A Handy Tradeshow Planning Checklist
Exhibiting for a tradeshow? Check out this handy checklist to determine if you have done all the necessary preparations and have all the needed equipment.
- A goal. What is your primary goal? Why are you exhibiting? Your goal must be something concrete: Do you want to close a sale on the tradeshow floor? If so, how many? How many prospects do you want to talk to? How many serious investors? Goals such as this are easy to evaluate once the event ends.
- A catchy main message. In a tradeshow setting, you have less than a minute to capture people’s attention so that they decide to stop by your booth. What is your message? Have you phrased it so that it is clear, and catchy?
- A marketing strategy. How do you plan to approach passers-by? How about potential customers and investors? Jason Cohen of the business blog, A Smart Bear, even recommends scheduling a vendor presentation: “Even if just 20 people come to your talk, that’s 20 people you get to talk to in depth for 45 minutes—far more valuable than talking to 100 people at your booth for 5-60 seconds.” Of course, if you decide to go for it, your presentation must be well written, and your presenters well prepared.
- A well-placed and well-designed booth. This is one of the most important parts of the tradeshow. Your booth placement determines traffic. Act fast, and get the booths nearest the bathrooms, or ones near the front doors. A logo, a banner, a “clever” phrase, and 8 adjectives—that’s the usual things tradeshow attendees see, according to Cohen; make sure that yours is different.
- An excellent promotional strategy. Make sure you promote the show beforehand: make sure you cover as many social media sites as possible. Give people reasons why they should go to your booth. Add all details possible: show info, your booth number. “If you have a giveaway or something else interesting, say that too,” Cohen adds.
- In-booth audio visual programs and presentations. This is to capture people’s attention and keep it. If your presentations and programs start a crows, even better. A crowd draws more people in.
Things You Should Have:
- Banner and Handouts—make sure they’re simple and well-designed.
- Giveaway items—something tangible with which your contacts could remember you by.
- A supply kit—sharpies, scotch tape, masking tape, extension cord, electric plug bar, post-it notes, rubber bands, tiny staplers, highlighters, paper clips, scissors, all-in-one tools, zip-ties, generic business cards
- A personal kit—good shoes, aspirin/pain relievers, anti-bacterial water-free handwash, facial tissues, bottled water, first-aid kit, energy bars/candy, breath freshener
- Free food—“The more ‘real’ the food is (i.e. not just candy) the better. Cookies are good. Put it at the center of your booth so it’s harder for someone to take it without talking,” Cohen advices.