How to prepare for your next trade show


Attending and presenting your company, product or service at a trade show may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Proper preparation long before the event occurs is paramount. Along with acquiring the specifics of a particular event, you may also need to contact the organizers to get information on the space, available services, type of visitors likely to be in attendance, size of your display area/tables, number of electrical outlets available, and your position in the exhibit hall.

While this is not an exhaustive list, taking these steps before your next trade show can help ensure you have the best opportunities for success.

Create buzz before the trade show

The real key to trade show success is getting the right people to the booth. This is done by first identifying the type of people you want to come and targeting your marketing efforts to them specifically.

Use marketing techniques like mailers, postcards, email blasts or social media ads. This will result in people showing up at the trade show specifically to come to your booth.

Take the best people for the job

Positive first impressions are critical. Attendees will likely not remember your fancy presentations, flashy graphics or great-looking sales materials—they will remember your people.

Malcolm Gilvar, from The Trade Group, says that a properly trained staff at a show is 39 percent more likely to motivate a prospect to visit and stay at your exhibit. Meaningful engagement and interaction between your people and trade show attendees is vital for success.

Also, make certain your people have a unique look and a clearly recognizable identity. Sometimes this is as simple as having the same colour dress shirts with an event-specific logo embroidered on them.

Take these “must-have” trade show items

Some of the most important items at a trade show are some of the most basic. For example, a venue may promise tablecloths, even tablecloths of a specific colour and condition. We all know that it never hurts to be prepared, so pack your own tablecloths in case the organizers don’t live up to their promises. Want to go the extra mile? Design your own branded tablecloths. A professional printing company can help you there.

Power bars or protein-rich snacks are essential especially if you don’t get time to get away for a proper meal. Water is another essential: bring several bottles just in case. Electrical power strips, extension cords, extra lighting and a basic toolkit are also good to have.

Scissors, extra pens, duct tape, velcro, double-sided tape and a lint brush can come in very handy. Click here for a more complete list of “must-have” items to take to your next trade show.

Show your perseverance

The trade show is about to close up, your energy level is almost on empty and the crowds have thinned out to just a few people roaming the floor. Now is not the time to quit. There are still serious attendees who know they can spend more time with you now that you’re not as busy with the crowds. If they see you sitting around playing with your phone and waiting to close up shop, they may question your company’s commitment and professionalism. Show them that you’re committed to the trade show and to their business by staying energized and engaged with everyone who comes by—right up to the close of the show.

Want to learn more great tips about how to stand out at a trade show? Check out this article we published a while back.

Are you travelling to your next event?

If you need some help in preparing your marketing materials for your next trade show (such as rollup banners, brochures or business cards), contact your local TPH® professionals. We have locations all over Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver, so you can have your materials printed, ready and waiting for you at your destination instead of hauling them with you.

Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.

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