There’s lots of organising to do when it comes to putting together your knock-out exhibition stand.
It can take months of planning for just one or two show days, so to help you avoid missing any elements we’ve put together this handy timeline and checklist for you:
- Up to 1 year before the show – Research which exhibition suits your company best. There may be several trade exhibitions within your sector, but they’ll differ very slightly in important ways, so make sure you read the visitor and exhibitor profiles available through the event’s sales brochures and website to ensure you choose the best platform from which to market your company.
- Up to 1 year before the show – Part of deciding which exhibition to attend may include considering the price of exhibiting at each. At this point put together your budget for the exhibition to make sure you make the most of early-bird discount offers.
- 6 months – 1 year before the show – Book your exhibition stand with the organiser of the event. There may be several packages on offer, so consult your budget and establish whether it’s better to order through the organiser or whether there are better-priced deals out there.
- Up to 6 months before the show – Consult your exhibitor manual for further deadlines noted by the exhibition organiser, for instance purchasing electricity and internet for your stand and entering your company profile into the visitor guide.
- 4-6 months before the show – Start promoting your appearance at the event, especially if you have international clientele, you’ll want to give plenty of notice for your visitors to arrange their transport to the exhibition. Consider the timing of social media campaigns, physical invites, press releases and other promotional tactics.
- 3-4 months before the show – Use your carefully considered budget to start designing your exhibition stand. There may be several design changes you want to make before the final plans are set in stone and paid for so organising this element earlier is always better.
- Up to 3 months before the show – Book stand equipment and extra hire and purchase items for your exhibition stand. Consider what you want to offer to your visitors – video footage played on a loop will require hire of a TV screen, a comfortable area to sit with your guests will require hire of lounge seating – then book these elements to reserve stock, as it can run low in the month before the exhibition.
- 3 – 4 weeks before the show – Design and submit artwork for any branded or graphics elements to your exhibition stand. Most printers have a two week lead time, so you’ll want to leave at least one extra week for any formatting corrections and proofing the final artwork.
- 2 – 4 weeks before the show – Work on your sales pitch with your company reps chosen for the show. Make sure all are trained on the best practice for exhibitions and that everyone knows how to attract visitors to your stand.
- In the days before the event – Arrive nice and early to set up your stand so you’re not in a rush on opening morning and missing potential customers once the show opens.
- Up to 1 week after the event – follow up with all your accrued leads with a ‘thank you for visiting’ email. Prioritise speaking with the warmest leads and most enthusiastic visitors first, but be sure to follow up with all visitors to your stand as you can’t know who has grown more interested in your company and pitch over time.
- Up to 1 month after the event – Sit down with your representatives to evaluate the success of the exhibition. Consider whether your goals were met, the projected and actual ROI, then make note of areas of improvement for your next exhibition.