8 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show 

In this guide, we’re answering questions about planning a trade show, and steps on how to prepare for a successful trade show for exhibitors. There are ways that can ensure that you get the most out of it, in terms of contacts and connections, and in this guide, we run down some of our top tips. 

trade show

What Is a Trade Show and How Does it Work?

A trade show is a chance for people within a specific industry to get together. It can act as a networking opportunity, and a chance to demonstrate a new business or a new product. For instance, the E3 Expo is so influential in the world of gaming and makes headlines every year.

Businesses, customers, and other interested parties in a certain industry can gather to discuss services, products, and the industry in general. It can be profitable for businesses who can show off what they have to offer, and may even get contracts off the back of their appearance at a trade show.

A trade show usually works by allowing exhibitors to pay for a space, which they can use to set up a stall and get trade show banners and flags to draw attention. You may be able to sell your products and services.

What Do You Need at a Trade Show?

To make the biggest impact at a trade show, there are certain things you will need to bring with you, including promotional items to showcase what your business does, and the products that you wish to sell.

  • Signage

What is a successful trade show if not a chance to showcase your business? Event signage is essential, and it must be portable. Trade show banners’ best practices include sticking within your allocated space and providing a clear message as well as plenty of information for the customer or for other businesses.

  • Presentation Media

Presentation media includes anything that you may wish to use to showcase your business. It could include a slide show or a video playing on a screen within your booth. Presentation media allows you to demonstrate the information you may otherwise struggle with on location.

  • Customized Gifts

Get some customized gifts made. These are usually small things that customers can take away with them. Customized gifts may be as small as pens but they will have your contact details and serve to jog a customer’s memory.

  • Business Cards

Even in the modern-day age, the purpose of business cards is essential, and trade shows are one of the best opportunities for sharing. Those planning a trade show might even encourage you to bring networking material.

  • Refreshments

Refreshments for your team, and possibly for your customers too if you are looking to promote food and drink business. Even if you are not, being able to offer water or even hot drinks to people could be a way to stick in their memory. It is a nice little extra.

Plan Far in Advance

One of the best trade show tips is also one of the simplest. Plan far in advance in order to give your business the best chance to make an impact and allow your team to strategize before the show. Knowing how to prepare for a trade show puts you at an advantage. It also allows you to book hotel rooms and make a plan for transport well before the show.

Prepare the Team Before the Trade Show

In the run-up to the event, you will be able to prepare your team for the sort of things that you will want them to be doing. Think about the rota, and whether you want employees to be networking and promoting or whether they are there mainly for the upkeep of the booth and restocking products. Overall you have two options: bring an in-house team or contract a trade show staffing service that has experience working trade shows.

Select the Ideal Booth Size

The booth size will vary depending on your business and what you plan to achieve at the show. The ideal trade show booth size can be decided by setting up a replica if you wish, and you will need to buy your marketing material to suit.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Choose your location well, and if possible try to position yourself in a relevant and highly visible area. Some of the best spots are quite sought-after at trade shows, so book early.

Schedule Pre-show Booth Meetings

If possible, schedule some of your networking in advance. If you know that you are going to meet some relevant industry professionals at the show, why not contact them beforehand to arrange a time for them to meet? This takes chance out of the equation so you don’t rely on running into someone.

How Do I Attract Visitors To My Booth?

The best methods of attracting visitors to your booth are still the tried and tested methods. Making your booth look great gives off the right image of your business. On top of that, planning a trade show giveaway or promotion can also help you to get a huge number of visitors and maximize your impact. Just make sure you take enough employees with you.

Schedule a Debrief Call and Follow-Up

The chances are, this won’t be the only trade show you are going to do, and there will be plenty of options for you to learn from the experience. Schedule a debrief call with your team to chat about anything interesting, including what worked and what didn’t work, and any ideas you had for next time.

Final thoughts

Trade shows have been a part of some industries for a long time, and they are still a big part of networking and company growth for many businesses. Get it right and it can take your business to the next level. Get it wrong, and it can just be a huge waste of time and resources. It’s crucial to think beforehand about the signage you’re going to use as well as the approach you plan to take when going about your next trade show.

If you need some help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re happy to help!


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