Tips for Planning for a Trade Show

Trade Show

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Trade shows can be fun, just like a party, but they can be stressful too. You’re spending a lot of money on the event so it’s crucial that you make the most of it. These hints and tips will help you make sure that the event is a success, and take the stress out of what can be a tiring and eventful few days.

1. Book Meetings Well in Advance

You’re taking time out of work to go to the trade show so you need to make the most of it. Book your diary full of meetings. Make sure that your stand is busy because having a busy stand makes you look more appealing to passers-by. Tell everyone that you would like to meet with that you’re going to be there and make sure that you can pre-arrange meetings. Brief your team so that they know what to look out for in terms of bookings. Remember that your time is precious and you shouldn’t just accept meetings with anyone asks. Prioritize your key customers or suppliers.

2. Build Interest Within Your Team

Make sure that your team know that you are going to a trade show, so that they can talk to customers, journalists, suppliers and others about your plans. Every department in your business should have some awareness of what is going on so that you can make the most of your plans.

3. Market Yourself on Event Materials

Trade show organizers usually ask for sponsorship from attendees or offer ticket packages that will include a mention in their literature. If you can spend a small amount extra to have your logo on the show directory or to have a piece in the daily programs, do so. Work with the organizers to build as much interest as you can in your presence. Remember that hundreds, or even thousands of people will see the literature so it makes sense to have your company’s image on it.

4. Promote Your Presence at The Show on Your Website

Make it clear that you’re going to be at the show. Having a page on your website that talks about your plans to attend events and that allows people to schedule meetings with you is good for PR. It makes your company look “current” and active because you’re attending events. It also shows that you’re interested in communicating with clients.

5. Spread the Word in All Correspondence

Think about how often people post on forums or use social media. What about the number of emails that your staff send every day? Include mentions of the trade show in your email / forum signatures, and get staff talking about their excitement for the show on social media. It all helps.

6. Prep Your Press Releases

If you have something specific to announce, build a press release and media kit. Create some media packs and hand them out to journalists at the event. USB sticks are a good option because they’re more portable and are less likely to get lost or discarded. Start communicating with journalists before the show. Remember that lead times in print media can be a few months, so it’s good to get the word out early. If you’re not sure where to start, consider enlisting the help of a PR company.

7. Reach Out to The People You want Meetings With

With luck, a lot of people will come to you, but that doesn’t always happen. Call the people that you really want to meet with. Send out direct mail messages and start building those connections early so that you’re more likely to secure a meeting.

8. Run Banner Ads

Use an event banner with a strong call to action to encourage people to contact you to arrange a meeting. Run these ads on trade website where journalists, clients and suppliers are likely to be. 

9. Empower Your Staff to Invite Visitors

Allow your customer-facing staff to invite people to the trade show. Train them so that they know what sort of person you want to meet with and work with them to nurture interesting new prospects and build on existing relationships.

10. Get Creative

Find a theme for your exhibition panels and get creative with your promotional gifts so that you can generate some buzz on the show floor. This kind of buzz is only useful if you have a good core product (you do, right?) but creative marketing can build a reach that would normally cost a tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to achieve.