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Trade Show Checklist: The Ultimate Expo Planning Guide

Having a comprehensive trade show checklist is a critical first step in having a successful trade show. Creating one requires thinking through everything you need as part of an expo planning guide.

Trade Show Checklist

It’s not difficult once you put it all down. But knowing what to put down in the first place is key to creating a great trade show checklist. Consider these following ideas. They are presented as suggestions for the months leading up to the expo.

Trade Show Checklist: The Ultimate Expo Planning Guide | 6 Month Plan

Six Months Before Show

Write down the overall goals for the trade show. What do you hope to accomplish at this trade show? Examples include focusing on a new product or making “X” number of new contacts. In some cases, you might have several goals, but there should be one that takes the highest priority.

Five Months Before Show

Budget. Set a strict limit on what you will spend on the trade show. The budget and the overall goals are what will guide your expo planning guide.

Evaluate booth. Is your trade show booth where it needs to be to achieve the goals you’ve set? Here’s where you need to evaluate your booth and see if you need to make any changes. Don’t spend money here, though, if it’s fine as is.

Four Months Before Show

Research Options. What else will be part of your trade show booth presentation? Do you want to add trade show game rentals? There are many choices that can liven up your trade booth and draw more people.

Three Months Before Show

Research the site. It’s important to know, in detail, the layout for the trade show. This is sometimes available online at this point. Check out where your booth will be and, more importantly, find out if you have the option to upgrade your booth’s location.

Decide on promotions. This is where you tap into your overall goals. Which product or service do you want to promote? You’ll want to create your promotional items around these themes, which can include flags, banner stands, banners and tablecloths. Any giveaway items also need to be included on this list. You’ll want to brand every item with your logo.

Order promotion items. Once you’ve decided what you want, go ahead and order them. That way, you can send out items before the show to trade show attendees if you want.

Assign booth literature. Whoever is writing the information for the brochures you will hand out needs to be assigned at this point. You want to get that copy early so you can make any changes.

Two Months Before Show

Booth literature. Finish up the booth literature by getting it printed. This is important to do now, as it may take up to a month to get it done properly.

Choose staff. Pick the people who will go to the trade show. Also, order any branded clothing you will need for the show for each staffer.

Flights and hotels. Get all your arrangements made for flights and hotel rooms for every member of the staff.

One Month Before Show

Promotional items. You will have these back by now. Check for any errors and then send them out if that is part of your plan.

Check booth literature. Now is the time to check for any errors that might need correcting.

Train staff. Give the proper training to the staff members so they will go into the trade show confident and prepared to succeed at their specific task.

Now, you can go into the show much more relaxed, knowing you have done everything you needed to do and followed smart trade show tips.

After the show is over, go back over everything you did on your trade show checklist. You’ll also want to make sure you stayed within budget and accomplished your goals. Make any changes needed for the next show. Being prepared is a continuous process.

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