Preparation Tips Before Your Next Trade Show

Trade show participation is one of the most effective ways to promote your business’s products and services. Exhibiting at a trade show can help you build your customer base noticeably within a short time frame. Planning for a trade show exhibit may seem overwhelming, but the process is quite simple once you break it down into manageable steps:

Exhibiting for the first time?

The first recommended step is to research upcoming trade shows in your local area and business niche. A number of online databases are published with the most current information on upcoming shows. Select those you believe would be the best fit, and factor in the costs of registration and travel. Also research the trade show organizers’ individual websites and find out about any perks or benefits the organizers offer to registered exhibitors. Note any requirements such as trade show booth space restrictions and check-in times at the beginning of the show.

While planning your trade show exhibit, make a list of the goals you want to accomplish from your participation. Decide which goals are going to be your top priorities, whether those include gaining more customers or networking with other industry professionals.

One common mistake among first-time exhibitors is waiting too long to book accommodations for trade shows out of town. Places to stay close to the exhibit hall will fill up quickly, so rooms also need to be booked as far ahead of time as possible. If possible, reserve both your exhibit space and hotel rooms at the same time, and be sure to print out confirmation emails of both.

Setting up your exhibit

Booth design is essential for bringing in interested customers and for presenting your business in the best possible light. Colors need to be appealing but not overly bright or gaudy; they also need to coordinate with your banners, brochures, posters and product packaging. Retractable banners are favorite choices among experienced exhibitors because of their easy set-up and portability. Using catchy logos, placing your contact information in prominent spots, and giving out free promotional items are also proven ways to bring in good numbers of booth visitors.

A vital preliminary step is to research the trade show floor layout to find the ideal spot for your booth so that it can get the highest amount of foot traffic possible. Booths located in the front and center of the floor sections have the most visibility, and they also usually have the best lighting for showcasing your products. These spots tend to fill up quickly, so early reservations are a must. Most trade show organizers now make booth registration available on their websites, and it’s a good idea to sign up for email alerts that will notify you as soon as booth registration opens.

Make a last minute checklist

Before leaving for the trade show, a complete last-minute checklist will ensure everything goes smoothly and you’ll have the best results from your exhibit:

  • Send out email newsletters to your subscribing customers, reminding them of your trade show event and its exact location.
  • Post announcements on your social media pages about your upcoming exhibit.
  • Review the important points of your sales presentations with your booth staffers. Recruit your most experienced employees with the best customer service skills to work your trade show booth.
  • Make sure all your poster stands, banners, brochures and promotional freebies are organized, packed and ready to go.

Organization and preparation are two essential parts of trade show exhibiting, and these will ensure you have a productive, relatively stress-free time as an exhibitor. The time and effort you put into a trade show exhibit can pay off many times over in terms of building your core customer base.

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