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January 6, 2023

Tips for Preparing for Your Next Trade Show

This is part one of a three-part series; make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter to stay updated as more tips become available.

According to a recent article by Nevada Business, no industry in Las Vegas was hit quite as hard as trade shows were due to COVID-19. Now that convention events are on the rebound and are trying to recover from the pandemic, they're bigger and better than ever. People are eager to be back in person and are ready to socialize with like-minded professionals. These industry events often gather many qualified prospects in one place, allowing you to showcase your brand and capture new business. However, preparing to be an exhibitor at these events can take a few months. Here are some tips you can utilize to ensure you rock your return to the trade show arena.

Set Your Trade Show Objective

Before starting your plan, understanding your objective for exhibiting at a trade show is crucial. Your strategy, tactics, and booth attractions may differ depending on this goal. Many brands focus on a few objectives, the most common including brand awareness, lead and sales generation, and relationship nurturing.  

When setting your trade show objective, it's also crucial for you to set a realistic goal that you can use to measure your performance. For example, if your priority objective is lead generation, then many of your efforts should focus on attracting new customers to your booth and having an effective method to collect leads. If you've exhibited in the past, you can gauge the number of new leads you can expect based on past success. If you're new to exhibiting, or if it's been a while, you should break down what success will look like to obtain your return on investment.  

Trade shows take effort from everyone involved. This is a time when both sales and marketing members need to work together to further a company's success. Once you've narrowed down and agreed on your objective and your measurement of success, it's time to get your plan together.

Start Planning

Now that it's time to start planning, you should decide the overall theme you want to showcase at the trade show. You should aim to create a cohesive, well-branded experience for your audience, and your messaging and design will be the guiding post for this.

Your trade show booth design and other elements should be done with your objective top-of-mind. Doing so will help guide your booth layout, what content you need to produce, what calls-to-action will motivate your audience and more. Keep in mind that while the trade show itself will have a massive audience, your efforts must be tailored and focused to ensure success. The last thing you want to do is create a 'shotgun' approach to your trade show marketing plan.

Timing is everything when it comes to trade show marketing. One key component often overlooked when planning is accounting for the work you need to do before, during, and after the event. Knowing how you will approach your audience during every point of connection will be crucial for you to capitalize on every opportunity presented.  

We recommend developing a trade show calendar that maps out between 12-16 weeks to account for the time before, during, and after a trade show. You can fill this out as you're going through the planning phase to match the materials and items you need to finalize and when you should plan on doing so.

If you can, avoid assembling your trade show handouts and materials on the plane or at Vegas's nearest printing facility. That will create unnecessary stress and create an opportunity for typos and subpar brand materials. Additionally, if you're planning to do something post-show such as email drips, giveaway follow-up, etc., we urge you to prepare what you need ahead of time, giving you one less thing to worry over.  

In part two of this series, we will go into more detail about how you can create a booth experience that will resonate with your target audience. If you're looking for trade show support, you've come to the right place. Since True's founding in 2011, we've helped various brands execute top-tier trade show strategies. Contact us to learn more.

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