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First-Timer's Guide to Tradeshows and Exhibits: How to Prepare and What to Expect

Attending your first tradeshow or exhibit can be a daunting experience. With so many people, products, and opportunities, it can be difficult to know where to start "total overwhelm." But don’t let that intimidate you! With a bit of planning and preparation, you can make sure you get the most out of your first tradeshow or exhibit. This guide will cover how to prepare for tradeshows and exhibits, what to expect when you arrive, and how to maximize your time and efforts. With this advice, you'll be ready to make a great impression and get the most out of your first tradeshow or exhibit.

Define your goals

Attending a tradeshow or expo can be a great way to network and learn about the latest industry trends, but it’s important to define your goals before you begin. Set clear objectives for attending the event such as generating leads, gaining industry knowledge, or developing business relationships. With these goals in mind, you can focus your time and energy during the event on reaching those objectives. Events like homeshows and expos are also an excellent opportunity to showcase your product or service with a booth display, banner display, large display, or small display. Having a well-thought-out plan of action will help ensure that you make the most out of the tradeshow or expo.


Do your research

Before attending a tradeshow or expo, it is important to do your research. Take time to learn about the event, the exhibitors, and the attendees. You should make a list of booths and presentations you want to see and people you want to meet. Familiarize yourself with the topics that will be discussed, so you can maximize your time there and ask informed questions. Also, research the competition and what other exhibitors are doing at the event so that you can prepare accordingly. Additionally, search for any discounts or special offers available to make sure you get the best value from your trade show experience. Lastly, look up any articles or reviews of past events so you can get a sense of what to expect when you attend. Doing thorough research can help ensure that you get the most out of your time at the tradeshow or expo and know what one is for you, and not for you.


Create a budget

Creating a budget is essential when attending a tradeshow and expo. Your budget should cover the cost of the trade show booth, display, travel, and marketing expenses. Consider how much you can afford to spend and what size and style of booth best fits your needs. Additionally, account for any additional amenities you may require, such as a generator, lighting, or sound equipment. Once you have a budget in place, it will be easier to plan and prepare for the trade show.


Choose the right trade show

1. Know Your Audience: Before you can even begin to choose the right trade show, you need to know your audience and what types of events they attend. This will help you narrow down the options available and make sure that your trade show attendance is successful.
2. Review Event Calendars: Once you know who your target audience is, start researching the event calendars for tradeshows and expos that might fit your needs. Take note of important details such as location, time, cost, and type of event.
3. Know What You Want to Achieve: Understanding the goals of your company is important when choosing the right trade show. If your goal is to network, look for events with a focus on connecting businesses and entrepreneurs. If your goal is to make sales, look for shows that feature vendors and other companies.
4. Research the Venue: Look at reviews of past events held at the venue you are considering. Take note of any issues that have been reported and make sure the venue can accommodate your needs.
5. Consider Your Budget: Depending on the type of show, there can be a variety of costs associated with attending. Make sure to review the costs and make sure that attending is within your budget.
Choosing the right trade show or expo can be a difficult task, but it is necessary for success. Taking the time to research and plan ahead will ensure that your company has a positive experience and gets the most out of the event.


Promote your attendance

It's important to let people know that you're attending a trade show or expo. Share your plans on social media, create a press release, and reach out to your connections and contacts to let them know you'll be there. This is also a great opportunity to make new connections and expand your network.
Be sure to create promotional materials such as brochures and business cards to hand out to potential customers and contacts. This will help people remember your business and may lead to future partnerships and collaborations.
Consider creating a hashtag or theme for your booth or trade show presence. This will help you stand out and draw attention to your booth.
Create a giveaway or raffle at your booth to attract attention and increase foot traffic. Consider offering free samples of your product or discounts on your services as an incentive for people to visit your booth.
Finally, set up meetings with key contacts in advance of the show. Notify them of your attendance so you can arrange a time and place to meet in person at the show. This will allow you to maximize your time at the event and make the most of your experience.


Pack your exhibit

• Design a booth layout that emphasizes your message and brand. Try to make sure it is easy to navigate and inviting to visitors.
• Prepare a checklist of all the items you need, including display boards, signs, promotional materials, tablecloths, chairs, and other necessary items.
• Take along samples of your products or services, as these will be helpful in engaging visitors.
• Have a variety of handouts such as brochures, flyers, and catalogs to give to interested parties.
• Consider bringing giveaways to draw attention to your booth.
• Have a charging station for electronic devices so visitors can charge their phones or laptops while visiting your booth.
• Bring extra storage containers or boxes for transporting items back home.
• Include items for your comfort such as snacks, water, and extra layers of clothing in case the temperature changes.


Train your staff

Before the event, make sure your staff is familiar with your products and services. Give them information they need to know in order to present your company effectively. This could include product details, prices, promotions, and FAQs. Additionally, train your staff on how to approach prospects and engage with attendees. Make sure they are familiar with their duties and the strategies you want to employ during the tradeshow. Establish goals for each team member so they know what’s expected of them. Provide a script that your team can use to start conversations with potential customers. It's also a good idea to provide incentives such as rewards or bonuses to encourage your staff to perform at their best.


Follow up

Following up after a tradeshow or exhibit is essential to maximizing the ROI of your event. After the event, it's important to take the time to evaluate your goals and successes, and to follow up with the contacts you made. By reaching out with a personalized message that reflects your conversations during the event, you can show your appreciation for their time and further develop relationships.
Additionally, be sure to keep track of any leads or opportunities that have emerged from the event. Use these as jumping-off points for further research and conversations in order to turn potential leads into real business opportunities.

By following up promptly, thoughtfully, and systematically after each event, you can ensure that you are making the most of every tradeshow or expo.


By preparing and implementing these tips, you can make attending your first tradeshow or expo a success, and create new connections and opportunities for your business. 

Support & Help 

We hope this article answered some questions in regards to your first homeshow and "the ins and the outs." If you would like to speak to someone who puts on homeshows & events. MN Homeshows would be a great resource for you. You can reach out and connect with Jim and his Team. We are a proud preferred partner of MN Homeshow and enjoy working with The MN Homeshow Team. You can click Jim to be directed to his contact us page for help. 



DoTradeshow is here for you and to support you in your tradeshow needs and how to's. We have your back and would love to help bring your tradeshow booth to life. If you need help designing your booth, reach out to us! We are more than happy to help and would love to be able to bring your booth to life!! 


With Much Love, 

Contact Us!


Have a question don't hesitate to reach out, we are here for you and wanting to help in any way that we can. We have your best interest at heart and want to make sure you are well taken care of.

Reach out and call us our number is "952-942-1000" or email us ""

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