January 29, 2020

8 Step Trade Show Planning Checklist

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

1. Set actionable and measurable goals for the trade show.

Before you invest time and money into a trade show, you want to be sure to have clear goals set. 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: 

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

After you've set goals and defined your audience, finding a trade show to attend will be a lot easier. Most trade shows have about pages 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 

Make the budget for the trade show based on your goals and objectives. Many variables make up your trade show budget. Consider expenses for your booth, logistics, booth design, marketing, booth staffing and travel, and miscellaneous costs. A rule of thumb is to multiple the amount you budget for times three. 

4. Plan 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 hire a trade show booth consulting company to build one. It is best to select a trade show booth spot that is in high traffic areas such as the entrance, dining areas, intersections and restrooms. Consider offering photo opportunities to maximize engagement. 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. 

5. Buy Trade Show Promotional Items

Trade show attendees love free swag. Offering promo 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. 

6. Announce your attendance at the trade show

Boost visibility and announce your presence to build interest in your booth and the trade show. Promote through emails campaigns, social media pushes, your website and other marketing channels. Begin identifying and inviting prospective customers to set appointments to meet at the trade 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.

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