For almost every industry, trade shows are wonderful opportunities for companies big or small to market their brand, showcase products, network with fellow industry partners, and interact with customers or prospective clients directly. Involving a large attendance from both exhibiting vendors and attendees, trade shows are large-scale events that require meticulous planning and coordination. Here’s 5 do’s and don’ts for planning a trade show to help you out in managing the event!
Do: Secure a convenient location in advance
Marina Bay Sands is a popular venue in Singapore for trade shows / Source
It may sound like a timeworn phrase, for location is everything! For a venue that is expected to house a large number of both exhibitors and attendees, it is important to secure the booking beforehand to avoid mishaps — imaging how difficult it would be to book a sizeable location last minute. Also, a convenient and strategic location is of utmost importance, especially if you will be having industry professionals flying in for your event. A convenient and easily located venue will boost your attendance and allow attendees to commute and find their way to the trade show without any hassle.
Don’t: Underestimate the space needed for each booth
A spacious trade show booth with interactive displays / Source
While the prospect of having many booths in participation sounds attractive for your event, overcrowding compromises the event experience for both your exhibitors and attendees. In fact, floor space can be used an incentive to encourage participation from companies, so be sure to ration enough space for each booth. As the needs of each booth and how they would like to exhibit their products or services will be different, check with participating companies to confirm the amount of space required. Also, take note to leave enough room for attendees to move around without getting caught in human traffic.
Do: Provide food, beverages and entertainment
Finger food is a convenient alternative that enables easy handling / Source
Food and beverages are integral to every event experience, especially after your attendees have spent a considerable amount of time walking around and talking. It is also considerate to provide catering for staff in participating booths, who do not have the luxury of leaving their placements for meals. Buffets or sandwiches are especially convenient and offer flexibility to have food on the go. Entertainment is also an important aspect today, with companies investing in popular acts and multimedia resources to keep attendees hyped and interested in the event. Employing relevant entertainment will also help you in drawing your target audience to the event.
Don’t: Overspend your marketing budget
Keep a tight rein on your budget and avoid wastiing it on unlikely audiences / Source
While advertising and marketing are crucial and ensure attendance at your event, you’re going to want to make the most of your budget. Make sure you don’t waste resources promoting to audiences who are irrelevant or disinterested in your event! Consider your target audience, their behaviors, and plan your marketing strategy around them. Through which medium are you more likely to generate interest and response for your event? Is it through social media or out-of-home advertising? While it may seem tempting to market the event to a wide audience to encourage high participation rates, there is no point in attracting people who are unlikely to convert into leads for your participating booths. A low ROI for these companies will translate into low participation for your next trade show.
Do: Follow up after your event
Always remember to follow up and thank both exhibitors and attendees who made your event a success! / Source
As with every event, it is essential to follow up at the end of your trade show with your vendors and attendees. This helps to build a positive relationship between your company and its industry partners, and sets you up with a list of potential sponsors, participants, and attendees for your next event. Offer your thanks to all involved parties for the success of the trade show and ask for feedback so you can evaluate the event experience and work on improving the subsequent one!
While the size of each trade show may differ due to the nature of different industries, it doesn’t change the fact that lots of attention and careful planning has to be done to ensure a smooth-running event. A trade show involves both vendors, who are eager to showcase their services and interact directly with prospective customers, and attendees, who are visiting to meet with partners and learn more about what is available on the market that best suits their needs. Thus, it is essential to craft a satisfactory experience that will bridge both parties in order to organize a successful trade show!