How To Prepare for an Exhibition: Complete Checklist
Exhibiting at a trade show is a great opportunity for many industries, providing extensive reasons for both brands and clients where you can showcase your product, expand your client base, maximize your brand awareness, and boost your company’s sales growth. But as appealing as it sounds, Trade Shows also have the potential to be demanding and costly which is why you need to plan strategically to get the best return on your investment.
Planning can be a daunting prospect but to help you along the way, we’ve put together a complete checklist of the things you need to do before you hit the show:
STEP 1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT EXHIBITION
12 months before
With thousands of exhibitions taking place around the world, it is very important to choose the right one for your business. When considering your next show, make sure you do your research for the upcoming trade shows that is related to your industry and find out as much information as possible if the show fits into your existing marketing strategy or if it’s attractive to your target market. If budget permits, you may want to visit the exhibition first (let’s say attend current year edition as a visitor so that you see everything first hand and then participate next year.
The show organizers should be able to provide you answers to some of these questions:
- How established is the show?
- How many visitors attended last year? (Ask for attendance records and see if they fit into your target market).
- How is the show promoted and which media will attend?
- · What exhibition packages are available? (Take time deciding which one is right for you, the main exhibition stands that organizers offer are space only and shell scheme package).
STEP 2: SET YOUR BUDGET
12 months before
Your budget will depend on your brand objectives. Will you be going to market your brand to boost your sales? Are you planning to capture leads? Or will you be launching a new product/service? A big trade show or just a small one?
Bear in mind that booth spaces can be expensive, especially if you want to be in a high-traffic flow area. With proper planning, you will be able to chalk out a detail division of the budget among the essential elements required while exhibiting at an exhibition. Here’s some of our recommendations:
- Exhibition space cost
- Exhibition booth design and construction cost
- Booth staff accommodation and daily meals
- Shipping and Transportation expense
- Promotional Expense
STEP 3: REGISTER FOR THE SHOW AND RESERVE YOUR SPACE
7 months before
As soon as you find the right exhibition for you, reserve your space immediately so you've got more stand location options as well as early bird discount rates from the show organizer. Remember, having a “strategically-located” booth will increase your exposure and will make it easier for your prospect clients to find you. This is also the best time to book your staff hotel accommodation and make travel arrangements so you can take advantage of the best deals.
STEP 4: CHOOSE YOUR EXHIBITION STAND TYPE
If you’re a first-time exhibitor, you may be confused by the different exhibition stand options. A trade show organizer will likely offer you two packages – shell scheme or space only stand.
- SHELL SCHEME
A shell scheme is usually the cheaper option and will typically include stand walls, basic tables and chairs, carpet, a bare grey meter-wide panels, and a fascia board with your company name on it. Exhibitors frequently use pop-up banners and modular graphics to fill the space with their branding.
- SPACE ONLY
Space only exhibition stands are a complete blank canvas where you can just simply pay for the floor space to the show organizer and look for your own exhibition stand contractor who can help you design and build your exhibition stand.
STEP 5: FIND A TRUSTED EXHIBITION STAND CONTRACTOR
4 months before
Choosing the right stand contractor is just as vital as choosing the right exhibition show-- they must have a highly qualified designers and sales team who can understand your brand thoroughly and be able to convert your business goals into an effective and unique design that will help your brand stand out from the rest.
Make a background check on the contractors you find online and check their google reviews or you can also ask the event organizer to give you a list of their recommended stand contractor for the show.
But if you are still striving where to find the right stand contractor, Vortex Events can help you achieve the best design and stand execution for your next show.
STEP 6: START WITH YOUR EXHIBITION STAND DESIGN
4 months before
After the process of choosing the stand contractor, you must note that for about a month you will be going back and forth to finalize the 3D designs and the integrated features of your stand plus you may also have to ask your graphic designer to complete the artworks that is necessary for the branding.
It’s important that your stand fits in with your overall marketing goals so start the design process with a clear objective of what you want to achieve from the exhibition.
Your design is also not about the creative elements but also what functionality does the stand needs to have? You can add these additional key points to make your stand more efficient during the show.
- Interactive Kiosk that provide audiences with engaging digital content and information through a user-friendly interface.
- LED video wall to demonstrate your products via video
- Meeting Rooms so you can have a private space with your potential clients where you can demonstrate your products or services.
- Product Display to allow attendees see and visualize your product
STEP 7: GET YOUR MARKETING MATERIALS READY
1 month before
Every exhibitor strives to stand out from the competition. Not only do you need to be seen, but you also need to maintain your visitor's attention--you need something that helps you convert them into an actual client by creating a package of marketing materials that works collectively to help you achieve results.
Here are some trade show marketing materials you can include for your next exhibition:
- Promotional Gifts
- Business Cards
- Sales Invite Form
- Loyalty or Discount Coupons
- · Eye-catching banners and poster
STEP 6: PREPARE YOUR PRODUCTS
Whether you'll be giving away samples of your products or doing a live demonstration of your equipment, you need to get your products ready in advance. There is nothing more stressful than leaving yourself too short on time to make the products you want to showcase or having a piece of your equipment fail halfway through a demonstration.
STEP 7: LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU ARE EXHIBITING
There are lots of ways to market your exhibition participation. The first thing you can do is sending out engaging emails to your database. Be sure to include everything about the trade show, what are they expecting and where can they locate you (booth number, floor, or area) Ask your favorite bloggers to write about your upcoming exhibition and create a post announcement on your website as well as your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and/or Youtube)
You can also ask the show organizers for a full list of attendees who registered for the event and make sure you contact them and create a buzz a couple of weeks before the exhibition starts. You can send them a personalized email asking to sign up for a one-to-one meeting or an invitation to meet you and your team at the show. You can also mention any giveaways, competitions and stand activities you will be hosting on your stand. This will create excitement and encourage visitors to stop by.
STEP 8: APPOINT THE TEAM
It's important you send your employees who are the experts in your products or service. You'll want your customers to be impressed with their product knowledge and for your employees to confidently present and answer questions from your attendees.
Pro Tip: You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Clearly, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a successful trade show. The work involves marketers, designers, fabricators, logistics specialists, and other professionals dedicated to making the right impression and connecting with your audience. The good news is you don’t have to do everything by yourself. As one of the exhibitions stand contractor, Vortex Events team can help you plan all with the above steps so you can prepare a hassle-free exhibition. We would like to hear about your goals and how we can help you so contact us today.