Perhaps you have put on trade shows before, but gave up on them because they didn’t yield the results you expected. Or maybe this is your first time organising a tradeshow and aren’t sure where to start. No matter your situation, we want to reassure you that trade shows are absolutely worth the time and effort, if done right. They are an effective way to spread the word about your services, gain brand recognition, and ultimately grow your business.
Nonetheless, behind every successful trade show is a ton of organisation and preparation. We understand that planning a trade show can be overwhelming, and this is why we have created a trade show checklist for you. By following this list, you are sure to be ahead of the game before, during, and after your show.
What are you waiting for? Start planning now with the help of the following tips:
1. Create a realistic budget.
2. Book your hotel accommodations and arrange travel plans. The earlier the better!
3. Prepare your booth and products.
A solid trade show checklist starts with deciding on booth size, messaging, imagery, and decorations. Make sure your booth is well labeled and eye-catching to visitors walking by. Make sure you have enough brochures, business cards, and promotional products to give out to leads.
4. Decide on promotional products.
Tradeshow visitors are more likely to visit your booth if you are giving out a product, and are 80% likely to keep that promotional product for over a year. Make sure your promotional product strategically combines creativity, brand messaging, and usefulness to have the greatest impact on your booth visitors; turning prospects into leads.
5. Hire staff.
Trade show visitors are not likely to wait in line to talk to your company, make sure you have enough staff on-site to chat with booth visitors!
6. Thoroughly prepare your staff.
Practice, practice practice! Know what messages and language you want your staff to use when they’re chatting to booth visitors; make sure they’re prepared to convey your company’s message effectively.
1. Avoid generic questions, such as: “Can I help you?” and “Are you enjoying the show?”
Remember that you want to stand out.
2. Be chatty
Be the friendliest you can – waiting in line for the bathroom, buffet, seminars, etc. You never know whom you might be standing next to.
3. Network with your competitors.
Have a set schedule of times of when you are working the booth and when you are able to walk the floor.
4. Collect business cards.
Always follow up!
Only 50% of exhibitors will follow up with the people who visited their booths, if you are not, your competitors will be. Every single person you speak with should receive a follow up within 24-48 hours.
Here is a checklist of how you should go about following up to make sure your company message effectively resonates with booth visitors:
1. Select follow up channels
Online, email, telephone, direct mail, and face-to-face. The channels selected will depend on the individual and how they prefer to communicate.
2. Create a schedule
3. Check availability
Look at your availability over the next 2 weeks following the event and decide when you are able to dedicate time to contacting leads.
4. Decide the priority of each person
(1st is hot lead, 2nd is warm lead, 3rd in cool lead, 4th is not lead). Here are some examples of ways to reach out:
Hot leads – send a handwritten card or text message first couple days after the event, then later a LinkedIn Connection, and a couple days after that a promotional product and a coffee invite.
Warm leads – these are the most often miscategorised leads, so make sure to have a follow-up call to qualify them and which also makes a personal connection.
Cold leads – send a FAQ email, video message, or recap article a few days following the event, then a week later make a telephone call.
5. Make a calendar of how you will reach each person and the message you will send.
6. Execute plan.
7. Say thank you.
Remember to say thank you to the parties who helped make your trade show a success. This includes:
Key vendors – LinkedIn recommendation, email, tweet, etc.
Booth staff – handwritten card
Your spouse – flowers, handwritten card, etc.
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