Trade Show Preparation Checklist

Best Practice Trade Show Preparation Checklist

Woman ticking on a checklist - isolated over a white backgroundHere's On-Target's comprehensive checklist for preparing for a trade show:

Pre-Show Preparation

  1. Define Objectives

    • Set clear goals (e.g., lead generation, brand awareness, networking).
  2. Budget Planning

    • Determine your budget for the event, including booth space, travel, accommodation, marketing materials, and promotional items.
  3. Booth Reservation

    • Reserve your booth space early and confirm all details with the event organizer.
  4. Booth Design and Layout

    • Design an attractive and functional booth.
    • Order or prepare displays, banners, furniture, and any interactive elements.
    • Arrange for shipping and logistics of booth materials.
  5. Marketing Materials

    • Prepare brochures, business cards, product catalogs, and other handouts (Both Digital & Print)
    • Create clean & clear digital presentations, videos, and demo materials.
  6. Promotional Items

    • Order branded giveaways and promotional items.
  7. Staffing

    • Select and train your booth staff.
    • Plan staff schedules and responsibilities during the show.
    • Clarify the top 3 messages to be communicated, no more than three, or the clarity of your message will suffer.
  8. Pre-Show Promotion

    • Announce your participation on your website, social media, and newsletters.
    • Schedule email campaigns and social media posts.
    • Arrange meetings with key clients, prospects, and partners.
  9. Lead Collection System

    • Set up a system for collecting and managing leads (e.g., lead forms, business card scanners, or mobile apps).
  10. Travel and Accommodation

    • Book travel and accommodation for your team.
    • Arrange transportation of booth materials if necessary.

During the Show

  1. Booth Setup

    • Arrive early to set up your booth and ensure everything is in place.
    • Test any electronics, displays, and interactive elements.
  2. Engage Visitors

    • Greet and engage visitors actively.
    • Offer live demos or interactive experiences.
    • Distribute marketing materials and promotional items.
  3. Collect Leads

    • Use your lead collection system to gather visitor information.
    • Qualify leads and note any important details or follow-up actions.
  4. Network

    • Attend seminars, workshops, and networking events.
    • Connect with other exhibitors and potential partners.
  5. Social Media Updates

    • Post live updates, photos, and videos on social media.
    • Use event hashtags to increase visibility.

Post-Show Follow-Up

  1. Lead Follow-Up

    • Follow up with leads promptly via personalized emails or calls.
    • Send thank-you notes to key contacts and clients.
  2. Evaluate Performance

    • Assess whether you met your objectives.
    • Gather feedback from your team and analyze what worked well and what didn't.
  3. Update CRM

    • Enter collected leads and information into your CRM system.
  4. Review Budget

    • Review your spending against the budget and analyze the return on investment (ROI).
  5. Plan for Future Events

    • Use insights and feedback to refine your strategy for future trade shows.
    • Start planning early for your next event.