Trade shows are back!
Are you getting ready for your next show?
Whether it’s your first-time exhibiting or you are a seasoned pro, it’s important to ensure you have everything covered to make the most of your investment and have as few surprises as possible.
When it comes to significant events like trade shows, there are many moving parts for your booth and critical factors to consider. We’ve got you covered in this checklist, from planning your booth design to packing up at the end of the show!
As you check out the list we created, we understand you may have some things we didn’t mention. We love engaging with our readers and appreciate your honest feedback. Leave us a comment with some of the items on your trade show checklist.
Use this trade show checklist when planning your next trade show.
- Set a budget and timeline.
Every project needs a budget and timeline. This will allow you to know exactly what’s feasible before planning. Be sure to factor in costs for travel, trade show booth production, installation & dismantle, drayage, and shipping. Talk with your vendors and create a work back schedule from the day of booth set up and start planning!
- Create a measurable goal.
Think about what you’re trying to achieve at the show. Is it brand awareness? Lead generation? Or closing deals your team has been working on? It’s all about defining the goal and working backward from there for your trade show booth strategy.
Make sure to collaborate with your sales and marketing team and understand the purpose of showing up to the show.
- Find the right show and pick your booth space.
A crucial part of exhibiting is finding the right show. Make sure you do your research before signing up. Talk to the show’s sales team, check the exhibitor list of companies attending, talk with industry colleagues, and engage on LinkedIn posts.
A well-thought-out booth space choice can help you meet your goals. You need to be in the right spot to get the most exposure and effectively interact with your target audience.
- Plan your travel.
Airfare, hotel, transportation, meals, and entertainment are part of trade show traveling. Book as early as possible and get this checked off your list so you can devote more time to your booth production and trade show graphics.
- Pre-show marketing.
In the weeks leading up to the show, you need to start reaching out to potential booth visitors. Email marketing and social media are great for getting the word out. Give your prospects and customers a compelling reason why they need to stop by your booth.
You may also want to look at the sponsorship opportunities at the show to further your reach.
- Build your team.
Whether it’s bringing in someone from the outside or having internal staff, having additional hands-on-deck can be invaluable during the planning and the show floor.
- Choose your trade show booth design.
With so much investment going into your trade show booth design, you need to get it right. Research the latest trends, use a color palette that is on brand, keep the booth messaging simple, and work with an experienced trade show exhibit house to help design your space. This will help earn the trust of attendees at the show.
Consider choosing a modular system if you plan on doing multiple shows at different booth sizes. A modular trade show booth system will allow you to reconfigure your booth design with ease.
We have a few friends in the industry, so let us know if you would like a list of our recommended booth builders.
- Get your trade show graphics designed.
Once the booth structure is approved, it’s time for your graphics team to start laying out the creative for the booth graphics. Be sure to ask the booth designer for graphic templates. If color matching is critical, ask your graphics provider for printed proofs.
This is where DVC steps in. We have supported the tradeshow industry for many years. We’ve printed high-quality trade show booth graphics for a diverse range of startups as well as fortune 500 brands. We understand that your tradeshow graphics, in combination with the booth design, is what will attract visitors to your space. But no matter who you choose as your print provider, be sure to take advantage of the latest technology found in modern trade show graphics like sustainable, dye-sublimation fabrics and sustainable rigid print substrates.
- Book your installation and dismantle.
If your booth is larger than a 10×10, hiring a professional I&D team will make your life so much easier at the show. You will still need someone from your team to supervise the installation on-site.
- Have your booth staged.
Having your booth staged for a walkthrough is critical. We can’t stress this one enough. If you cannot attend a staging, talk with your booth builder to send photos or hop on a face time call. The last thing you want is to deal with issues on the show floor. This will drive up your costs to have last-minute fixes done at the show.
- Inventory your booth properties and have install instructions handy.
Setting up instructions and a visual guide for graphic placement will help make the installation and dismantle process much smoother. Ask your booth builder and graphics provider for this.
There’s nothing worse than getting to the show and realizing you left some essential items behind. Create an inventory checklist of all booth properties, including miscellaneous items like tools, packaging supplies, giveaways, etc., that will be going to the show.
- Have good giveaways for lead generation.
What good is an amazing-looking booth if nobody stops by? Stand out from other exhibitors with giveaways people actually want. This will help get visitors in your booth for a badge scan.
- Bring comfortable shoes.
Whether you are new to the trade show world or just getting started, wearing comfortable shoes is necessary. Seriously! The odds are high that you will be standing up or walking around most of the day so pack some comfy shoes. Your feet will thank you later.
Keep in mind your booth design will play a large part in whether attendees visit your booth or continue walking past your space. The more exciting and beautiful your booth is, the more likely people will stop by to find out what’s going on.