Preparing for Trade Shows and Exhibitions

Trade fairs and expos are a great way to showcase your products and services, and to take a look at what the competition is up to.

Any marketing strategy involves driving traffic to the brand, so an event where the audience sign themselves up to attend can be a valuable start to brand awareness. Let the visitors know who and what you are by making your brand as visual as possible. Keep in mind though, every other exhibitor in the room has their eyes on the same prize, which makes it makes it harder to stand out for the right reasons.

Plan ahead with our tips and tricks to get the most out of a business expo event.

Know what you’ve booked

It’s important to know exactly what’s included in the booking because it makes a big difference to what sort of kit to take with you.

Not all expo organisers provide electricity points, lighting, or even walls as standard. Most of the time the basic package is for floor space, with everything else being an optional extra. Some organisers have furniture that you can rent, or you will have to rent/buy your own to take. Important if you’re planning to take a TV display screen, but have nowhere to put it, or plug it in!

Before the event

Part of any brand boosting conference is taking a look at the visitor and event list. Map who and what you want to see whilst you’re there, and shout about your stand number to anyone you particularly want to visit.

Leave plenty of time to get all of your promo kit designed and produced, and try to plan out what will work best. For example, if you’re taking tables and want to hide boxes out of sight underneath, a branded tablecloth might be just the ticket.

Conference graphics can be shown off on just about any sort of floor sticker, roller banner, flag or sign that you can think of. You want to stand out from a distance, but also be visible if there are a lot of people attending, blocking out carefully produced graphics. There’s a remarkable array of options for any budget, which can be used to grab attention in even a crowded space.

What to take for the behind-the-scenes stuff

If you usually work at a desk and then try working away from it for the day, you’ll suddenly realise just how much stuff you use, without even realising it. Before you even get to the branded bits of your expo kit, spare a thought for set-up and comfort.

  • Pens
  • Paper
  • Zip-ties
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Elastic bands
  • Stapler
  • Pins
  • A decent camera, or phone, for taking pictures


What to take for the front-of-house

This list is much more subjective, and depends very much on what your brand is about, and the type of event that it is.

Show the show who the experts are

Ideally every member of the team will have something branded about their person, so that visitors can pick them out as the person to speak to. A lanyard, clothing, or name badge will help reinforce their image as a trusted and knowledgeable person of the brand.

Data capture

People who stop by might not want to sign up there and then, so recording their details for future follow up is essential. Remember your GDPR obligations though!  

Some organisers’ barcode the visitors’ passes, and will provide scanners for exhibitors to scan and collect contact details. Otherwise, a tablet or laptop, a visitor card for them to fill in, or even just a notebook will do the job.

Branded handouts to remind them who you are

Having something they can take away with them helps visitors remember who you are, and reinforces your message.

Brochures, post cards, flyers, folders, the list is endless, and they’re all available in mind-boggling variety. Typically the print stuff is used to write up the product or service in more detail, along with contact details.

Think outside the box about what else would work with your brand. Branded bags are brilliant because they act like a free advertising banner being carried around the expo hall. Stationery, or novelty items like stress balls, carry branding to keep you in the customer’s consciousness. Everyone likes a freebie, so giving out a good one with your name on it makes for powerful brand awareness.

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