Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

show planning

Determining Your Potential Audience

If you’re exhibiting at a show that attracts 30,000 visitors, how can you calculate – within a reasonable margin of error – how many of those 30,000 will actually come to your booth?

Well, it’s all guesswork. But at least it’s educated guesswork!

The most recent information I’ve seen suggests anywhere from 7 to 12% of the entire audience at a show is going to potentially visit your booth.

Let’s say you’re planning to exhibit at a show that attracts 30,000 visitors – that means your potential audience is 2,100 to 3,600 people. But only about 80% of the potential audience will see your exhibit, and only about 45% of that number will stop and engage with your staff.

So let’s go back to the example. If your ‘potential audience’ is 2,100 to 3,600 and only 80 percent of that number will see your booth that puts the number between 1680 and 2880. With that you can plan on seeing anywhere from 945 to 1620 people who will stop at your booth.

So if you take the number of hours and divide that into your potential audience, you can calculate approximately how many people will visit your booth on an hourly basis. Let’s say the show lasts 3 days, and runs from 10am to 5pm each day. That’s a total of 21 hours, so you should have about 45 to 77 people visiting your show per hour.

Of course, some hours of a show are busier than others, but with those numbers, you have information at your fingertips that can help you determine a number of things: how many people you should have staffing the booth, how many ‘lead sheets’ you should have available, how big your booth should be, even how often your staff should be able to take breaks.

If for some reason you have run the numbers and found out at the end of the show that your numbers are way off (say, way down) from what you had anticipated, look at some of the variables that might have affected that. Some you can control, others you can’t. You CAN obviously control the ‘look and feel’ of your booth, its attractiveness and the graphics. You CAN’T control the look and feel of booths around you, or what your fellow exhibitors are using as enticements or promotions. You CAN control how your staff interacts with attendees, how well-trained they are at gathering leads and qualifying visitors.

And keep this in mind: a rule of thumb is that you should have two staffers for each 100 square feet of booth space, even with demo stations, tables for client meetings, etc.

So, do the math, and determine how big of a space you should really have – and if that fits in your budget. Naturally, budget rules everything. But if you have very strong information that suggests your booth should be bigger (or even smaller) than what you’ve been using, you can make those adjustments internally over time.

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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