Trade Show Checklist
Breezing past your deadlines with time to spare depends on having a great trade show checklist. Many companies nail the logistical part of the checklist, but let their marketing lag behind. When they start playing catch-up, they end up being flooded with deadlines.
So how do you stop the inevitable rush of deadlines? First and foremost, don’t get distracted by the “whats” – instead focus on the “whys”: that is, the marketing side of things. Plan out the marketing items you need for your next show, but be wary of turning a “why” into a “what.” Don’t frame it as “I have to design a marketing message for my company’s trade show booth” – this turns it into a chore. Instead, phrase it as “why is this my company’s marketing message for our trade show booth?” Phrasing it this way will let you deep dive into exactly what kind of message you’re leaving your customers with.
When it comes to planning out your marketing items and objectives for an upcoming show, it’s best to have a month-to-month plan. This way you know clearly what has to be done each month without overwhelming yourself. If you’re not sure how to plan a trade show checklist, reading ours could benefit you greatly.
6 Months Out:
Set your objectives. Put together a list of the top three objectives you want your trade show program for next year to accomplish.
5 Months Out:
Set your budget. Adjust your budget based on the objectives you set a month ago, your current finances and any opportunities that you think might pop up. Your budget is the biggest part of your trade show plan – it’s what everything else hinges on, so make sure that you have a good handle on it before you go forward.
Calculate your return on investment (ROI). After creating your budget, make sure to clearly and precisely calculate your return on investment. This is especially helpful if you have attended the show before, as you can make a plan to built on your successes from the previous year. This is a very important aspect of the trade show checklist.
Choose the trade shows you plan to go to.Take a look at a trade show schedule like the one put out by the Trade Show News Network. This will let you make a list of what shows are the best match for you in terms of target market.
Evaluate and revitalize your trade show booth as needed. Review your current trade show pop up display. Does it still let you achieve your marketing objectives? If so, keep it. Otherwise, build a new one. If you’re building a larger exhibit, you probably want to move this to the 6-months-out step. If you have a pop up booth and are looking to use it in multiple shows, read our blog post about revitalizing your trade show display. There are many different styles of pop up booths, so do your research to figure out which will best work for your business.
4 Months Out:
Research technology. There are more than a dozen trade show appsout there on the market, useful for everything from communication to marketing, social media and lead capture. But that’s not the only technology you should be researching: the rise of tablets means that they are rapidly becoming a standard piece of trade show tech, and knowing how to use them means that you’ll only benefit. You can even keep a copy of your trade show checklist on it so you don’t lose it.
3 Months Out:
Review the show’s site. If the show has a web page, review it. Make sure you know exactly when it’s going to take place, where it’s going to take place, and where your booth is going to go. Many trade show sites have accounts that you can sign up for that allow you to choose where your booth is going to go – use them. You don’t want to get to the show and have nothing left but the dregs.
Create your promotions.Promotions are a big part of your trade show marketing plan – they help your booth staffers engage attendees and bring in a greater number of qualified leads to your booth. Some promotional items include tablecloths, banner stands, pop up booths, flags and signs. Custom tablecloths with your brand or logo are very popular, as well as banner stands to set beside the table. Custom tablecloths help display your brand to show goers, as well as add some flare to your table and booth. Banner stands are great at displaying short and succinct bits of information that would be beneficial for the show attendee to quickly see and digest.