If you’ve ever attended an exhibition or trade show before, you’ll know that an event of that standard takes a LOT of planning and preparation. There are so many elements of an exhibition to think about, and even when you think you’ve covered all bases, something is bound to crop up.
It’s best to start thinking of your exhibition tactics and planning as early on as possible, else you could risk forgetting essential items or equipment and end up letting the whole impression, pitch or team down.
That’s why we’ve created an exhibition countdown just for you, to help you plan and prep in advance before the big day comes.
As Early as Possible
This is where you need to note down and shortlist the exhibitions you want to be attending. It may only be one a year, or it may be multiple, but different venues make for different preparation, for example travel and overnight accommodation costs!
You’ll want to make sure exhibitions are relevant to either your industry or opportunities your company are looking to branch out to, and that they’re also an appropriate size/capacity for the budget your business has. It’s all very well setting your sights on a huge convention in the US, for example, when your budget it better suited to a UK city exhibition.
Pinpoint and whittle down to your top exhibitions, and as soon as registration is open, book your space so you can choose the best stand, and begin your planning for definite.
1 Year- 6 Months in Advance
In the process of planning, the first thing you’ll want to clearly define is a detailed budget and a breakdown of where these costs will be going.
Exhibitions can cost a lot, so you need to determine how much you’re willing to spend in comparison to how many leads you pick up and how many of these people become paying customers.
It’s only after you’ve established this that your real planning can start.
At this point you should also book your booth if you haven’t already and decide which staff members you wish to bring along to ensure they’re available, and to book travel and accommodation for the event if this is necessary.
3 Months in Advance
This is the point at which you’ll want to have a relatively clear idea of the layout and content for your stand, and order any equipment you might need for this. This could include, posters, banners, lighting, audio equipment and even furniture.
Your print materials are also important to have and placing designs and orders for these around this stage is advised, you don’t want to leave it too late if there are any issues or hold ups!
Finally, here, you’ll want to sort out a strategy. Here, we’re talking goals and targets you need to meet at the exhibition, planning your marketing, data capture and follow up, and preparing a script to ensure other members of your staffing team can learn this by heart before the big day.
1 Month in Advance
It’s promotion time! Make your presence known on social media, this is one of the best ways to begin to stir up a buzz about your company and your attendance at the exhibition.
Create your own hashtag or ensure you use the ones the exhibition organisers provide, this will get your social content out there to the right people, i.e. those following the exhibition and potentially attending.
You’ll need to make your final orders at this date – you really can’t be leaving it any longer in case of delays or issues with delivery, and nobody wants to be left without their key items on exhibition day! Whether it’s printing flyers or designing a uniform, you’ll definitely not want to leave this until last minute.
If you’re holding a competition, decide on your prize and purchase this. A top tip here, don’t just buy a bottle of bubbly, this can look like you don’t care, really make your prize relevant and appealing to those who are taking an interest in what you do.
2 Weeks in Advance
Double check all your details here, refer to the exhibition manual that is often provided at events like these to ensure you’re following all of the guidelines, and to give yourself time to rethink your strategy in case something isn’t allowed.
Begin to organise and pack what you can and create a plan for the day, so everybody knows where to be, when by, and what to do when they arrive.
1 Week in Advance
Continue to organise and group your belongings, and gather your essentials – stationery, extension leads, and all of your other necessities. Think of everything you might need here, and double check it’s in your exhibition bag.
Make an action plan too – in case anything is to go wrong, you can prepare for a number of situations.
1 Day in Advance
Pack the final items, have a final run through your goals, scripts and your day plan, and ensure everyone knows their responsibilities for tomorrow.
Other than this, be sure to have a good night’s sleep so you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day!
On the Big Day
Relax – or try to! Whilst we all know some events can be nerve wracking and you want your efforts to pay off, if you’ve planned far enough in advance then this is sure to happen and there’s nothing more you can do.
Some final things to think about on the day – perhaps pop into a shop on your way to the exhibition and pick up some snacks, water and mints – these are bound to be needed to keep you going through the long day!
For more help with your exhibition planning or to find your perfect stand, explore the options we have available here.