4imprint, LLC

If your company is exhibiting at a trade show, don’t leave home without this helpful trade show checklist. Trade shows can be a great place to interact face-to-face with current and potential customers, giving you the opportunity to build solid leads. But it’s important to have a carefully thought-out plan, from pre-show planning to post-show follow-up. This handy trade show checklist will help you make every trade show appearance a successful one.

Strategize 6 to 12 months before the show as part of your trade show planning.

6–12 Months Before: Set Your Trade Show Strategy

Start your trade show planning by creating your trade show strategy. Doing this first will make everything else easier and more focused.

  • Set goals. What objectives do you want to achieve at the trade show?
  • Set a budget.
  • Identify your target audience.
  • Develop a marketing plan for before, during and after the show.
  • Choose a trade show that fits your customer’s profile, and book a space.
  • Design your exhibit, including graphics, displays and layout. Keep in mind what you want to communicate to the customer, and consider your technology and presentation needs.

 

Trade show planning begins 3 to 6 months before the show.

3–6 Months Before: Start the Trade Show Planning Process

With your strategy as a guide, determine how you’re going to communicate your message most effectively. And start marketing: Building buzz early can reap great rewards later.

  • Book a block of hotel rooms, even if you don’t know who will attend. It’s easier to change attendees than to hunt for rooms at fully-booked hotels.
  • Determine what literature and marketing materials you’ll need and prepare them.
  • Order promotional giveaways. The best pieces provide value to your customer and will make your brand more memorable.
  • Start pre-show marketing: Send information to attendees with your booth contact information. Send out press releases. Promote your presence through social media.

 

Finalize your trade show planning 1 to 3 months before the show.

1–3 Months Before: Finalize Event Plans

Continue building momentum. Get your customers and booth staff excited about the trade show.

  • Prepare follow-up materials. If these are ready before the show, they’ll be ready to send out immediately afterward when conversations are still fresh in prospects’ minds.
  • Make travel arrangements.
  • Train booth staff.
  • Contact the event sponsor for any last-minute details.
  • Schedule meetings with prospects and other customers. They have busy agendas, so make sure they have time set aside to meet with you.
  • Finalize production of all marketing materials and booth displays.
  • Order promotional apparel for your team to give them a polished, professional look in the booth.
A trade show checklist can help you prepare for the show.

1–4 Weeks Before: Prep and Pack for the Trade Show

Finalize all the details. The more fine-tuning you do, the smoother and more effective your trade show presence will be.

  • Prep and package booth equipment and confirm shipping arrival dates.
  • Prepare a competitor trade show checklist to see how your brand messaging and strategy compare.
  • Give your team a master contacts list in case things don’t arrive on time. Include cell numbers for team members, tracking numbers, vendor information and trade show details.
  • Put together a two-bin supply kit. Place office supplies in one and team resources (cold and allergy medication, lint rollers, stain pens and mints) in the other.
  • Make cheat sheets for booth setup and quick reminders for the team, including lists of conversation starters.
  • Role-play meeting with leads. This prepares your staff for interacting with visitors.

 

See your trade show planning pay off the day of the show.

At the Show: Go For It!

The hard work is over. It’s time to have some fun! Be as professional as possible and make notes for every interaction. Even the smallest observation can go a long way in making a connection.

  • Smile and greet visitors. (Follow a ‘no phones’ on duty rule with your teammates to maximize interactions.)
  • Trade badge scans or business cards for promotional products. (These little workhorses are a great way to introduce yourself and put your brand in front of your prospect even after they go home.)
  • While scanning badges or collecting business cards, talk with prospects about their needs.
  • Make notes about post-show follow-up you’ll complete to turn prospects into customers.

 

Follow up after the show to ensure your trade show planning pays off.

Afterward: Follow Up

This is the most important part, next to the strategy. A detailed analysis of prospects, customers and the event itself will set you up for future trade show success.

  • Organize leads and follow up right away. Be sure to give 2–3 methods of response, such as a demo request, white paper download, or newsletter subscription.
  • Evaluate the show. What worked? What didn’t? What can we do better next time? And do we want to participate next year?
  • Review the budget and determine ROI.
  • Continue follow-ups throughout the year, including social media and blog posts.

We hope this trade show checklist has been useful. With a solid trade show strategy, planning and preparation, and post-show efforts, sure-fire success is in your future.

 

Sources

“4imprint Blue Papers: Trade show displays: Trends for exhibitors—Part 2.” 4imprint.com. info.4imprint.com, 03 August 2015. <https://info.4imprint.com/blue-paper/trending-trade-show-displays-part-2/>

Esposito, Emily. “Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trade Show.” Smartsheet.com. Smartsheet.com, 12 March 2015. <https://www.smartsheet.com/blog/everything-you-need-know-about-planning-trade-show>

Gleeson, Brent. “7 Tricks For Tradeshow Domination.” Forbes.com. Forbes.com, 04 September 2013. <https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2013/09/04/7-tricks-for-tradeshow-domination/#7fd3869f4a1e>

Ostomel, Dana. “10 Lessons From A First-Time Tradeshow.” Forbes.com. Forbes.com, 14 August, 2014. <https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/08/14/10-lessons-from-a-first-time-tradeshow/#7a2cb2fa5be2>

Submit your review
1
2
3
4
5
Submit
     
Cancel

Create your own review

Becky Dillenberg

Becky is 4imprint’s Marketing Manager for Public Relations and Content, and has been with 4imprint for 10 years. Becky writes about how promotional products can help organizations grow and spread their messages, as well as 4imprint news.

Read More by: Becky

Hot Products

Shop 4imprint's Hottest Products!

Shop Now

Sale Products

Shop 4imprint's Sale Products!

Shop Now

New Products

Shop 4imprint's Newest Products!

Shop Now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *