Top 10 Things to do Before a Trade Show

  1. Have a goal. You need a primary goal to guide decision-making and provide a yardstick for whether the tradeshow was successful.
    • Make a sale on the tradeshow floor
    • Get # genuine prospects
    • Talk with 10 industry leaders
    • Ask potential customers three specific things (market research)
  2. Decide on your main message. You get three seconds to convince someone to stop at your booth. Remember, the goal is to get people to stop, not to explain everything about who you are and what you do. Boil it down to a single, short sentence. This can vary from show to show, and from region to region, etc.
  3. Decide how your booth will be different. Attendees will see many booths. Be different. Be bold.
  4. Send mailers. Whether by mail or via social media, offer something of value at your booth, but only if the postcard/email is printed and brought to you. Don’t forget to include your booth number.
  5. Create an email and/or social media campaign. Take advantage of your customer list and any leads gathered at last year's event by reaching out with an email invitation to stop by for a demo.
  6. Set up meetings. Tradeshows are a rare chance to get face time with:
    • Editors. Get to know them on a more personal level. Be different by not pumping them full of marketing-speak.
    • Bloggers
    • Prospects & Existing Customers - Preschedule as many sales meetings as possible with qualified leads prior to the show in order to boost the show's ROI
    • Potential customers currently trialing/demoing your products
    • Your vendors
    • Potential partners
    Proactively set meetings and organize dinner and/or drinks after the show.
  7. Promote the show. You want people showing up and going to your booth. Plus, promoting the show makes the show (and any supporting publications) happy.
  8. Speak. Find and participate in panel discussions. Miss no opportunity to present yourself as expert in your field.
  9. Pack a box of everything. From Advil to Sharpies . . . bring ‘em.
  10. Select staff. Send your best, most motivated and knowledgeable people. It should all be booked by now!