Trade Show Time Line for Beginners
6-12 months before show – Reserve Booth Space, Create a Marketing Plan
- Register and reserve a booth space with the event sponsor and request full details on exhibit requirements.
- Develop a trade show marketing plan that uses a mix of promotional methods to reach prospects.
- Forecast your return on investment.
5-8 months before show – Plan, Budget, Estimate
- Pinpoint the part trade shows will serve, as part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.
- Develop a detailed trade show budget.
- Determine the literature and marketing materials you will need at the show – and begin design and printing work.
4-6 months before show – Select an Exhibit House, Develop a Sales Message
- Determine your exhibit design, lighting, layout and graphics needs.
- Write your 30 Second Sales Message
- Launch pre-show marketing initiatives.
3-4 months before show – Schedule, Order, Arrange
- Make travel arrangements, including airfare, hotel and car rental reservations
- Order your giveaways and promotional items.
- Settle on staffing requirements, develop booth schedules, and plan training sessions.
1-3 months before show – Count down
- Put together follow-up packets to send immediately after show to leads
- Schedule staff training.
- Schedule dinners or other meetings to be held at the show with prospects, distributors and/or customers.
1 week before show – This is It!
- Complete staff training.
- Confirm shipping arrival dates for your booth display, promotional items and materials.
- Double check that all action steps on timeline have been covered.
1-7 days after show – Follow-up Activities
- Analyze leads, send follow-up packets, and make contact as appropriate.
- Evaluate success of trade show participation compared with objectives from your trade show plan.
- Review your budget compared to your actual expenses for the show. Determine your return on investment.
12 Months before next show – Schedule, Make Recommendations, Prepare
- Make recommendation whether to participate in the same trade show next year.
- Include suggested changes, enhancements, and other trade show ideas.
- Schedule exhibit space – it’s your chance for the best!