There’s no denying the fact that trade shows are the ultimate marketing tool. They allow you to directly meet with potential clients to discuss partnerships, demonstrate the benefits of your offerings to a large section of your target audience, and even provide you with the ideal platform to let people know what your brand is all about. But, not all trade show destinations were created equal.
If you’ve found yourself stagnating on your regular circuit, it may be time to level up and take your booth to Orlando. The City Beautiful is one of the most prominent trade show hubs, drawing in large crowds from all over the world. The best part about attending a show in the city? You can end your day and your week with a quick visit to Universal Studios and Walt Disney World!
But, getting ready to bring a trade show booth to Orlando is far from easy. It requires months of careful planning and consideration. If you’re heading to the city for a show for the very first time, here’s a look at everything you need to do in the year leading up to D-Day!
12 Months in Advance
It may seem too early to start planning for your appearance on the show floor, but if you really want to enjoy a successful run, it’s best to start your planning a whole year in advance.
Understand Your Goals
When you’re heading to a trade show it’s always important that you know what you’re going for. Do you want to simply increase your brand’s visibility in the market or are you hoping to close a few big deals? You can have more than one goal, but it’s best to understand what your main priority is. Once you have a clear vision of what you want, you need to write it down and communicate it to the rest of your team. This will ensure that everybody is on the same page as you work towards putting up a trade show booth in Orlando.
Set Your Budget
Getting your budget allocations ready for a trade show can take a lot of time and effort. It’s also essential to get this out of the way as soon as possible so that you have a better understanding of what you can and cannot afford to do at the event. Remember, counting your pennies won’t do you any favors at this stage. Be realistic about how much you will need. Don’t forget to set yourself a target for the return on your investment as well.
Complete All Formalities
There are a number of forms to be filled and contracts to be signed before you can make an appearance at a trade show. Most shows will open up registrations and invite interested companies to sign up 6-12 months before the event is scheduled to take place. Take this time to make sure you have all your paperwork in order and read through every contract carefully. Mark all the important deadlines and ensure you’ve understood all the terms and conditions before you make any kind of payment to book your space. The earlier you complete this paperwork, the better your chances of securing a high-traffic spot on the trade show floor.
6 Months in Advance
Now that that trade show is less than half a year away, it’s time to get down to the finer details.
Design Your Booth
With just 6 months left, you can work on the design for your trade show booth. Your booth’s design will depend largely on your trade show goals and the size of the space you’ve booked for your brand. Your booth’s design could completely make or break your trade show experience, so it’s vital that you create something that’s both functional and visually attractive. A good rule of thumb is to keep your booth uncluttered and messaging crisp and clear. As far as possible, use your brand colors through your booth to improve recall after the show.
Get the Green Light on Products
If you’re hoping to launch a new product at the event, now is the time to get final approvals. Make sure you’ve done a few test runs and that your product is ready to go live. If you’re rolling out a new product at a trade show in Orlando, you need to make sure that you have enough stock to sell to interested buyers as well.
Pick Your Team
The individuals you choose to man your booth at the trade show are of utmost importance. You need to find individuals who are well-versed with your product and also have sufficient experience in sales and marketing. Depending on how many days the show is expected to run for, you can decide on the number of people you need to take with you. Remember to choose people based on the size of your booth – you don’t want to have a small booth packed with 6-8 of your staff.
Sort Out Travel
This is especially important if you’re travelling to Orlando from outside America. You will need to apply for visas and book your tickets in advance so that you aren’t left scrambling for seats at the very last minute. You also need to ensure that everybody you’ve picked to travel with you has a valid passport that is more than 6 months away from expiry at the time of travel.
Three Months in Advance
The big day is almost here. It’s time to get started on the final preparations.
Print Your Materials
From the actual graphics for your trade show booth to marketing materials and giveaways, you need to have everything printed and ready to be packed and shipped to the venue.
Storage and Shipping
Find a company who will help you store your booth materials until it’s time to ship them. Make sure your shipping partner has experience in dealing with booth materials and check if there’s any insurance you need to purchase to protect your booth and your pockets.
You’ve already done most of the heavy lifting, but there’s still a bit of preparation left. To ensure you’ve got the most stellar trade show booth in Orlando, get a demo booth built now. This will give you the opportunity to experience the booth in its entirety and make any last-minute tweaks as required.
Two Months in Advance
You’re on the home stretch now. It’s the perfect time to let people know what you’re doing.
Book Hotel Rooms
Find yourself a hotel or motel close to the venue where you and your team can unwind and relax after a hard day’s work. Book now to avoid the last-minute hassle of having to hunt for available rooms nearby or having to travel extensively within the city every day.
Start Your Promotions
It’s the ideal time to let your customers and potential leads know that you’ll be heading to a trade show in Orlando. Invite them to the event and make sure they have enough time to prepare to travel. If you’d like to host contests and competitions during the trade show, make sure you let people know about it as part of your promotions.
One Month in Advance
It’s time to make sure your team is ready.
Study Your Competition
The organizer is likely to post a list of all the brands that will be putting up a booth at the event. Have a look at your competition and understand what they’re bringing to the show. Tweak your marketing plan as required to give yourself an edge over everybody else.
Train Your Staff
Sure, your team is already great at what they do, but trade show marketing requires a very specific set of skills. Make sure you spend a few hours every day going over your trade show marketing strategy and getting your staff up-to-date on your company’s policies.
The Week of the Show
You’ve made it to Orlando! There’s just one thing left to do.
Double Check Everything
You’ve already done all the hard work. Now you just need to make sure that your booth, marketing materials and staff have all arrived safely and on time. If there’s anything that needs to be fixed, you still have a few days to put the final touches on your booth and your marketing strategy.
The Day of the Show
It’s finally time to head into the trade show and make the most of this opportunity. Talk to as many people as possible and remember to get their details so you can follow up later. If you can, try and enjoy the experience. Keep your goals in mind and keep your staff motivated and happy.
Planning for a trade show, especially one in Orlando, can seem like a daunting and overwhelming affair. But if you plan in advance, you can easily get through the entire event without breaking a sweat. Once the show is over, you can look back at what went right and what didn’t and adjust your preparation for the next event accordingly. After all, every trade show presents you with an opportunity to learn and better yourself and your brand!
Read here – Trade show trends to follow in 2020.