Participating in a trade show is one of the best ways to expand your business. Not only do you get to communicate face-to-face with customers and potential leads, but you also build your network in the industry. Moreover, you get to create an image for your brand.
But the success of your trade show exhibit depends on how well you have strategized and executed your plan. Thus, the planning for your booth begins as much as a year before the event. From researching trade show companies to choose the right one to your training your booth staff, there a thousand things to do.
So to help you in your planning, here is a pre-trade show timeline that you should follow for your exhibition booth.
- 9 – 12 Months Before the Show
This is the first step of planning is to determine the goals and budget of your booth. More importantly, you must have registered in the trade show and secured your spot.
Then choose the trade show company you want to work with. This is also the stage wherein you will choose the booth size, whether you want a 10×20 trade show booth or a 10×10 booth, according to the floor plan.
Have meetings with the trade show company to design the exhibition booth and choose a theme. This is also the time when you should announce that you will be participating in the trade show. This creates a buzz and helps to spread the word about your brand.
Also, formulate the marketing strategies and divide them into 3 parts, pre-trade show, during the trade show, and post-trade show.
- 6 – 9 Months Before the Show
At this point, your exhibit stand design must be in the works. From the graphics, trade show banner design to the lighting, everything must be finalized. Also, your promotional items decided and marketing content must also be prepared.
One of the most crucial steps is to hire the right exhibition booth staff and train them. The staff must be informed about the message, products, demonstration, and other etiquettes.
A simple way to keep up with the buzz about the trade show is to post sneak peeks about the trade show exhibit. This acts as a reminder to people about the event.
- 3 – 6 Months Before the Show
All your promotional items and other trade show set up materials must be ordered. Also, you must have confirmed dates for your shipments, deliveries, and other transportation. If your traveling for the event, you start booking hotels, transportation, and flights.
You must have regular updates from the trade show company about your exhibit booth design. Additionally, you must conduct training sessions for your exhibition booth staff.
At this stage, your pre-trade show marketing strategies must be in motion. Moreover, if you have any people you would like to personally invite, their invitation must be sent out by now.
- 1 – 3 Months Before the Show
During this time your marketing strategies must be focused on the trade show. Regular posts on social media must be made to create the buzz about the event.
All packages that need to be sent out must be packed and labeled. If you are carrying any promotional items and other things, they must be packaged as well.
All shipments must be sent out. The travel and hotel arrangements must be confirmed and the tickets must be printed put and distributed.
Last-minute meetings with the trade show company, supplies, distributors, and sponsors must be conducted. Also, research your competitors to know what strategies and products they are using.
- 1 Week Before the Show
A mock rehearsal with the exhibition booth staff must be done to ensure they can handle all sorts of queries thrown at them. Check all the shipment dates and the timeline of the event to ensure nothing is missed. Also, and the end of the week, begin with your marketing strategies for during the trade show.
In addition to the pre-trade show planning guide, keep these tips in mind.
- Have a back-up plan. Many things can go wrong during the event, from delays in shipments, broken material, misplaced items, etc. Thus, carry extra supplies.
- Have stand-by staff members in case someone in the team is not present at the trade show. This will prevent your booth from looking understaffed.
- While registering for the event, pay attention to all the fees, policies, and rules.
We hope this article will help in your pre-trade show planning for the trade show exhibit. The pre-trade show planning is integral for your booth as it decides everything from the trade show booth displays to the layout. Moreover, it helps you strategize your booth to gain maximum leads.
Tip of the Day: Create a separate calendar for all the important meetings, dates, and deadlines that need to be met.