Summer is here and, for many trade show coordinators, it’s time to step back and take a breather. The first half of 2014 was a busy expo season, and round two starts in a few short months. Maybe it’s time for your hard-earned vacation or to catch up with your other duties. It’s also important to make time for expo preparations. Imagine the panic that would ensue if Labor Day were to roll around and you’ve done little (if anything) to prep for your fall trade shows! Here’s what to do.
1. Review and Tweak Your Strategy
Examine your trade show results from the first half of the year. Build upon what worked and modify what did not.
2. Schedule All Your Show Deadlines
Whether you use Outlook, GoldMine, or another program, add ALL of the important dates to your calendar. Include everything from move-in and set-up to ordering plants and electrical to flights and hotels.
3. Be Sociable
Coordinate your social media efforts with those of the show organizers to maximize your exposure. Participate in Twitter conversations, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., and automate what you can. It’s not too early for teasers.
4. Multimedia Campaigns
Prepare the creative end of your email and direct mail invitations/promotions now, and schedule the send dates in your calendar. As you get closer to the show dates, the legwork is finished, and all you have to do is send things out to your customers and prospects.
5. “Step Right Up”
Plan your in-booth demonstrations, games, contests, etc., ahead of time so they appear professional and well-planned. If you wait until later, things will seem haphazard like an afterthought.
6. How Do I Look?
Finally, inspect your displays and graphics. Is the hardware in good working order? Do the graphics look fresh and convey the right message? This is the time for new displays and/or graphics, not the week before the show.
It isn’t difficult to set these few wheels in motion during the off season. And it will make a huge difference in the fall as the expos get closer. Save yourself some headaches. It’s all in the preparedness.
What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!
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