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The Ultimate Trade Show Checklist

If you’re planning a trade show booth for your business, you’ll want to come prepared. There are so many details and moving parts to account for, how do you keep everything under control? This is why you need the ultimate trade show checklist.

Make sure you have everything you need to achieve the most successful trade show booth. When it comes to large events, you need to make sure your business stands out in a good way. This trade show checklist has everything you need, so let’s get started.

Why Prepare Early?

First, you might be wondering why you need to do so much preparation for your trade show. No matter the size of the show, you want to make sure you’re ready for anything.

Trade shows are a great opportunity to generate awareness, network, and land big deals. However, you’ll also need the right tools to succeed.

Things like design, marketing materials, informative prints, signage, and extras are must-haves, and it takes time to gather all of these moving parts. The earlier you can start your planning, the better.

1 Year Before the Trade Show

While it’s not always possible to start preparing over a year in advance, you want to give yourself as much time as possible. Not only do many trade shows have deadlines, but you’ll also want to make sure you have all the time you need to complete everything on this trade show checklist.

To begin, start at least 6 months to a year in advance with these tasks:

  1. Book your booth space (earlier is better to get the best price).

  2. Review all paperwork (insurance requirements, forms, payments…).

  3. Outline your trade show budget.

  4. Plan your goals for this tradeshow.

8-6 Months Before Your Trade Show

The next step on the ultimate trade show checklist begins at the 8 to 6-month mark. This is when you need to begin your in-depth planning and gathering needed supplies.

  1. Determine your trade show marketing strategy.

  2. What audience are you targeting?

  3. Create a design plan. (A reported 70% of trade show exhibits have no clear design goals)

  4. Review other successful trade show exhibits for inspiration and design tips.

6-4 Months Before Your Trade Show

At the 6-month mark, things start getting serious. This is when you need to collect your designs, materials, and any additional tools/settings you’ll need to create a successful exhibit.

  1. Prepare any new products or services to be ready by the exhibit date.

  2. Choose your team for this trade show.

  3. Finalize your trade show design and connect with your print service.

  4. Research competitors who are attending.

  5. Reach out to attendees and begin booking appointments.

  6. Start marketing your appearance on social media.

  7. Confirm travel details.

2-1 Months Before Your Trade Show

It’s crunch time. In the final weeks before your trade show, you’ll want to finalize everything and get as organized as possible. This is when anxiety can set in, especially if you haven’t done enough to prepare in advance.

Make sure you have all of these things ready before you hit 4 weeks out:

  1. Learn your elevator pitch and teach it to your team.

  2. Prepare for common questions.

  3. Gather office supplies (pens, paper, multitools…).

  4. Bring cleaning items (hand sanitizer, hand wipes…).

  5. Get the final prints for your business cards, signage, and banners.

  6. Pack snacks, water, and other trade show must-haves.

Is Your Business Trade Show Ready?

This might sound like a long checklist, but it’s important to prepare for anything. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to handle questions, last-minute problems, and other inevitables.

A trade show is a great way to get the word out for your business, especially small businesses. That being said, you’ll need to come prepared with everything on this trade show checklist if you want to be taken seriously.

There’s nothing worse than showing up at a professional event unprepared. If you have the right design, professional signage, and mindset, you’ll be ready for anything.

#printing #smallbusiness #tradeshow

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