Trade Show Planning Tips

Going to a trade show can be one of two things for a business. It could be a successful way to build profits, gain new customers and recognition in the marketplace or the event could be a totally valueless experience. However, if the team is prepared to get the most out of the trade show experience, there is infinite possibilities to drive sales, generate leads, enhance brand visibility, promote products and solidify relationships with customers. Below are four strategies to confirm a company’s return on investment (ROI) if tackled properly.

Prepare and Implement a Budget

Preparation is imperative when running successful trade show displays. Trade shows can be a logistical nightmare if not managed properly. A team can fall into two categories: first timer or repeat offender. If this is not the first trade show, the team should have access to the budget from the last event. It is much more challenging for the first time exhibitor. Some expected costs will be the advertising prior to the show, display booth, display design, marketing materials, shipping for materials and display booth, travel and accommodations.01_11_12_1_34628-resized-600

Keep in mind that most display structures last for several years, but people may want to update their display’s appearance periodically, especially if the company has grown or is introducing a new product or service.

What is important is to establish the budget as early as possible. Categorize the different elements that will go into the budget by using an Excel spreadsheet and even if the cost of a certain product is not yet known, adding an estimated cost will help the trade show team stay on target.

Set Realistic Goals

A great place to begin when planning for an upcoming trade show is to identify goals and strategies. The team should think about the message the trade show displays are trying to convey.  What products and or services does the company want to sell? Be specific about the intended outcome of the trade show. What is the company trying to accomplish? What is the overall corporate message? How many leads should the team walk away with? Obtaining a certain amount of qualified leads is an example of a great goal, but the team must create a system for following up on those leads.

Create an Effective Trade Show Display

Important elements of trade show displays are focused messages, clean layouts and clear images. The trade show display booth is supposed to tell the company’s story, so make a good impression. If your budget is limited, finding a good used trade show display is fine, as long as the display is clean and neat, and the signs and graphics are properly organized. The company name should be in the header portion of the display in bold eye-popping colors and font. The company logo should be placed in a prominent place as well.

quality trade show display used to attract customersWhether a floor display or a tabletop display, selecting simple, polished images will help the trade show display stand out and attract potential leads. Over elaborate art and graphics may look cool, but it can be off putting and distracting.

Keeping the display area simple is key. If it is easy for visitors to obtain the information they desire and they are intrigued, the more likely they will listen to the team’s talking points. The longer they stay at the display, the more likely good leads will be generated.

Team Preparation

A trade show checklist should be created and handed to every member of the team. Each member of the team should have specific roles and responsibilities. Weekly training sessions will help them develop skills to engage prospective leads. Before going to the event, the trade show team should brainstorm potential questions and answers. Communicating the company’s overall message is an integral part of successful trade show displays.

For more, read our article on the show prospectus or our article on how to supercharge your trade show planning.

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