Planning a successful trade show requires organization, imagination and endurance. Here are established top tips to ensure your trade show is a achievement for you and your company.

1. PLAN IN ADVANCE.

One of the most important things you can do before a trade show is to plan well ahead of the planned time. Inform your staff of travel dates so they can book flights, rooms ahead of time.

  • 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.

2. SEND KNOWLEDGEABLE STAFF

Many companies will send their "rookies" to tradeshows. Sending new staff people is not always the wisest decision, however, as they may not have all the answers about your products or services. If you do send a new staff member, be sure to include an experienced employee as well. That way, newer staff will be able to watch and learn. An effective tool in trade show preparation is communication. Various teams typically attend trade shows, including marketing, sales and the executive team.
Make sure everyone is on the same page and has all of the relevant information leading up to the event.

3. SCHEDULE PRE-SHOW BOOTH MEETINGS.

The most successful trade shows I have executed and attended were the ones where sales and marketing worked together to pre-schedule booth meetings with prospects, customers and partners. Set a realistic goal for your team (e.g., use last year’s pre-scheduled meeting number as your benchmark and increase it by 25%).
In addition, create a shared calendar to give the sales team visibility into the booth schedule so they can see which executives will be available during each day of the trade show.

4. ENGAGE IN SOCIAL MEDIA.

Learn what the Twitter hashtag is for the event and post what you are promoting or what you are giving away. Like the organization's Facebook page. If they allow it, post teasers or questions to engage the audience.

Other social media outlets can include:

  •       Instagram
  •       LinkedIn
  •       Pinterest
  •       YouTube
  •       Flickr

5. MAKE YOUR DISPLAY TABLE STAND OUT

If the trade show display table you have does not include a tablecloth, be sure to get one that complements your display and represents your company’s image and colour scheme (without being overpowering). Even if a tablecloth is supplied, bring your own or something to add some depth to your table (i.e., a table runner).
Your table will definitely stand out in a crowd.

Include fun giveaways equal more traffic. Invest extra money in a giveaway or activity to attract attendees. Get creative in your offerings. I have seen everything from slot machines with cash prizes to frozen margaritas. Everyone loves food. Rent an espresso machine or ice cream truck and invite attendees to come and hang out in your booth. This will help break the ice, opening up conversations and, hopefully, qualified opportunities

6. CONTACTS

Scan the badge of everyone that stops by your booth. It would be a waste to miss passing a valuable lead on to your sales team because they were not scanned.
Go hard!!

7. FOLLOW UP PROMPTLY

Follow up with contacts and leads you made during the trade show as soon as possible. The faster you send them out, the more your business will stand out from the rest.