According to Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. A very simple reminder that could awaken the minds of everybody to have the practice to plan before proceeding to the next step.

If you want to create an amazing trade show experience and reap the benefits of a well executed exhibition campaign, pine no further. Here are 9 things you can try before your next event.

1.  Set Specific Targets

Starting with the end in mind may sound a little cliche, but it’s sound advice! Knowing where you want to end up allows you to break down what you need to do to get there. Most salespeople are also competitive so it’s a good way to keep the team focused.

2.  List Down the Expected Expenses

Of course you will be spending money while planning for a trade show, so you need to carefully calculate everything that you’re going to use. Get a little creative with this. Look to future shows and see if you can produce something that can benefit those as well instead of reinventing the wheel. You can then use key base figures to help evaluate the success of your exhibit across different shows.

3.  Assemble an attractive and enticing booth

The booth will be the asset of the company. Make sure that it is well-decorated, simple, and striking. You can use popup displays, pull up banners and even retractable banners. There are so many options to make your exhibition stand stand out from everyone else. Take note that if your booth is assembled properly, it will be the one to build up an undeniable sales message to the crowd.

4.  Floorplan selection

It’s a good idea to reserve your booth in advance so that you can plan for the best location for the booth. Some people like to be near the entrance to the show. In my opinion, this is the worst position as people are travelling at their fastest while they decide how they will navigate through the show. If you are right at the front, you need to do it BIG. Make it so that people simply have to stop. This is great if you have a new product and need to get your brand name alone out to everybody, but if you want people to engage with your brand you might want to consider somewhere further in. Talk to your stand builder about different stand positions. We are an extension of your team, use it to your advantage!

5.  Marketing Materials

It’s common practice for people to have their marketing materials printed. This includes product descriptions, sales literature, product sheets and product brochures to ensure that people will have copies, but make absolutely sure that everything written in print form is error free and most of all persuasive.

If you want a really cool way to promote your products, why not create a touch screen solution? We have done a number of these for clients and the feedback has been extremely good. The benefit to doing this over traditional print is that you save money on printing, transport and there is no waste, but most importantly, you can track who has requested further information and what products they want to know more about. This really is the future and many of our clients are using this method beyond the exhibition as the preferred way to share material with clients.  

6.  Product Selection

Your products are the heart of your business so only bring new (or close to new) products so they represent your brand in the best light. If you have a wide range of products or very large products, consider bringing only a selection and having the rest available on a touch screen. You can showcase a wide variety and even include a configurator or 3D model to help customers explore what is in your range. Most importantly you can guide a customer through them without stumbling around a laptop, which doesn’t really encourage conversation and doesn’t allow a customer to self-direct.  

7.  Staff Selection

The first thing that you need is to organize is intensive training for your staff in the lead up to the show. They’re the ones who represent your business and your brand. It’s important they make a good first impression. Not having a the right combination of staff to represent you up is by far the biggest mistake you can make. Even if you have the world’s best exhibition stand, your staff can let you down if they aren’t trained properly.

8.  Get your prospects to the show

Why invite existing clients? Because aside from drumming up a crowd and making your exhibit seem like an exciting place to be, the show can also be used to drive the sales funnel. Offer something at the show that they can’t see anywhere else and generate some excitement around the event. A month before the show, you should contact prospects that will attend your exhibit. We are all busy so unless you take the lead and make the event a must see in their schedules, it has become far too easy to skip it. Email them, call them, send them invitations. Be proactive and smart at inviting people to your show.

9.  Remove the “What If’s”

Be positive, don’t feel pressured because that will lead you to failure. If you think of the “what if’s”- what if we fail, what if our prospects don’t appear, what if no one visits our booth, these are just thoughts of failure. If you aim for success, aim for it, if your goal is money, go for it, if you desire fame, just give it your best shot. You’ll be proud that you tried, and knowing that you have done everything possible towards achieving it is what makes the real difference!