The hidden costs of trade shows can add up quickly. To know what trade show marketing is costing you, it’s helpful to track your expenses. This ensures that you don’t miss anything, whether it’s a paid ad on social media or a display banner printed from your local print shop.
Today, we are going to discuss the four main trade show categories that eat into your budget:
- The exhibit
- Marketing materials
- Services and labor
- Booth staff
Let’s break down each category so that you can better understand what your expenses are.
Your exhibit costs include all trade show items, including the structure, fixtures, maintenance and packing materials. Also included in this price is the cost to rent the exhibit. The typical booth space is 10×10, but you may want to increase your size for certain trade shows. Remember that flooring, furnishings and lighting usually cost extra, too.
Promotional and Marketing Materials
Social media and email marketing are the most cost-effective ways to let people know of your event. You may want to invest in paid ads so that you can target a specific audience. Paid ads are an option on social media, third-party websites and Google Display Network.
Printed marketing materials are still popular, though many brands are cutting back because they are expensive and not always useful. Still, it’s smart to have some paper copies on hand for those who want them. Brochures, catalogs and business cards all fall under this category.
Finally, you can’t attend a trade show without promotional products! Choose branded swag that is relevant to your business and useful for your audience. When people see others walking around with your products, they’ll be interested in visiting your booth, too.
Services and Labor
Services and labor refers to storage, shipping and repairs. Consider where your exhibit will be stored when it’s not in use and how much average shipping costs are for each event. If you’re using a rental exhibit, shipping may be included in the price.
If you own the exhibit, you’re responsible for maintenance and repairs. We recommend bringing along a repair kit to your events so that you can do most things on your own. This will save money and prevent further damage during the shipping process.
It costs money to get your booth staff to and from the event, so be sure to calculate these costs into your total budget. Consider investing in travel packages that include transportation and hotel costs. You can often save money this way, and then allocate a daily budget for meals.
Trade shows are a big investment, but most brands see a positive ROI from them. The key is to know what you are putting into your event and trim costs where possible. In the end, a single trade show event opens you up to increased brand awareness, new lead contacts and the opportunity to keep up with the latest innovations.