There are hundreds of trade shows every year, but it’s financially and physically impossible for one brand to be at every one of these events. How can you choose which trade shows you should attend? Follow these tips:

Understand the audience.

There are two main types of trade shows: consumer only shows, which are open to the general public, and trade only shows, where the attendees are retail buyers, wholesale distributors, and other industry influencers. Determining which audience you want to reach is one of the first decisions you have to make. If you want to sell directly to the end consumer, choose consumer only shows, however if you are hoping to expand your distribution and network with people who can help you grow your business, choose the trade only shows.

Look up past shows.

Do a quick Google search of each of the shows you are interested in attending. You should be able to find a list of exhibitors who have participated in the last few events, as well as pictures and reviews from people who have attended. Use this information to determine if the trade show is worth your time and money. What have other people said about the show? Were some of your competitors listed as past exhibitors? Did the booths look like put together and professional? Answering these questions will help you decide whether the trade show is a good fit for your brand.

Consider other marketing opportunities.

Some trade shows will have more marketing opportunities for you than others, so do your research before making any decisions. For example, you may be able to sign up as a guest speaker at trade shows that offer seminars. At others, you may be able to purchase a spot in the event’s newsletter or on their blog. The price may be included in the cost of your exhibitor fees, or they may offer it to you at a lower rate if you do choose to exhibit.

Check the booth locations.

When it comes to trade shows, it’s all about location, location, location. The location of your booth will have a huge impact on your success at the event, so you should never sign up for a trade show without looking to see what spaces they have available. It’s important to ensure you are not located on a dead end aisle with limited foot traffic. You should also find out where your competitors are located and discuss with your team whether you want to stay close or distance yourself from their booths. Ask the event organizer where the food stations, entrances, escalators, and elevators are so you can visualize where people will be walking when you look at the floor plan. Remember, even if you think the event is a good fit for your brand, if there’s not a decent space available on the exhibitor floor, it’s probably not worth the investment.

Have you already decided which trade shows you’re going to attend this year? Tell us which ones you’ve decided on in the comments below!