Leave No Stone Unturned – 5 Tips to Prepare for a Trade Show

There’s no doubt about it – even with digital taking the reins for marketing efforts, nothing can beat good, old-fashioned face time at a trade show event. Not only do trade shows provide the opportunity to showcase your brand in real-life, they present the opportunity to network….

Don’t be fooled by the fun booth activities and hundreds of highlighters you’ll collect; trade shows require extensive preparation and planning to ensure all goes off without a hitch. While daunting at first, there are best practices that can save you headaches and help your trade show efforts shine even if you’ve never planned one before.

  1. Evaluate the trade show prospectus. Analyzing this tool provided to you by the trade show organizer(s) helps determine whether or not a particular show is a good fit for your company. Are the attendees your target audience? What is the percentage of buyers? Will your competitors be there? Answering these questions will help you decide which shows are worthy of your time and budget. More importantly, be sure to do your own due diligence – obtain feedback from conference attendees on digital channels to gauge their experience at the event.
  2. Set a budget. This seems like a no-brainer, but ensuring you have the appropriate spend amount set aside for an event is crucial for you to get the most out of your participation. Be sure to account for variance for unforeseen circumstances, such as extra labor or exorbitant shipping charges.
  3. Reserve a booth space as soon as possible. As Dr. Houseman said, “nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Securing a premium location for your booth boosts your visibility and maximizes foot traffic on the show floor. The last thing you want is to end up in the corner of the show floor near the restrooms, exits and other low traffic areas. Not only do these not-so-minor details affect your branding, but it also significantly decreases foot traffic and lead generation.
  4. Ensure proper booth coverage. Creating a booth schedule is a crucial part to staffing your space to maximize interactions with conference attendees. More importantly, selecting the right people to staff your booth is key – identify your “people people”, those that enjoy engaging in conversation and have a lively and welcoming approach to optimize traffic at your booth.
  5. Go digital. Trade show events have evolved to encompass digital sales and marketing components making participation worthwhile. Invest in utilizing a badge scanner to capture contact information for your booth visitors and create opportunities for follow-up conversations after the show is over. Also, collaborate with your marketing team to launch social campaigns with your booth details and invite your digital audience to stop by and meet the team.

These are just a few helpful hints to help you cover all of the important bases of trade show preparation and planning. Stay tuned for some more tips coming soon!

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