Key Elements of Successful Trade Show Planning


4 min read

March 22, 2022

Key elements of successful trade show planning

If you've been a part of a trade show event specific to your industry, you know just how engaging, exciting, and contagious the energy can get. The networking opportunities are endless. Circulating through the exhibition hall floor, you have immediate access to industry leaders, potential customers, and business partners, all in one place simultaneously.  

Whether you're attending a trade show as a guest or exhibiting, there's a lot to take in. Being prepared is the best way to get the most out of your investment.  

Let's explore the key elements of successful trade show planning:

  • Strategy  
  • Booth design
  • Trained staff  
  • Marketing materials  
  • Pre-event promotion  

Successful trade show exhibiting is about strategy

Exhibiting at trade shows and conferences is an essential component of most successful brand’s marketing mix. Therefore, choosing the right trade show for your business is a crucial step. Here are some helpful tips for building your trade show strategy:  

  • Research all trade shows specific to your industry, even the smaller, targeted shows may benefit your investment in time and money.
  • Determine which shows your best customers, prospects, and target audience are attending. That’s where you want to be.  
  • Find out where your competitors exhibit and their location on the exhibition hall floor plan for strategic positioning.  
  • Plan your budget ahead of time to help make your trade show section, choose your exhibit house and take advantage of early bird vendor discounts.  

Your trade show booth design will help you shine

Your trade show booth is a reflection of your brand. So unless you’re a known industry leader, chances are people aren’t lining up to catch a sneak peek at your exhibit. It’s normal; there’s a sea of brands fighting for attention. You’ll have to pull all the stops to draw people in for an opportunity to engage them in conversation. It all starts with an enticing design. A successful trade show booth tells your brand story and communicates your value proposition visually. Here are some tips to achieve a strong visual presence at your next trade show:  

  • Shop exhibit houses to find a partner that delivers industry-leading designs and will ensure your booth facilitates your goals.
  • Create a budget for how you’ll allocate your funds, including exhibit space rental, design, and installation. Prime floor plan locations and impressive booth designs can be pricey, but the combination is a deal changer.  
  • Have your booth design reflect your goals and objectives. For example, say your goal is to increase leads; you may need lead stations or kiosks.
  • Make your booth exterior inviting and the interior comfortable to leave a long-lasting impression on attendees’ minds.

Train your staff for a memorable trade show experience  

Most companies exhibit at trade shows to generate leads and gain brand awareness. Of course, visually standing out from your competition will attract more prospective clients to your booth. But what happens once they enter? How visitors are left feeling about your brand is directly related to their interactions with the staff. So let's look at the elements that make up a memorable experience.  

  • Your booth staff should be knowledgeable of your industry and experts about the products and services you offer.  
  • Attitude is everything. Make sure your booth staff and installation team are as friendly and helpful as possible.
  • Your staff is responsible for keeping your trade show booth inviting and organized. A reception desk or meet and greet area are a great way to make guests feel welcomed.  
  • Trade show booth staff are the attendee's first point of contact; they're your brand ambassadors and always ready to share your brand story.

Select the right marketing materials to stay top of mind

Staying consistent with your brand message happens at various stages from pre to post-event and during the show. Yet all events offer different ways to promote your brand and leave a lasting impression. Experienced exhibit houses can help you design, develop, and produce the right support materials for your audience. Here's a list of key marketing collateral for best trade show results.

  • Trade show booth graphics  
  • Display boards and lightboxes  
  • Signs and banners
  • Custom promotional items, swag, and giveaways
  • Brochures and sales sheets
  • Demonstration products and mockups  
  • Presentation folders
  • Training materials for booth staff

Promotion your trade show presence before the event  

Successful trade show exhibits are all about making connections. The good news is that you can get a head start before the event. Here are a few ideas to help make your trade show experience a grand slam.  

  • Leverage social media to create buzz.  
  • Send out a newsletter to book your meetings calendar.
  • Direct leads to a landing page where they can overview your business.  
  • Publish a press release on industry-specific platforms or print media.  
  • Host a happy hour and invite some attendees.
  • Create some added value content of your previous experience (blog article, podcast, webinar, or case study).

Strategies are just as essential to the success of any trade show exhibition as finding the right exhibit house to plan and prepare every other element of the show. With a well-designed exhibit booth, trained staff, the right marketing collateral, and pre-event promotion, you'll have more time to focus on your goal — making meaningful business connections.

Do you need help planning your next trade show?

With over 25 years of experience, we understand the importance of offering custom exhibits and rental solutions true to your brand. Visit our store to customize your marketing collateral, including pop-up displays, banner stands, reception counters, and more. We print on the highest quality materials to stand out from competitors and shine for your audience.  

Contact us for your next business event.

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