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Your Trade Show Checklist to Get the New Year Started Right

November 26, 2019

Feeling like there’s a little… or maybe a lot of room for improvement in your trade show efforts for the upcoming year? Trade shows are an ever-evolving challenge that requires consistent improvements and changes as your business grows. So even if you found quite a bit of success in your last year of exhibiting, there’s naturally going to be a need for changes to support your business’s growth. Below is some insight for both struggling exhibitors and excelling exhibitors on the best practices for ensuring that next year’s trade show plans are kicked into gear on the right foot. 

For The ‘Room for Improvement’ Exhibitor

So, you feel like things could have definitely gone better in terms of your past year’s trade show outcome. For any exhibitor, there are always things that can be tweaked and improved. Sometimes these things are not that big of a change, but they can make a HUGE impact on your results. Knowing what to analyze from your past exhibiting experience will help you figure out what these changes need to be moving forward.


Give yourself enough time to prepare for each show.

Although it seems early, trade show planning can begin nearly a year out to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start designing your booth graphics or marketing on social media for your upcoming shows at this time, it does mean that the gears should start turning.


Find better trade shows

There are countless shows a year, likely suited for your industry. Consider the fact that you could be exhibiting at the wrong shows and do some research on trade shows that performed well in the past. Many sites share statistics on their exhibitors’ outcomes. If you find that some are producing better results for its exhibitors, you may need to convince your organization leaders that there are more fitting trade show options for your company. Here’s a great list of tips for finding out which trade shows are worth your investment.

Expand your budget  

You may also need to convince your organization leaders that your trade show budget could use some expansion to produce a greater ROI. Creating more of an experience in your booth is an effective way to improve your booth, but it does come with added expenses. Deciding on a budget increase can take some time, so thinking about these things a year out from your targeted shows will give you time for decision making.


Make your goals more specific.

Part of the reason you may not have had the greatest ROI could be because you didn’t know what you were aiming for. Create a clear plan to reach your expected ROI, including objectives such as product sales, leads generated, booth traffic, etc.


Change your marketing message

Do some reflecting on the way you marketed your company leading up to and during your past trade shows. Was it consistent and clear? Think of it from your audience’s point of view and decide what you can do to make next year’s marketing message a more specific and effective one that entices your market.

Upgrade your exhibit

If you’ve been using the same booth for years, chances are it’s time for an upgrade. Whether that be your graphics so that they fit your current marketing goals, your booth size so that it can hold more booth guests without feeling crowded, or a new layout to show off more of what your company can do, a new booth display is a great solution. Skyline offers exhibit design solutions, unique display types and custom options that fit your brand. Reach out for a quote so you can start kicking things into gear! 


Train your booth staff better

Your booth staff should have the right mindset going into an event. A friendly demeanor and knowledge of your business aren’t going to cut it if you want your entire booth staff to be successful. There are many traits that staffers need to make exhibiting efforts a success. Here are 7 must-have traits needed in a booth staffer. If some of these things are unteachable to some of your staff, you may need to consider finding more suited candidates for the job.

For The ‘Growing’ Exhibitor 

If you skipped to this section, you must have had a great year of exhibiting! That means you’ll likely need to grow in certain areas to stay aligned with the growth your company is experiencing. Here are a few things to watch out for moving forward.


Look for areas of improvement

Even if you far exceeded your expected ROI in the last year of exhibiting, there is always room for some fine-tuning to make your trade show efforts even better. Take a look at the tips listed above. It’s not likely that all of these will apply to you completely, but some may on a smaller level. Maybe you have an amazing booth staff, but one person on the team that doesn’t quite fit the bill. Or maybe there are trade shows that you haven’t looked into yet that can get you exposure to more of the right people.


Increase your booth size

If you’ve seen amazing results in the past year, your company is only going to continue growing. With this growth, it may be time for a larger booth. As more people become aware of who you are, they will feel inclined to see what you’re all about at the next trade show. It’s very important that you’re able to keep up with the traffic in your booth. Come prepared with an open concept exhibit that allows for plenty of great conversations and an experience that attendees will remember. If you’re debating an upgrade in booth size, here are a few tips on choosing the right booth display for your trade show goals.


Capitalize on the relationships you’re making

Since you’ve seen so much success stemming from your exhibiting efforts, then you’re likely making some sales! Make the most of these sales by continuing to grow relationships with these new and repeat buyers. Solidify your follow up strategy with them to keep the conversation going. Continuing to provide value and build trust will keep you at the top of their mind when they’re making buying decisions. Here are four reasons to keep the conversation going after a trade show, as well as four different strategies you can use.


Whether you’re looking to progress from your last year of exhibiting, or need to keep up with your business’s growth, Skyline Exhibits Chicago can help.

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