Trade show: Planning
In terms of volume, trade shows are one of the top lead generation vehicles. Most regular trade show attendees agree that planning a successful trade show begins a full year in advance. Thorough planning enhances the likelihood that you will exceed your investment for a handsome return and everybody loves a good ROI. If you’re not taking enough time to plan for a trade show or if you need to plan your first trade show, use this guide to help you zero in on that plan so you can snap up all those leads.T-one year
Think about the upcoming trade show as a piece of the big picture. Where does it fit in to the company’s integrated marketing vision and high-level goals?Begin by…

  • Identifying a budget for the undertaking.
  • Estimating the costs that come with the show itself in addition to hotel reservations and airfare for attendees (and their wages).
  • Clarifying messaging and sales objectives.

As soon as you can, book your booth. Trade show booths can become more expensive the closer you book to the event date!

T-nine months
Hone your trade show marketing strategy by creating a pre- and post-show plan to ensure the greatest number of sales leads is generated, like:

  • Creating a brochure, banner or t-shirts with a QR code that drives people to a product’s landing page.
  • Updating a multimedia presentation that demos products or key information on your company.
  • Identifying the best way to say “thank you” when following up with prospects.

T-six months
If you’ve already got a display, revisit it to ensure that the layout is open and welcoming to visitors. Depending on where your booth is located, you may have to make some structural changes. Take out exhibit equipment and set it up. If it’s less-than-shiny, you’ll have to decide: Can it be spruced up or should you put in an order for a gleaming new set up?

If this is your first show, you’ll need to find the right display for your agreed-upon marketing approach. Will it be a floor-to-ceiling display or something for the tabletop instead?

T-three months
As D-Day looms closer, turn your attention to logistics.

  • What items need to be shipped to the trade show site?
  • Who will man the booth and do they need logo’d apparel to present that polished look?
  • What promotional items will add that “pop” and “wow” factor?

T-one month
You’re nearly there, just a few final to-do’s.

  • Complete your travel arrangements.
  • Make plans and reservations for outside activities to network with clients and vendors.
  • Review trade show goals with those attending with you.

Last but not least, impart your enthusiasm with everyone and remind them that they’ve worked hard up until this point… it’s time to shine!

Sprung, Rachel. “HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog.” The Inbound Way to Do Trade Show Marketing. HubSpot, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.

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