10 Pre-Show Tips for Trade Show Success

The trade show you’ve been waiting for is finally here. Do you have everything prepared? You don’t want to just pack up and leave for the show without a plan or some kind of strategy. These pre-show tips will help you prepare and organize!

Have your business cards ready

Print is not dead. Business cards are an easy way for people to remember who they talked to and what your business is about. Who knows? It might help you gain a new client! Before going to a trade show or convention, make sure you have an ample amount of cards to give out as you network. Some trade shows have a big bowl to drop your card into and pick someone else’s up. It’s almost like mystery marketing, and you don’t want to miss that!

Eye-catching set up

First impressions are everything. Make sure your display is noticeable and eye-catching. You don’t just want to have a fold-up table with some business cards and a poster. Present your business to showcase your brand in a way that won’t go unnoticed. Sit down pre-show and determine a banner to print, maybe a retractable stand, and even a table drape to proudly and properly display your business. (And don’t forget that Digital Arts can help you with that!) People love colors! Combine two colors that go well together, or, if your logo has specific colors, pull some from that and continue with the theme.

Freebies

Everyone loves a free pen! Freebies are a great way to get people over to your booth and give attendees something to take home a little something from your exhibit. Print your business logo and information on pens, pads, screen cleaners, or anything that will be easy for people to grab. Freebies are a great way to market your business as well. While you’re making people smile with a shiny, new, free pen, you might be gaining a new client.

Raffles

Raffles and contests are always fun at conventions. Plan a raffle pre-show with your team for your booth visitors to participate in when they stop by. For example, put a bowl out and have people drop their business cards into it. Whichever card you draw first will be the winner of the giveaway. If you’re a consulting company, the winner could have a free consultation. Raffles create excitement, drive traffic, and make your business stand out.

Models or examples that demonstrate your business

An example of what your business is all about is something important to showcase at a trade show. Before the show, be prepared to bring some models or displays that will show off what you can do. If you own a printing company, print your logo or some images on the products you offer. If you own a landscaping business, bring large photos of the work your business has done, along with a tiny model of what a yard could look like. People would generally use their imagination if they don’t see an example, but why make them imagine it? Visuals are key.

Bring a team of knowledgeable employees

Before going to the trade show, make sure you have a team of employees that will benefit your booth. Make sure your employees are able to attend and make sure they know what their job is when you get there. Employees with extensive knowledge of your brand are important to have at the trade show to properly represent your brand. They should be prepared to answer any kind of questions that could come up at the show and represent your brand in the best ways from start to finish.

Discuss a plan with employees before the event

After you have gathered a group of employees that will go represent your business with you, make sure you come up with a plan before you get there. A well-organized trade show is a successful trade show. Come up with shifts for each employee so someone is always at the booth ready to answer questions and help visitors. If you are having a demonstration, assign an employee or two to help with that while the others manage the booth or walk around handing out business cards. A strategic plan will keep everything organized and everyone will know what to do when you get there.

Advertise that you’ll be at the convention

Spread the word! Let your clients, fans, friends, and competitors know that you’ll be attending the trade show or convention. Blast everyone with an informative email about the convention, what it’s about, and that you’ll be attending. Advertising might encourage more people to come see your booth and explore the convention. Not only will it encourage more to attend, but also your email blast might cause the recipients to check your website and social media platforms to see what’s new. Also, don’t forget to include a sneak peek picture of what your booth will look like in the email! It’ll be a nice preview and those who are coming to the convention will know how to find you.

Research what other businesses will be there

Do your research. Finding out who will be at the convention with you is good to know. You’ll want to know which competitors will be there, and what other businesses will be your convention floor neighbors. Once you find out who will be there, you’ll be able to research a bit more about them and check out their websites and portfolios. You never know, learning something new about your competitors might make you think of doing something different at the convention.

Have a travel plan

Traveling can be a headache. Creating a travel plan before departing for the convention is a smart idea. Because we don’t have the ability to see the future, traveling can go wrong in many ways. If you decide to take a few company cars, check the maps and traffic apps before you leave. Also, leave a good amount of time earlier just in case traffic develops or an accident happens while you’re en route. If you would rather take public transportation, pay attention to the schedules, and again, leave early. Having this all planned out pre-show will help alleviate unnecessary stress.

Having a strategic, well-organized plan before you set off to your trade show adventure is important. There are other things you can do to get prepared, but hopefully, these tips will help you get started. Show up like you own the place! You’ll have everything organized, and with these pre-show tips, it should be a smooth ride.

Now that your pre-show plans are set, don’t forget to map out what you’re going to do during the show, and post-show! Luckily, we’ve got tips for the entire convention life cycle.

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