense, promotional material, shipping and other show services that you may need. Exhibition costs vary from one exhibition to another, so make sure you go through online and offline research to avoid surprises. Also, consider renting your trade show display if you find you don’t have to budget to outright purchase.


Is There Enough Space?

Now that you have chosen the trade exhibition you want to attend and have created a budget, check space availability. What booth spaces are available? Note that booth locations may determine the performance of your exhibition stand. Some will help you attract more people than others. To ensure the booth space they give you help you capture your customer’s attention easily and quickly. Also, make sure the booth space can fit your desired booth layout.


Are there Other Marketing Opportunities?

The best trade exhibition is the one with more than one marketing opportunity. For this reason, the trade exhibition you choose should offer other marketing possibilities such as educational seminars, and sponsorship opportunities. With more marketing opportunities, your business will have higher the chances of winning more clients.

Also, try and take advantage of press opportunities. Press opportunities will give you an opportunity to increase your sales and brand yourself as an industry expert. They will also enable you to create stronger ties with journalists and let you build trust and authority. Ask for the previous year’s journalist list. If you will be attending the show, contact the journalist early and send them information about your business and the solutions that you offer.



Choosing the best trade exhibition for your business is not as easy as most people think. It can be difficult, time-consuming and sometimes confusing. But don’t let that intimidate you. Just follow the tips we have highlighted above. They will help you identify the best trade exhibition for your business—one that matches your budget and resonates with your customers and prospects. These tips will also help you avoid the mistakes that most vendors and individuals make when choosing a trade exhibition. Be sure to follow the tips for the best outcome.

Ready to choose? Our tradeshow calendar will show you all the shows and dates you need to select which show is right for you.