8 Step Trade Show Planning Checklist

8 Step Trade Show Planning Checklist

Trade shows take place year-round in major cities across the world and offer many opportunities including increasing brand awareness, lead generation, networking and checking out the competition. Before making a large investment to host a booth at your next trade show, be sure to have a checklist to help you prepare. 

1. Set actionable and measurable goals for the trade show

Set goals before you invest time and money into a trade show. What do you want to achieve at the trade show? Are you looking for your next investor to fund your expansion? New clients to increase your revenue? New employees to take on new roles? There are many benefits of attending a trade show, but you won't know how to take advantage of the benefits without defined goals. You want to be sure to set goals that are actionable and measurable so you can determine how your company performed at the trade show. 

Trade Show goal examples: 

    • Increase Brand Awareness
    • Distinguish your company from the competition
    • Lead Generation
    • Recruit new employees
    • Introduce a new product or a service

    2. Select a trade show that will help you achieve your goals

    After you've set goals and targeted your audience, finding a trade show to attend will be a lot easier. Most trade shows have websites including an about page that provide essential information about what the trade show is about and who may attend. Who is your target audience? Will they be in attendance? Will your competitors be attending the trade show? These answers will let you know if you're on the right track to selecting the best trade show.

    3. Set your trade show budget 

    Trade shows are big investments. Create a budget for the trade show based on your goals and objectives. Many variables make up your trade show budget. Consider expenses for booth space, logistics, booth design, marketing, booth staffing and travel, storage and miscellaneous costs. A rule of thumb is to multiple the amount you plan to spend at the trade show by three.

    4. Build a trade show booth that stands out

    With so many other companies exhibiting at the trade show, you need to be sure to have a booth that will attract potential customers to your booth. You can build it in-house or outsource to build one. Snag a a trade show booth location that is in high traffic areas such as the entrance, dining areas, intersections and restrooms. Consider offering photo opportunities to maximize engagement and hosting giveaways. Encourage attendees to post pictures on their social media in exchange for a gift, such as premium custom socks. This is a great way to increase brand awareness as your booth attendants post to their social media networks. You should also consider leveraging technology like virtual reality to tell your story and showcase your products.  You want as many eyes as possible on your booth. 

    5. Buy Trade Show Promotional Items

    Trade show attendees love free swag. Offering promotional items at a trade show is a great way to increase booth traffic, increase brand awareness and keep your company top of mind with new customers. It is essential to offer promotional trade show items that are practical and offer real value. Custom socks are the best trade show promotional item. Socks are an everyday item providing real value. They can be designed to your company's logo and colors, showcasing your company in a unique way. Click here to find out why socks are the top promotional item at trade shows.

    6. Announce your attendance at the trade show

    Let your audience know that your company will be in attendance and to stop by the booth!  Promote your attendance through emails and social media campaigns, your website and other marketing channels. Be sure to mention your booth number and that you'll be hosting giveaways. Identify and invite prospective customers to set appointments to meet at the trade show and provide information about what they can expect at your booth. Most trade show attendees go to trade shows with an idea of who they'd like to meet at the show. 

    7. Train trade show staff

    Prepare your trade show staff for success with a great training program. Define roles and responsibilities for each employee so they know exactly what is expected of them at the trade show. Train the team in skills of approachability and friendliness, product training and sales. 

    8. Arrange travel to the trade show

    Prepare the travel arrangements for your trade show team. If you're attending a trade show out of country, ensure all passports, visas and other travel documents are ready before departure. Confirm registration for the show. Make sure logistics are set for the booth and any other marketing materials for the event. Book plane tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars in advance to get the best rates.

    Order custom socks for your next trade show!

    Grab the top promotional item for your next trade show and check off promotional items off your list. Custom socks are all the hype at trade shows. Speak with a team member to get started on an eye catching design with your company's logo.