Preparation is everything when it comes to doing well at a trade show. Your audience is going to arrive with expectations, and every bit of prep you do will affect how well you meet or exceed them. But getting ready for the big event is no easy task. There will be a lot of scheduling and timekeeping, display assembly, personnel logistics, and even planning for when you need to get your event materials disassembled and moving to the next destination. We’re going to take a look at the details in each of those pieces of preparation based on their place in the preparation timeline. But if you follow this trade show preparation checklist, you’ll be as ready as possible to take on the crowds and put on unforgettable showcases and demonstrations!
One Year Before the Trade Show
So, you’ve decided to take your company to the trade show for the world to see! Planning a year ahead will give you the ample time you need for all the preparations leading to a successful exhibition. The first thing you’ll probably want to do is sit down with your team and craft a strict timeline to get everything done. This is crucial because you wouldn’t want to be missing anything the day before the big event, especially if you’re creating your own trade show booths and displays from scratch. Here’s some other things to start planning while you’re a year away from the big event:
- What are your ultimate goals for the trade show? Are you looking to create sales? Show off a new product? Or are you trying to just grow your brand and increase awareness of your company’s products/services?
- Research and discuss with your team about your audience. What do you know of your audience? What are they going to be looking for and how can you target that?
- Research into the trade show event itself! Can you look into the best booth spots for your trade show displays? Can those spots accommodate the kind of display that you want? Where has the best foot traffic to maximize your exposure?
- Review any paperwork that needs to be done to get properly registered for the trade show and make sure that you have any and all paperwork deadlines noted.
This is just the beginning, but getting the research done early will help direct the rest of your planning and preparation!
About Six Months Before the Trade Show
By this point, you’ve done your research and you’re pretty sure of what you want to present to the trade show visitors and guests, and your audience in particular. Now comes the more direct preparation for the big event:
- Sit down with your team to plan out and prepare your displays such as your booth, your marketing materials, and even the freebies you might want to give out to attract traffic. Then begin the production of these materials.
- Review your products that you’re planning to show off at the trade show, especially if it’s something new. You want to make sure it puts on a good show, after all!
- Plan on who will make up your onsite team for the trade show and if you should order any uniforms for them.
- Is your trade show going to be quite a distance away? Start deciding on what shipping and storage services you may need to ensure that all your display materials and giveaways are transported to the event in a safe and timely manner.
- If long-distance, or even international travel, is required—make sure that your trade show team has all their travel documents in order, such as passports.
- Unless you have a dedicated team member who’s good with photography, maybe think about hiring a professional photographer for your trade show booth so that you can show it off on your company’s website and other media.
- Double-check on the creation and construction of your trade show booth displays, handout materials, and anything else that you need for your presentation. The production of these things should be well underway by this point.
- Also, double-check on your hotel reservations and travel tickets if applicable.
- Finally, make sure that your event registration is still good.
Three Months Before the Trade Show
It’s getting close, it almost feels like the trade show is already upon you, but you still have some time to check on everything. These last few months will be the most crucial, to ensure that everything goes as planned—or as best as possibly planned! Here’s what you should be doing during these final months:
- Double-check on all the shipping, storage, and assembly for your display booth materials. You’ll want to make sure the dates are all correct so that your trade show booth and all associated materials are transported and assembled on time.
- Make sure all your displays, marketing, and giveaway materials are ready to go!
- Confirm that all your payments are in order for whatever vendors and logistics you’re working with.
- Check to make sure that travel expenses have been properly sorted out, and that your team is fully aware of how travel expenses will be covered and/or handled. You might be using a corporate credit card, or maybe you’ll have your team reimbursed, this should be communicated clearly to the team.
- You should be spending these months to get your trade show onsite team ready. Make sure your team is trained on whatever questions they should be able to answer regarding your company, your products, and your company’s services. If there’s sales or leads to be made, train your team on their sales pitches and strategies. A trade show is more than just showing off your company’s stuff—there’s always opportunity to make business and connections!
The Trade Show: Time for the Big Event!
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the trade show itself! Now, simply follow through with your plans, interact with visitors to your booth, and be sure to keep your trade show team happy. Be sure to safely keep what info you get from sales or from potential leads as the event goes on, but also try to gauge how your trade show booth is impressing the crowd so that you can aim even higher next time.
Should your trade show include a live presentation, a sales meeting, or any kind of extra public speaking event—be sure to make preparations for it just like you did for the main trade show. Prepare, research, and practice. But along with your trade show booth, whatever extra presentation you give, be sure to collect what info you can at the end to learn of your audience, their thoughts, and how you can approach them for even greater effect next year.
Transport Your Trade Show Materials with Reliable Couriers
You’ve worked hard to put together your various flyers, brochures, giveaways, and of course, your trade show booth displays—but getting them to their destination can be a challenge of its own. With the help of Reliable Couriers’ 24/7 same day delivery services, transportation logistics can be a cinch. Our trade show delivery services is fully equipped with a fleet of sedans, cargo vans, box trucks with lift gates, and freight trucks—no matter how big your trade show booth materials may be, we can get them moving swiftly and safely, so that you’ll have the maximum prep time possible. You’ll also have the convenience of GPS-powered real-time tracking and delivery confirmation, so that you’ll know precisely when it’s time to get to assembling your booth and putting on the greatest show. Give us a call at 888-415-1781 or visit our website at ReliableCouriers.com to learn more about how Reliable Couriers can help you be the best prepared by keeping your trade show materials shipping on time.