Tradeshow 101

It’s the time of the season for… tradeshows. Not exactly as sentimental as what The Zombies were singing about, but important, nonetheless.

As annual budgets roll out and your firm decides which conferences to attend, it’s essential to make every dollar count and ensure you’re fully prepared for a tradeshow success.

Let’s take a look at 5 steps to ensure your tradeshow ventures are meaningful and memorable in a good way.

Step 1: Take Inventory

We know you’ve just recovered from sending gifts to clients and prospects, but nailing down exact numbers of what promo materials you have and what you need is a must-do. Period.

For greater ease, reach out to your swag vendors to get a grasp on what you’ve ordered in the past and find out the latest trends. The idea of getting new goods is usually a big serotonin booster, so stop putting off your inventory check for 2022 and gear up for a successful tradeshow season.


Step 2: Prep Attendees

A successful tradeshow starts with great communication. Your marketing department and business development team wears many hats and juggles it all, and that includes the details behind the tradeshows you attend—be sure to share that info with all team members who will be in attendance.

A great way to get your tradeshow attendees up to speed is to have a cheat sheet for all participants at the show. In addition to the details on your swag, your cheat sheet should include an elevator pitch and frequently asked questions with answers.

Following up with the prospects you meet comes after the show, but make certain your team knows how you intend to follow up so they can dialogue appropriately.

Use your elevator pitch and finish with a closing phrase that will demonstrate good care and service – “We typically follow up by doing _______… does that work for you, or how would you prefer we contact you?”

Get everyone on your team on the same page with swag, too. Have different levels of swag depending on the level of prospect. If you have the attendee list, it’s easy to color code your prospects so staff knows who gets what. Be strategic with your swag.

We can all spot the booth browser who is not at all interested in anything but grabbing freebies. Think of those folks as trick-or-treaters – smile, nod, and hand them some candy. Save your top-tier swag for highly prospective targets.


Step 3: Get Social

You’re bringing your a-game with your branded promo materials in which you invested… but is anyone expecting to see you and your colleagues at your tradeshow destination?

Not if you don’t tell them you plan to attend!

Give your clients and prospective clients a reason to look for you at upcoming events. Promoting your upcoming tradeshows and conferences online is a nearly free way of making the most of the money you’ve already invested.

You have even more incentive to share upcoming tradeshows and conferences if your firm is presenting and/or sponsoring. Presenters and sponsors are usually given access to that coveted attendee list, so why not use it? Nothing primes a prospective client for convo more than an email saying you look forward to seeing them!


Step 4: Map Out Your Course

You’ve put great thought into selecting your swag and deciding which tradeshows and conferences are most beneficial for your ROI. But are you covering all that ground, or are you missing out on opportunities to reach clients and prospective clients?

Make certain to cover as much ground as possible by ensuring your team knows what sessions to attend and which prospective clients to see. Plan ahead with your team members and strategize who has strengths suited for each prospect you want to reach. Don’t waste time and money with multiple people covering the same areas and sessions.


Step 5: Follow Up

We know firsthand how exhausting tradeshows and events can be, but we also understand how crucial it is to circle back with the connections you made, and even the connections you missed, to make the most impact.

Giving your prospects premium branded swag will make picking up your call or responding to your email a no-brainer.

Take the opportunity to reach out to connections you missed at an event – send them some swag that will leave them smiling, and use that to plan your next meeting with them!

Find out more about our premium promo materials.


If you’re prepping for the tradeshow season and need inspiration for a cohesive and meaningful strategy, reach out to us today to see why high-end swag-seekers love us. We’d love to help you!