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Trade Show Checklist: Attending vs. Hosting

The importance of face-to-face marketing cannot be understated in this day and age, especially when taking into account the fact that the online marketplace is ready to surpass the retail environment in terms of global revenue. Therefore, small business owners from the world over are starting to circumvent the fervent online competition by engaging in more traditional forms of advertising such as trade show marketing.

Feel free to use this brief article as an introductory guide to understanding the nature of today’s trade shows, namely with regards to attending a show versus hosting your own exhibition stand.

Preparing to Host a Trade Show

If you decide to reserve a booth at a trade show, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re signing up for. In its simplest sense, your exhibition booth represents an incredible platform to increase your brand’s exposure and garner valuable leads that would have otherwise remained obscured. Therefore, you have to approach the planning process with a sales-oriented frame of mind, which will help you make the most of each opportunity during the actual show. If you’ve documented a few reputable trade shows in your proximity, feel free to use the checklist below to help you prepare for the big day

  • Contact the Trade Show Organisers:   


Many trade shows allow you to reserve a booth section online, but it’s important to reach out to the event organisers by way of a phone call or an in-person appointment as well. With a simple meeting or phone call, you’ll be able to garner valuable information such as the attendance estimates, demographic breakdowns, and specific event schedules, all of which will help you and your team establish a viable plan of attack before the big day rolls around. You’ll also learn about the on-site security, evening cleaning protocols, and any neighbouring booths that might cause noise problems or other issues. 

  • Fit Your Booth 

Fit Your Booth


From eye-catching light displays and in-person speakers to modernised flat screen TVs and dynamic digital signage, there is a seemingly infinite number of trimmings and implements with which you can bolster your exhibition stand. However, focusing on your actual content is much more important, as it will allow you to establish meaningful connections with consumers beyond a simple, “Hello.” Whether you wish to employ retractable banners, table-top displays, or tri-fold boards, you have to ensure that each facet of your marketing approach is succinctly related to your company’s services and history. Therefore, your printed materials, distributable gadgets, signage, and even your staff’s uniforms should all portray a like minded image.  

  • Develop Relevant Content:

Develop Relevant Content

If you wish to reinforce a consistent theme across all forms of advertisement without tearing a hole in your company budget, you’ll be best served by repurposing any existing marketable content from your company’s database. You can reuse your existing blog posts, articles, and social media initiatives to create a brand-new spin on existing information for the trade show. Regardless of whether you want to invite certain clients to an exclusive event, offer coupons, or increase foot traffic to your website, you can use infographics, posters, and brochures to relay information through the proper channels.

Preparing to Attend a Tradeshow

If you’re planning on attending a tradeshow with your significant other just to casually stroll around and collect free trinkets, feel free to ignore this section. However, if you’re wanting to build upon your network of leads and push your company’s brand exposure to the next level, there are a few tips you can use to make the most of your next trip to a trade show:

  • Establish a Goal:

Establish a Goal

Although cavorting around a lively trade show is pretty fun and amusing in its own right, it’s important to identify a feasible goal long before you walk through the doors of the event centre. Are you trying to learn more about your fiercest competitors? Do you wish to collect qualified leads? Are you looking for new advertising ideas and concepts? Make sure you outline your objectives!

  • Network:

NetworkTalk to people! If you see an eye-popping exhibition stand or happen to hear the speech of an incredible speaker, be sure to take a pause for the cause and open up a two-way dialogue with the individual.

  • Document the Best Contacts:

Document the Best Contacts

As you peruse the facility, you have to remember to grab the business cards of the most influential people, or at the very least record their name and company for future reference. After all, there’s nothing worse than having an enriching discussion with someone only to forget to ask for his or her contact information.

  • Follow-up:


After the event, you’ll probably have a decent list of contacts and leads at your disposal. If you want to make the most of your time spent at the trade show, be sure to reach out to the most intriguing individuals sooner rather than later. Sending out a brief, professional e-mail is a great way to establish a post-event channel of communication without coming across as overbearing or needy.