What are the Key Elements that Make a Trade Show Planning Successful

August 02, 2022

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key elements of trade shows
key elements of trade shows

Planning a successful tradeshow requires goals backed by a plan. An exhibit booth should have a certain wow factor while also providing the attendees with useful information that leaves them intrigued enough to want more. If you are looking for ways to make your exhibit stand out here are some tips to keep in mind when trade show planning.

Why are you here?

The main opportunities for having your company in a tradeshow are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building.  (Source: Skyline Exhibits market research.) Knowing your goals helps you set objectives to meet them. It is too often that a plan is made without a goal in mind. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you should only focus on lead generation if your company hasn’t even established strong brand awareness. Jumping ahead can hurt the long-term success of your business.

Design your exhibit around your goals 

design your exhibit around your goals 

When you have a clear goal in mind, it is important to reflect that in your tradeshow displays. For example, if your company’s goal is to create brand awareness it would be a great idea to make sure you have an area where people can sit or interact with your product or service to learn more about what you do. If you want to work on networking with others, a refreshment booth and comfy seating areas are a nice addition to your setup. Identify what you wish to accomplish with your time at the tradeshow and work towards building an environment that is conducive to meeting your goals.

Promote your company

If no one knows about your upcoming trade show then it won’t be a success. Spread the message across all social media platforms to get the word out. If you want, host a conference beforehand to capture an audience. Even consider an email campaign or phone calls to generate interest. 

Choose the right staff

Picking the right staff is extremely important. If the staff you choose are friendly, helpful, and want to be there it will definitely be noticed by others. Training your staff will help them feel confident and equipped to handle all situations when at the booth. Some things to focus on in training could be booth etiquette, main talking points, lead retrievals, and activities to engage visitors. Make the experience memorable by having a powerhouse staff behind you. 

Pick the right tradeshow and venue 

pick the right tradeshow and venue 

When choosing a booth at a tradeshow it is important to think about the layout of the venue and how organized it seems to be. You want to feel supported and also get the best bang for your buck. If you’re looking at a relatively large venue check to see if they have an indoor positioning system set up. Navigating a large trade show can be overwhelming for guests and oftentimes booths get overlooked because they are not easily found. Decipher where your target audience is most likely to congregate and where your competitors can be found to make a decision on where you should land your next exhibit.

Determine your expenses

When creating a well-thought-out plan, it is important to make sure that your budget allows for all the working parts. Start by gathering all the costs associated with the venue. How much will the space be for your booth? How much will it cost to make your display? Shipping costs of products that you need to design your booth? Consider all aspects including staffing expenses and at-show services. Once you have all the necessary costs accounted for you can eliminate the risk of swimming above your head. 

Design something unique

How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? There is so much overlap these days in what people can offer consumers that it really takes a lot of planning and brainstorming to develop an idea that is unique and will make you stand out from the competition. Make sure that you are conveying your brand message in a compelling way. Thinking outside the box in terms of your display can go a long way in creating a lasting impression. No one wants to walk by a boring booth. Deliver a wow factor that makes people interested in what you have to offer. If you convey your brand’s value proposition in a way that no one else has you are sure to gain the attention of your target audience. 

Draw people in 

Similar to designing a unique experience, you want to offer your ideal audience a reason to stop by and have a conversation. For example, if you’re in the agricultural industry make a display showcasing your new method of sustainable farming. Showcase an organic garden in a greenhouse that people can interact with. Include free refreshments as they wander through the garden and offer a complimentary packet of organic seeds. These little touches go a long way in solidifying your brand image. To get you started with some ideas, here are a few other ways to engage and attract the eyes of passersby: 

  • Product demos
  • A prize wheel 
  • Guided Tours 
  • Interactive Media 
  • A short film 
  • Charging station 
  • Trivia or games

Capture leads efficiently

When it comes to capturing leads at a tradeshow event the sky is the limit to how you decide to do so. Just make sure that everyone on your team has the same method of documenting the leads. This could be through a lead capture form or an application that instantly syncs with your CRM. There are applications that can scan content from business cards, notes, and more just by holding the phone’s camera up to the item. This can speed up the process immensely, digitizing the information and sending it to a running databank of leads. Using a method that is streamlined and modern is a better practice than using archaic methods such as collecting business cards or jotting down contacts with a pen and paper. 

Follow up after the show

It is obvious that there will be a ton of exhibits that gained a lot of attention in one way or another. If your exhibit ends up being one of them, then great! Don’t let all that hard work go to waste because your team didn’t follow up with all the interest your display generated. Ensure there is a system set in place that your team can use to follow up with potential leads. If a follow-up email with information or a thank you note is sent within the first 24 hours after a show, it is more likely that you will hear a response back. 


Participating in a tradeshow is an exciting experience and a great way to increase your customer reach. It helps build great relationships and display your brand and unique value proposition. If you really harness your team’s efforts in making a proper plan prior to the trade show you will see the benefits it provides. Refer back to the above points and make a checklist while planning to make sure everything is accounted for. 

When it comes to preparing for the end of a tradeshow always make sure that you are prepared for the time that immediately follows (the first 24-48 hours) with thank you emails and lead capture forms for potential customers. Reaching out to visitors while the show is fresh in their minds can be the deciding factor for them choosing to use your product or service.

Are you a tradeshow venue?

If you are hosting vendors and need an edge above the rest of the tradeshow venues, consider equipping your building with an indoor navigation system. Mapsted is the only indoor positioning system that doesn’t require hardware, including beacons and Wi-Fi, to achieve a high level of accuracy.

Using an indoor positioning system has benefits for both you and your customers. Attendees can use an indoor digital map of your venue to plan an itinerary for their day. Turn-by-turn directions help with seamless navigation from one exhibit to another. Highlight points of interest and main attractions on the map for attendees to quickly find these areas you are trying to promote. Visualize the flow of traffic within your venue with analytics that include heatmaps and common footpath trajectories. This can help in mitigating overcrowding issues and help with future tradeshow layouts. Supply the attendees of the tradeshow with a digital indoor map of the venue grounds so they don’t miss a single attraction. This is also a huge bonus for vendors that are looking to rent your space as it assures them that the event is well organized. 

Take advantage of location-based message that is timely and contextual. Send personalized welcome messages as attendees enter the tradeshow and show them offers going on throughout the day. This attention to detail will really impress attendees and reflects well on your venue. Vendors will also like this as it promotes their booths and gives them another avenue to gain attention.
Location-intelligence services are a great technology that can help put your tradeshow venue above the rest. Learn more about indoor positioning systems by visiting

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