Event & Trade Show Tips 2024
Latest SF University, ‘Trade Show & Event Trends & Tips 2024’ covers tips on best practices for driving traffic before and during events and trade shows, as well as best practices for following up with event leads and maintaining those relationships. Read our event recap or watch the presentation recording below and don’t forget to print your packing checklist!
Understanding Your Goals
Having clear goals will guide your actions. Define the objectives for attending the trade show or event. Are you looking to generate leads? Are you looking to network? Are you launching a new product?
Research the Event
Research the trade show, especially other exhibitors and the schedule. Research you competition. What are they doing on social media or other platforms prior, during, and post-event? How are they highlighting the event or trade show on their website?
Build an Event Timeline
Create a timeline working backwards from the event date so that you have everything you need before the day of the event including all of your branded promotional items. This will help you identify when you need to order branding, when to begin promotion, and when to start planning. We recommend to begin preparing 6-8 weeks ahead of your event or trade show for a comfortable window of time.
Promote Your Attendance
Take advantage of all the deliverables associated with your sponsorship. Give them your logo for their website and signage promotions, create an ad for their printed programs, get featured in their social posts, setup an attendee profile if applicable, and more. Send out a direct mail piece in advance to your key targets. Send out press releases to local media. Most of all, get a copy of the attendance list if you can. This will allow you to reach out in advance to potential clients or leads you’ve been trying to get in front of or meet with and get that quick meeting, lunches or dinners scheduled. Make the most of your time and ensure you connect with key contacts prior to and after the event or trade show.
Design & Prepare Your Booth
Make sure your booth is visually appealing and tells your brand story. Well branded table cloths, promotional materials, banners, displays and product samples can significantly increase your foot traffic. Include promotional products, literature, and signage that speaks to the attendees, is useful, is eye-catching, can be seen from afar, and speaks to how your product or service is good for the industry. Can you select the booth space? If so – don’t delay. Pick one early that will give you maximum traffic and visibility. Know what the event location includes or is supplying. Do you need to bring a table? What about floor covering?
Pre-Game With Your Team
Make sure you are all speaking to the brand and have consistent messaging. Have the team work on their elevator pitches and practice together. Have answers ready for questions. You want to be that trusted source and speaking with confidence on industry knowledge will help that. Stay informed about industry trends, news, and updates to engage in meaningful conversations with fellow attendees.
Day of the Event
Arrive early. Don’t miss the load-in time and be able to adapt if there is an issue or if you forgot to bring something. Be interactive and make sure the people working your activation are approachable and not sitting down, eating, or on their devices. Have a giveaway or a game. It’s a great reason to get someone’s contact information and acts as a conversation starter and a fun and memorable interaction. Some examples could be a prize wheel, Jenga, or claw machine. Even better if the activity requires them to come back to your booth for a second touchpoint to collect their prize.
Take a three-pronged approach. Do direct follow-ups with people you had direct contact or conversations with and remember to include personalization from notes you took of the conversation. Do indirect follow-ups with people who stopped by your booth and maybe wrote down their contact information for a drawing, but didn’t talk with. And lastly, if you are able to get the event or trade show attendee list, take full advantage and do non-contact follow-ups with everyone who didn’t stop by your booth. Regarding attendee lists, DO NOT fall for spam! If a third party is offering to sell you an event list, do not buy it. It’s bad data. Only ask directly of the event organizers if you can get the list.
Never forget a crucial item for your tradeshow or event setup with this handy packing checklist. Use this guide to help remind your team on what to pack and what branded materials to order prior to your event so your booth is looking top-notch.
Watch the Full Event Recording
Watch the full event recording below for additional trends and tips on trade shows and events by presenters Donna Hecke, Client Services Director and Bobby Cardoni, Director of Business Development as well as some Q&As from the audience.