Planning a trade show appearance can often be time consuming and complicated. This guide explores the key factors you should consider.

Trade shows are one of the most effective marketing strategies. Indeed, the U.S alone, these shows generate $12.8 billion in revenue. However, appearing at a trade show is also expensive. When combining all the costs in your budget, you can spend anywhere upwards of $40,000. That’s why you need to ensure that your trade show appearance is a success.

Successful trade show appearances will always depend on whether you have the right plan in place. So, let’s explore some of the key factors of trade show planning.


When Should You Start Planning For Your Next Trade Show?

On average, you should start planning for a trade show between 12 and 9 months before the date. Before you even think about your marketing strategy and how to impress show attendees, you need to consider which shows you want to attend.

You should use your network to decide which trade show will provide the greatest benefits for you and your business brand. Think about not only the attendees that you need to target but also the competitors who will be attending these events.


Know Your Target Audience

Once you have decided on which trade show to attend, you need to think about your target audience. These are the attendees for the show and essentially your potential customers. Attendees will always have different pain points different factors to consider when exploring various booths. By taking a deep dive into who the attendees are as part of your marketing strategy, you can ensure that your business appeals to them.


Consider Your Objectives

When you create a trade show checklist, you should think about your objectives and the message you want to send to leads or attendees in your industry.

Pinning down the right message early on in the process will shape your trade show marketing.


How Do You Budget For A Trade Show?

When you make a plan for your trade show exhibit appearance, you always need to consider your budget. Remember, the average trade show exhibitor will spend 40% of their budget alone on their exhibit. But this isn’t the only cost that you need to think about. Other cost include:

Sales teams

Promotional items

Booth staff


Marketing Etc

A comprehensive and complete budget will ensure that you are spending money in the right area It is a key part of your trade show check list.


Time Management

As such, exhibitors start planning their appearance at a trade show a year in advance. This might seem early but six months may not be enough time for all the logistical preparations. This can include a schedule which ensures that everything gets to the right location on your time. You need to explore shipping times for different vendors and determine whether these services meet your requirements.

If you don’t have the right materials in place for your presentation from the trade show booth to signage, it will be a disaster.


Booth Design

Arguably the most important aspect of trade shows is the booth. Booth design should be at the top of your trade show checklist. You need to make sure that you have a booth which is going to grab attention at the trade show. This is often more important than having the right team on the show floor. Many trade show appearances are failures because of a poorly designed booth.

When choosing your trade show display, you can opt for a custom booth or one that is pre made. Custom booths are more expensive however they have a better chance of standing out.

convention and trade show displays



You need to consider your location on the show floor. The best location at trade shows will provide high levels of visibility and plenty of space for your team as well as customers. Remember, it is important to ensure that you have enough booth space to effective promote your product or service.

You also need to consider the space available for your booth and how to display materials effectively. For instance, space can impact what you are going to display on your table at a trade show whether that’s promotional items or info packets.

You might also want to use the right signage and banners to promote and draw attention to your area. These can be displayed on the table or over the space. Retractable signage is a great way to highlight your brand name, logo or key message early on to attendees.


Use Pre Promotional Tactics

One of the best tips for a trade show exhibit is to engage in pre-marketing tactics. You can make an impact with attendees before they see your trade show booth if you do this. 6 months before the event, pre marketing could include a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. Tell your story and show attendees why they should care about your appearance.

Closer to the event you can start to think about off-site marketing to reach potential prospects. This can include signs and displays around the exhibit area or near transport links. Signs like this can immediately attract the attention you need from prospects. You might even gain media traction which will provide free, high value marketing.


Use Post Show Tactics

Once the trade show ends, you need to ensure that prospects and attendees remember your brand or the service you presented at the trade show exhibit. Pre show, you should be creating and preparing materials that you can provide to leads. This can include business cards.

Business cards are a great way to ensure that your brand is remembered by prospects. It can also provide a way for leads to reconnect with your brand or arrange meetings after the event. Meetings are often the next step after a trade show event but that only happens if you provide the right contact point.

We hope this helps you understand how to plan trade show appearances effectively with the right trade show checklist. Remember, this is about more than putting the right exhibit in place. You need to carefully review different aspects of your appearance to prepare to ensure that your company receives the right level of attention from attendees and the general audience.

Gene Friedman
Live Chat Software