Trade Show Planning: Your Ultimate Pre-Show Checklist

You won't be surprised to hear that trade show displays require a lot of pre-show planning. From designing a custom exhibit to arranging the transport, your team will have many different tasks. To keep your event planning running smoothly, we've put together the ultimate pre-show checklist. Find out our top 9 tasks for trade show planning:

1. Determine your main goals for exhibiting.

When it comes to trade shows exhibiting, your first step should always be to set measurable goals. Whether that’s the number of leads you want your sales team to capture, industry leaders to network with, or surveys for market research, think through what you'd like to gain from exhibiting (and most importantly, track!) Knowing your main goals will help you make decisions throughout the process and grow your trade show exhibit ROI.

2. Pick the best booth location.

You'll want to snag a great exhibiting space as soon as registration opens for a show, or you know that you'll be attending. Remember, the best booth spaces go early. Pick your booth location strategically. Corner booths stand out, or booths located near the event food or entrance can attract more foot traffic. 

3. Start designing your trade show exhibit!

If you're new to trade show exhibiting, you'll want to give yourself plenty of time for the exhibit design process. Large, custom trade show displays can take months to design and fabricate - but custom exhibits are worth the investment. Great trade show booth design will allow you to craft your brand message, attract your ideal visitor, and increase the return on your investment. 

4. Design your marketing materials and message.

The design process doesn't stop at your exhibit. It's important to think through a cohesive brand message for all your trade show marketing materials. This can involve everything from banners and flyers to social media or email graphics. After all, visuals are what will really tell your brand story. You can even use graphic design to update the look of an existing exhibit.

5. Select the right team to attend the show.

After you design the perfect trade show display, it's key to have the right staff in it. They'll be the face of your business at the event. You might be surprised by who the trade show trends & statistics suggest - it's not your high-level executives. 59% of trade show marketers say salespeople are their best booth staffers.

6. Start pre-show marketing and networking.

You don't have to wait until you're at the expo to start marketing! 74% of trade show marketers say pre-show emails to existing or prospective clients are the most effective way to increase attendance and drive booth traffic. Consider inviting key prospects and existing clients to meetings stop by your booth, or schedule breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings for more face-to-face time. 

7. Plan the promotions you'll use at the show.

Attract more attention and foot traffic at the event with additional promotions. You might consider giveaways, food, or games to draw people in. Giving a presentation at the convention can also increase your business's brand awareness. For more ideas, check out our top 9 creative ideas to attract trade show visitors in 2019.

8. Arrange exhibit shipping and setup.

You don't want to be scrambling last minute to ship a large exhibit across the country. Working with a full-service exhibit agency is the easiest way to ensure your trade show display arrives before you do. Look for event management services that offer everything from installation to dismantle.

9. Pack and make travel plans.

To save on stress, make your team's travel arrangements well ahead of time and prepare for emergencies. It can be good to create a "booth packing list" as a team and brainstorm anything you all might need - from batteries to cleaning products. Now you'll be ready for any trade show that comes your way. Don't forget comfortable walking shoes!


With this trade show planning checklist, we hope you'll feel ready for your next event. For more display ideas, take a look at some of the custom trade show exhibits we build. If you’d like to discuss how we can help design your next project, click here to contact our team.

Contact DesignShop

 
1 Start 2 Complete

 

Midland Radio Corporation
"The team at DesignShop was great, they listened to our story and created a design around my vision for the Midland brand. The finished product was a CES booth that showcased the outdoor lifestyle and adventures that our customers live out each and every day. "

Matt Latendresse, Director of MarketingMidland Radio Corporation

Contact DesignShop