invest-in-custom-exhibit-booth-aesWhether you’re a seasoned exhibitor or preparing for your very first trade show, it’s important that your organization’s next exhibit be successful and fruitful with a return-on-investment that you can benefit from. But in order to get the results you’re looking for, be sure to do some thoughtful prep work and intentional planning before you walk into the convention hall.

Ideally, your exhibition planning should begin approximately four to six months before you head to the show. This will give you adequate time to strategize, develop and perfect your presentation and still leave you with enough time to ensure the behind-the-scenes details are properly managed. To help make your trade show exhibition planning more streamlined and efficient, the following is an easy-to-follow Pre-Show checklist to guide your preparation efforts.

Plan with a Purpose

Be intentional with your strategy. Evaluate any past marketing efforts and determine what worked well, what didn’t, and what you’d like to apply to future efforts. Be realistic with your objectives. Set challenging, yet attainable goals that you’d like to reach. What are your exhibit needs? Does your current exhibit require new design elements or changes to the old? Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Who is your target audience? What message do they need to hear, specifically? You must know your demographic to answer these questions.
  • How many client leads would you like to generate?
  • How many potential investors would you like to meet?
  • How many network connections with industry leaders can you make?
  • How can you conduct market research through your exhibit?
  • Set a goal for the number of sales you’d like to make.

Once you’ve determined what your objectives are, your team will be able to develop an effective sales plan that will reflect these goals within your strategies.

Pick Your Promotional Items

Everybody loves S.W.A.G. It’s a perfect way to draw attention to your booth and generate foot-traffic from potential clients. Determine these items early so you have adequate time to create your custom order and ensure there are no mistakes to your company name, contact information, or other design elements on the finished product. This is a good time to start developing any literature and marketing materials that you plan to distribute at the event.

Sign-Up Early for a Vendor Presentation

If you have the right staff available, and if a presentation will fit into your exhibit objects, then be sure to sign-up right away. Presentations are another great way to connect with your audience and give them a bit of flash and flare along the way. There are typically only a limited number of presentation spots available, so check on this early.

silver-exhibit-booth-aesPick your Exhibit Location Wisely

When you sign-up for your vendor presentation, be sure to sign-up for your booth location, too. Look closely at the layout of the exhibition hall.

Which locations will see the most foot-traffic? Who will your neighbors be?

Location matters, so think strategically about which locations will be most beneficial for your organization.

Choose Your Presentation Staff Carefully

Your team of presenters will be the face of your organization for the event. Remember that exhibitions = marketing. You’ve got to make meaningful connections with your target audience that will draw them in and leave them looking for more. Pick the right presenters with the right personalities, and then train and prepare them well so they can spread the ideal message with your clients.

Always Expect the Unexpected and Pack a “Just-in-Case” Supply Kit

You never know what could happen at a trade show, so pack a bin with everything you might need for your exhibit. Extension cords, masking tape, basic first-aid supplies, scissors, pens and pencils, highlighters, an all-in-one tool, Sharpie markers, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes, Kleenex, and your business cards are all items that could come in handy at a moment’s notice. It’s better to be prepared in advance, so you don’t have to leave your booth looking for what you might need.

Read All Documents and Forms Carefully

Before you start packing up all your materials and head for the showroom, make sure you’ve read each of the forms and requirements carefully. There may be rules, restrictions, or regulations that dictate what you can bring to the exhibit showroom. You don’t want to run into any problems or concerns once you arrive. Taking time to review the specifics of the event can help eliminate any unexpected issues that might arise.

Following this Exhibit Pre-Show Checklist will help set you off on the right path to success at your upcoming trade show. At American Exposition Services, we don’t want you to miss out on a single opportunity to capitalize on every potential lead or sale. With more than 25 years of industry experience, we have perfected the art of the trade show. Let us pass that success on to you.

Contact AES today to learn how.