A Beginner’s Guide to Planning for a Trade Show

trade show planning - trade show crowd and booths

A Beginner’s Guide to Planning for a Trade Show

If you want to give your business more visibility, trade shows are an effective option. But the idea of exhibiting at a trade show, let alone planning for one, can seem daunting to first-timers. We put together this guide on how to plan for a trade show so you’ll feel more at ease about participating in the event and be able to make your business shine.  

Trade Show Planning Tips for Beginners

1: Set Your Goals

Before you even participate in a trade show, you need to know what you want to get out of exhibiting at the event. Setting clear goals will help you narrow down your choices of trade shows, design an effective booth, and measure the success of your exhibit

Here are some common trade show goals:

  • Generate new sales
  • Foster qualified leads
  • Launch a new product
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Strengthen relationships with current clients

2: Choose the Right Trade Show

Naturally, the next step in trade show planning is to choose an event. But for brand-new exhibitors, it can be difficult to know which one will be right for their business. 

You shouldn’t choose an event only because it’s in your industry and has huge attendance. You also need to consider how the attendees will align with your target audience, and whether the event can help you reach your goals.

To get a good idea of where to exhibit, start by taking a look at where your competitors set up their booths. But don’t choose a show that has too many competitor exhibits, or else you’ll have a difficult time standing out.

After you’ve gathered some options, it’s time to research the shows and select the one that best fits your needs. Looking at the attendee demographics will help you determine if a trade show will help you reach your target audience. Analyzing the cost to rent exhibit space will help you stay on budget. It’s also important to consider how the show will help you meet your goals. 

For example, if you want to unveil a new product, you’ll need enough space for a presentation or demonstration. And a national event is a good choice for boosting brand awareness, but not as great if your target audience is strictly local and you want to generate leads. 

3: Design Your Booth Well in Advance

Once you’ve selected an event, you can start planning your trade show booth. Don’t put this step off—the Covid-19 pandemic triggered supply chain issues that are still causing printing delays, so make sure to order your materials as early as possible. 

When designing your booth, you’ll need to keep the venue in mind. For instance, large and tall signage will help you be seen from afar in a large venue, but you may not be able to set it up in a small space. Some venues will let you install hanging signage for your exhibit, but others prohibit it, so you’ll need to find out if there are any restrictions you’ll need to work around. 

Your trade show booth also needs to help you reach your goals. If you want to generate leads, you’ll need to design an exhibit that grabs attention with colorful, eye-catching signage. And building brand awareness requires consistent use of your brand logo and colors across your entire booth, including the tablecloth, banners, walls, etc.  

4: Plan a Follow-Up Strategy

Another thing to plan in advance is your post-show strategy. How will you follow up with the leads you gain during the event? Decide how you want to engage with customers now so that you can provide the proper materials, like a QR code on your signage or a newsletter signup at your booth. Then make a plan to follow up the day after the event while your business is still fresh in the minds of your potential leads. 

Trade Show Printing Services in Tempe, Arizona

Need to print some marketing materials or booth signage for your first trade show? From pop-up displays and banner stands to lighting and hardware, Mousegraphics in Tempe has everything you need for designing a successful booth. Call us at (480) 470-7438 to discuss our trade show printing services. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/28/2022). Photo by The Ride Academy on Unsplash