Trade Show 101: Marketing Tips for First-Time Exhibitors

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Trade Show 101

Exhibiting at your first trade show can feel a lot like the first day of high school.

The bell rings, everyone else seems to know where they’re going, and you’re not even sure you’re in the right building.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you’re a small company at a big show.

As soon as you register for an event or sign a contract to exhibit, the mountain of tasks looms – from booking your travel and designing your booth to planning your marketing and sales strategies.

Your palms start to sweat as you wonder if (and how) it will all get done. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help navigate the chaos.

Follow these tips and you’ll get everything done – all before your first class.

The early bird gets much more than a worm.

It’s important to register as early as possible for a trade show. You’ll not just cut down on stress, you may also cut down on costs.

The sooner you start planning, the more likely you can take advantage of early bird discounts. The money you save here can then be directed into other show expenses.

After you’ve booked an event, make a note of all the deadlines you need to adhere to and set calendar reminders. Some show organizers will even provide an exhibitor checklist that recommends when different tasks should be completed.

Read every email and do your homework. 

After you register for a show, the emails will start rolling into your inbox. Event organizers often partner with outside vendors to provide free or discounted offers – like special hotel rates, coupons for area restaurants, free promotion opportunities, and more.

Don’t necessarily judge these emails by their subject line. Although some may seem like an unrelated sales pitch, they could be of value to your company.  Take a look before moving them to the trash bin and remember to check your spam folder so you don’t miss any important deadline reminders.

You can also contact the event organizer to ask whether they are offering any pre-show webinars for exhibitors.

Larger shows with a lot of moving parts will often host informational sessions to ensure exhibitors have everything they need. Look for a webinar schedule and ask your show contact whether an archived recording will be available if you can’t attend.

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