1. Reserve Your Exhibiting Space Early
Trade show spaces can book up quickly. The spaces positioned best for visibility, reach and foot traffic flow will be the first to go. So, book yours in as early as possible to snatch up an exhibiting area primed for a more successful exhibiting experience.
2. Establish Goals
Think about why you’re attending. Is it to increase brand awareness? Generate new leads? Promote a new product? Establishing clear goals will help to direct your targets.
3. Find Out the Trade Show Demographic
Equally important: find out more about the trade show demographic. Understand who will be attending the show. What is their job function? Are they executive decision makers? You may need to know the age and gender of your demographic if it is important to your brand objectives. Knowing the demographic of the show is an important part of deciding to exhibit. Taking demographics into consideration can help you steer your exhibiting strategy.
4. Set Measurable Targets
With your goals established, it’s time to think about targets. They need to be measurable. For example, your target might be:
- Capture 100 valuable leads
- Network with 10 industry influencers
- Conduct 30 market research surveys
5. Decide on Your Message
Your message needs to be short and snappy. Catch the attention of passers-by with something captivating that grabs their attention. Distil what you want to get across into a twenty-odd second elevator-style pitch. Save time; get them interested.
6. Establish a Budget and Set Your ROI Target
Track the event performance for 9 – 12 months, subject to your sales cycle, to truly understand the business impact of exhibiting
7. Scout out Your Competitors
Find out more about who you’ll be competing with at your expo venue. Try and identify hot trends and bring something to your stand that will give you a competitive edge over other exhibitors.
8. Set up Your Exhibitor Profile
If you’re set to exhibit, complete your exhibitor profile so attendees can familiarise themselves with your brand and get to know what you’re about beforehand.
9. Pre-Show Promotion Strategy
A pre-show promotion strategy is a must. Create landing pages or digital signup forms. Spread the word that your exhibiting across your social media platforms. Maybe do a social media countdown. Use content to stir interest and raise awareness before you attend.
10. Come Up with Some Contests
Nothing like a contest to maximise engagement and generate buzz on your stand. Better yet, incorporate your product into the contest or raise the stakes of your contest with a prize. We did this on our Marketing Week Live 2019 stand, and it instantly got people interested.
11. Get Your Graphics Done in Time
If you outsource your graphics, make sure you know your vendor’s lead times for print and delivery. Also, find out about the substrate you plan on using and understand how your graphics will be produced to be sure your graphics reflect the quality of your brand.
12. Sort Out Logistics
Decide whether you want to take your team to take your display to the show or an install team. How will your stand make it to location?
13. Install and Dismantle
Again, who’s doing the install and dismantle, a professional team or your own staff? If your team is doing the install, do they have their step-by-step build plans at the ready to guide them?
14. Travel Documents
Passports, boarding passes, visas: all important documents to have sorted if your trade show is overseas. When on home ground, make sure your team have the right travel and accommodation information, passes, permits and venue details.
15. Choose Your Exhibiting Team
Who do you want on the stand? Pick a team that you think will work best to achieve the goals you’ve set. And train them – tell them why you’re exhibiting, share objectives and key messages so that they can deliver. Don’t forget an on-stand briefing each morning to reinforce the task in hand.
Is your team going to be wearing their standard work uniform? Or are you tailoring team outfits depending on the event? If you want to promote your brand message or a new product, incorporate it onto the backs of t-shirts. And get them ordered in time!
If you don’t have a photography enthusiast or a decent camera, invest in a professional photographer to get quality action shots of the day. The photos will make for great landing page and social media content.
18. Book Appointments Beforehand
75% of trade show attendees will have already decided on the booths they want to visit before attending the show (CEIR). With that in mind, try and reach out to people before the show and get them booked into appointments.