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10 Things You Need to Do for a Highly Successful Trade Show

While the advantages of trade show marketing can be extensive, optimal success hinges on careful planning and strategic execution. Having a detailed plan of exactly what you need to do can help ensure that you optimize results yielded at every show.

Golden TenKey Factors to Consider When Planning for Your Trade Show

When creating your best practices plan, it’s important to consider several critical factors. Following these 10 simple tips can help you create a finalized plan that covers the most important components of any trade show you attend:

Create a checklist: Trade shows, and the display itself, require management of a slew of details and logistics. Creating a checklist of everything that needs attention before, during and after an event can minimize the chance of something important falling through the cracks.

Get your key players ready: Having the right staff managing your trade show booth will play a key role in your ultimate event success; pinpoint the best employees to help manage the booth and give them all the resources they’ll need for training and preparation.

Consider attire: Planning what your staff should wear as booth staffers is critical. It should enforce your brand, your message, and match your trade show display in a way that ties everything together. If you’re a tech company with a clean and savvy booth and modern products to display, choose a wardrobe that reinforces that. Ultimately, choose something comfortable that your team can wear throughout the long hours of the day without feeling constricted or hindered in their interactions.

Coordinate a booth schedule: Speaking of long function hours, it’s important to carefully coordinate a booth schedule for your staff so everyone gets a much-needed break to rejuvenate during the event. Choosing your booth staff and scheduling them throughout the event is a task all on its own. To help with your booth staffing challenge, check out this article.

Know your host: Every venue has a point of contact designated to act as a liaison with the exhibiting businesses. These contacts will know everything there is to know about the upcoming event. Reaching out before the show can help you make critical choices such as where to locate your booth, what other businesses will be attending, and how many attendees will be attending.

Keep your exhibit simple, yet effective: Of course, your exhibit plays a key role in ROI. If your exhibit doesn’t represent exactly how you want your company remembered, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Your exhibit doesn’t need a ton of words on it to showcase who you are or what you do. For that matter, it doesn’t need over 10 pictures to show what you do. Work with a professional design team for a visually compelling display that portrays only the essentially information. Too much messaging and imagery is more of a distraction than a help. Remember, less is more. Check out this article to help with your booth design from the beginning.

Choose a giveaway: Tired of the same old pens and stress balls? Give attendees a handout from your product line. Free samples and even product discounts can deliver long-lasting marketing results. Here’s a great article to help you find the right giveaway for you.

Showcase your most important products: Display your most important merchandise throughout your booth so visitors can have easy access to it. Also, plan on offering live demonstrations so guests can see for themselves what your product line is capable of.

Have a process to capture leads: Gathering leads is a primary reason why business owners participate at industry trade show. Offer employees a detailed outline on how to best capture leads at a convention. Actually, the best way to make sure everyone knows how to gather leads is to cover this in your booth staff training.

Follow up: Most importantly, have a best practice in place to ensure that each and every lead gathered gets the follow up it deserves. Following up with your event leads is the best way to establish a professional relationship with guests for long-term return on investment. Important: Follow up should happen one to three days after a show. After three or five days, it’s too late and you’re sure to have lost credibility.

This is a very short and general outline of the kinds of things you need to consider when exhibiting at a trade show. Start here, and you’re off to planning for success.

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About the Author

Scott Price was President of Skyline New Jersey and is currently retired.

One response to “10 Things You Need to Do for a Highly Successful Trade Show

  1. Thank you Scott for this very complete article.
    Two me the last 2 post are those that matter most – capture leads & follow-up.
    My comment though would be not to “offer employees detailed outline” but “standardize the recording process and make it mandatory”. Nothing is more frustrating after a successful trade show that having to read 100 reports in 10 different notes formats. Worse even: having to read handwritten notes.
    Instead, go for a digital solution – it will be easy for your whole team since the format is fixed, no more handwritten notes, no need to do double work for transferring your data in excel and no need for more delays in the follow-up. myfairtool offers a free solution for such notes capture.
    And finally, most important of all, FOLLOW-UP. That has to be done fast – 48h max. Imagine how many exhibitors your visitors have met during the exhibition: do you believe they will still remember you a week later? Go go go!

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