Beginners Guide to Planning a Trade Show


Aerial photo of a trade show floor

Trade shows are an invaluable resource for exposing your brand to a targeted demographic as well as gaining knowledge about current industry trends and challenges.

You want to utilize the power of trade shows to engage a broader audience and wow a crowd of prospective customers – but where the heck do you start?

Fear not – Indellient has you covered. We’ve been attending conferences as well as showcasing in trade shows all over North America – and we don’t plan on slowing down. But like you, we were once trade show novices and needed some guidance navigating the do’s and don’ts of exhibiting at a trade show. After some research, practice and learning from our mistakes, we’re ready to pass on some pearls of wisdom.

We’ve outlined some tips to help you rock your first trade show.

Go in With a Plan

Begin by gathering up your team and outlining a fool-proof marketing plan. Start with setting a foundation to branch off of, like who your targeted audience is, which trade show would best represent your brand and give you the most exposure and how much budget you have to work with.

It would be beneficial to do some research and ask your clients questions like what events they attend and what they’d like to see more of from you for a better customer experience. Once your foundation is set and your venue is chosen, you can conduct specific research on the trade show and gather up analytics to help you gauge what you can take away from the show. Reaching out and setting up a call with the event organizers is a good first step and ensures you have the right information to begin your journey.

Focus on Engagement

With so many people under one space and multiple brands vying for the attention of trade show goers, stealing the spotlight can be difficult. Truth is, you may know your brand is reliable and the best to get the job done, but attendees may overlook your booth because it doesn’t grasp their attention. This is where interactive games, flashy designs and, of course, free swag and prizes can help. Incentives are the new marketing motivators, and, in order to lure in new clients, leave the sales pitch at home and instead focus on creating buzz with an innovative game.

Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of social media to draw people into your booth. Tweet photos about what cool things your booth has to offer, and try to get booth visitors to do the same. When it comes to trade shows, there can never be enough social promotion, so make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place for before, during and after the tradeshow so you never miss an opportunity to engage your audience.

Train Your Staff

You may have the most bright and talented team, but merely sending them off to a trade show if they haven’t been before isn’t the best idea. A trade show environment is like none other – it’s fast, full of unexpected hurdles and a sea full of people from all over the world.

Preparation is key, and so is ensuring your staff has all the right tools to get them through the day. This includes training on how to speak to attendees, conversational topics to break the ice, what to do in the case of technical difficulties and how to successfully acquire leads without seeming pushy.

Remember, exhibiting at a trade show doesn’t happen overnight (and it’s not cheap) – so take your time meticulously planning every detail so you get the most out of your investment!