Whether you’re new or veteran when it comes to trade show events, preparation is still an extremely important part of the whole process! It’s possibly even more essential if you always join this type of events; falling into the pit of the rut and doing things the same way over and over again is so easy. By keeping track of today’s trade show trends and innovations, you will be able to use your efforts more efficiently and maximize your return on investment.
So, it is important for you to understand that no matter how much time, effort, and money you invest, the key to having a successful trade show experience is very simple: early preparation.
“Next Year” Is Not Far Away When Planning for a Trade Show
While “next year” may sound a long way off from the present, you have to keep in mind that time goes faster than you imagine. The earlier you start the easier for you to avoid all the hassle of preparing for your booth and bigger the possibilities for you to be successful in the event. You can start early by making a list of your goals, needs, and expectations.
Doing the preparation earlier may feel like a huge task, however, adding the effort will guarantee that you make the best of your trade show asset.
A Trade Show Timeline to Help You Prepare:
To help you get started, here is a pre-show guideline you can follow to make sure that you will have a successful trade show experience.
10 to 12 Months Before the Trade Show
- Know your trade show goals – How many leads do you want to make? How many orders do you want to take can you accommodate? What benefits can you give and get to and from your audience?
- Sign up for the trade show event – It is always better to start early as you will have a lot of time to decide on the space that you think is perfect. This will also give you more time to prepare.
- Set the trade show budget – It is smart to make a calculation of how much you are going to spend on registration fees, transportation, props, meals, and other possible expenses.
- Do preliminary research on your booth design company- You should start planning right away to find a trade show display builder, as these professionals have the resources to make all your planning easier.
7 to 10 Months Before the Trade Show
- Choose present promotional materials you’ll use in the exhibit.
- Start creating new marketing collateral if needed.
- Know what extra accessories are needed for your trade show booth: banners, lighting, pop up displays, tables, and chairs are some normally overlooked items.
- Start finalizing your trade show booth design plan, and be ready to invite a couple companies to bid on it.
4 to 7 Months Before the Trade Show
- Plan travel arrangements – Rent vehicles needed to carry the items, book hotels, etc. You make sure your necessary documents such as passport, driver’s license, or the like are still valid on the day of the event.
- Produce the promotional hand-outs or items you would like to give away at the event.
- Decide on your trade show design company in order to wrap up the presentation and look of your booth of this year’s display.
- Execute on your trade show booth design
1 to 4 Months before the trade show
- Staffing and Training – During this period, you should be all the staff ready and have the training they need to get through started.
- Marketing – Have a marketing team to promote the event and your presence on that event. Make sure to send the message of what you can offer if people make an appearance on your booth.
- Review Everything – Make sure you are not missing anything. Test all the displays, and items you are going to present.
The Week of the Event
- Make sure that all show services you set up are available and prepared.
- Manage booth setup and make the setup supervisor recheck everything.
- Double check if everything you need to set up the booth is complete and nothing is broken.
- Take a deep breath, smile, and be positive!
Preparing for a trade show event can be a challenging task. Setting up your plans into a simple timeline will make the whole process easier. With all things in its place, you will be all set to focus on running an amazing exhibit to make a lasting impression on your audience which you can turn into leads over time.