• Create a realistic budget.
  • Book hotel and travel – the earlier the better!
  • Prepare your booth and products.

Decide on booth size, messaging, imagery, and decorations. Make sure your booth is well labeled and eye-catching to visitors walking by. Make sure you have enough brochures, business cards, and promotional products to give out to leads.

  • Decide on promotional products

Tradeshow visitors are more likely to visit your booth if you are giving out a product, and are 80% likely to keep that promotional product for over a year. Make sure your promotional product strategically combines creativity, brand messaging, and usefulness to have the greatest impact on your booth visitors; turning prospects into leads.

  • Decide on staffing

Tradeshow visitors are not likely to wait in line to talk to your company, make sure you have enough staff on-site to chat with booth visitors!

  • Prepare your staff

Practice, practice practice! Know what messages and language you want your staff to use when they’re chatting to booth visitors; make sure they’re prepared to convey your company’s message effectively.

At the Tradeshow

  • Avoid generic questions, such as: “Can I help you?” and “Are you enjoying the show?” Remember that you want to stand out.
  • Be chatty

Be the friendliest you can – waiting in line for the bathroom, buffet, seminars, etc. You never know whom you might be standing next to.

  • Network with your competitors

Have a set schedule of times of when you are working the booth and when you are able to walk the floor.

  • Collect business cards

Post Show Follow Up Plan

Always follow up.

Only 50% of exhibitors will follow up with the people who visited their booths, if you are not, your competitors will be. Every single person you speak with should receive a follow up within 24-48 hours.

Here is a checklist of how you should go about following up to make sure your company message effectively resonates with booth visitors.

  • Select follow up channels

Online, email, telephone, direct mail, and face-to-face. The channels selected will depend on the individual and how they prefer to communicate.

  • Create a schedule
    • Look at your availability over the next 2 weeks following the event and decide when you are able to dedicate time to contacting leads.
    • Decide the priority of each person (1st is hot lead, 2nd is warm lead, 3rd in cool lead, 4th is not lead). Here are some examples of ways to reach out:
      • Hot leads – send a handwritten card or text message first couple days after the event, then later a LinkedIn Connection, and a couple days after that a promotional product and a coffee invite
      • Warm leads – these are the most often miscategorized leads, so make sure to have a follow-up call to qualify them and which also makes a personal connection.
      • Cool leads – send a FAQ email, video message, or recap article a few days following the event, then a week later make a telephone call
    • Make a calendar of how you will reach each person and the message you will send.
    • Execute plan.
  • Say thank you

Remember to say thank you to the parties who helped make your trade show a success. This includes:

  • Key vendors – LinkedIn recommendation, email, tweet, etc.
  • Booth staff – handwritten card
  • Your spouse – flowers, handwritten card, etc.