The first step in planning an event is to define company goals and consider the various forms of events which will help accomplish them. Examples of popular events are: promotional events, webinars, conferences, educational seminars or workshops, marketing events, exhibitions at trade shows or charity events, sponsorships at sporting events, or themed events featuring music or film. These could be one or more of these events plus many more. Company goals might also be to increase company visibility, build brand recognition, drive sales, develop new products or services, or enhance employee relations.

Once company goals have been determined, the next step is to choose the appropriate format for exhibit booths at trade shows or exhibitions. There are several options to consider such as stand-alone booths, kiosks, inflatables, interactive exhibits, pop up displays and modular exhibits. Each exhibit style has advantages and disadvantages. Kiosks and interactive exhibits provide flexible solutions for temporary booth settings while stand-alone booths tend to be more permanent solutions for long-term exhibit usage. Pop up exhibits allow more room for product displays and use of multiple graphics and materials to a modular booth offer more durability and convenience. Inflatables offer the best combination of versatility and durability along with ease of setup, transport and use.

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The design of the booth and related material must adequately convey the desired message to the audience while being easy to navigate. In general, a trade show booth or exhibition floor should be clean, professional looking, and easy to navigate. Pre-show activities such as product demos or hands-on demonstrations to help potential prospects understand what the company can offer. Prospects need to be able to clearly see all of the company’s offerings to choose the products for a new or used product line. A booth should leave attendees with a good feeling about the organization and increase the likelihood that they will attend future events.

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After the booth is set-up, follow-up events and trade show activities to help visitors decide if the company meets their unique needs. Sales leads can also be generated at the event by having sales reps visit potential customers after the show to talk to them face-to-face. Many companies use direct mail and phone advertising to generate new sales leads. Events and trade show activities can also be used to test market a new product line. For example, a sales team may visit a booth offering hiking boots and ask the attendees if they would be interested in buying a new hiking boot.

Finally, your team will only be successful if they are comfortable and happy. After all, they will be spending the majority of their time at the booth. Events and trade shows are a chance for you to meet your target audience face-to-face. If your staff is not happy or comfortable, potential customers may want to move along to another booth.

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You should think of Events and Trade shows as a way to expand your customer base. If your current client base is small, offering trade shows to draw in more potential customers will help you grow your customer base. You may even find that you will have more repeat customers if you attend an event with your current clients. It’s important to be consistent in your message and brand when promoting your brand through events and trade shows. Your attendance will only be as good as the enthusiasm of your attendees.