Exhibitor Trade Show Guide and Checklist

Exhibitor Trade Show Guide & Tips

Popular Trade Shows 2022 > Trade Show Guides > Exhibitor Trade Show Guide & Tips

Why do exhibitors attend trade shows? Why are trade shows important? If you’re a business, you probably already know - visibility, new opportunities, industry innovations, making connections and more! If you’ll be attending a trade show this year as an exhibitor, there’s a lot to prepare for, but if you do it right you can enjoy the show as well as reap the benefits of a successful booth all year long.

Simply showing up unprepared is not an option, so taking the time to plan, come up with marketing strategies, prepare your representatives, create booth displays and materials is essential. To help you get a handle on it all (especially if it’s your first time), we’ve written this guide for trade show exhibitors, complete with tips and checklist points. Use it as a sort of trade show exhibitor manual to kick off your journey!

Exhibitor booths at a trade show.

General Planning - Trade Show Exhibitor Checklist

When it comes to planning for an expo, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Create an event strategy
  • Set specific, trackable goals
  • Know your inventory and decide what products or services you’ll highlight at the show
  • Decide on any sales or deals you should promote
  • Make sure you’re registered for the event
  • Design your exhibit/booth (custom life-size cardboard cutouts are a great option!)
  • Outline a budget for the booth, accommodations, meals, employee salary, transport, and marketing
  • Organize meetings with other vendors or note those you want to network with
  • Get floor plans of the building and expo set up
  • Make all necessary reservations for hotels, dinners, speaker slots, etc.
  • Train employees

You want to be as thorough as possible to ensure you’re making the most of this opportunity.

Giving yourself enough time to do all of this will ensure that everything goes smoothly and potential customers get the best first impression of your business.

Marketing Goals & Efforts - Checklist for Trade Show Exhibitors

You may have already set your sales goals, but you’ll also want to build out your marketing goals. You’ll want to know your inventory and promotions, but your marketing research should go beyond this.

Meet with clients when exhibiting at a trade show.

Your trade show marketing efforts should include (at minimum), the following:

  • Analysis of leads, costs, and conversions from past shows
  • Audience research
  • Social media campaigns
  • Creation of marketing material and promotional items
  • Networking efforts
  • Booth design

You’ll want to plan ways to reach potential customers both before and during the show. It isn’t enough to only prepare for the show. In fact, if you’re well prepared, there are some people who will attend the expo simply because they know you are there.

Booth Space, Design & Personnel

Your booth is your first impression. You need it to attract attention and draw people in. Creative and interactive displays tend to draw in more customers. For example, if you’re attending a craft brewer conference as a vendor, incorporating custom beer cutouts with your booth design would really create an impact!

In conjunction with the branding and designing of your booth, you’ll want to ensure the right people are manning it. They will be the ones informing your potential customers of your business, so it’s important they have the patience and personality for the job. In addition, they should decide what to wear to a trade show beforehand, taking into consideration how they will present themselves to reflect your company and industry culture, branding, as well as comfort level throughout the day and its activities.

Exhibitor Trade Show Tips for During the Show and After

Here are a few more general trade show exhibitor tips to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of any expo or convention:

  • Interact with everyone, even if it’s just a hello
  • Build warm relationships based on genuine conversations and trust, not sales
  • Focus on branding not selling
  • Draw people in with a strong presence and demonstration
  • Use visuals to naturally draw people in, as well as to help them remember you and your business
  • Connect with prospects on social media

These pointers will help you be successful during the show, but your efforts shouldn’t stop once it’s over. You should always remember to follow up with your leads afterward, as it’s one of the most important factors in turning those potential customers you met into actual customers.

One way to do this that may set you apart from your competitors is to use any pictures or media you may have taken or shared with your booth visitors as a way to connect with them after the show. For example, if your visitors took photos at your table with a lifesize Cardboard Cutout Standee, ask them to share the photos on social media, tag your company and write a review along with the photo.


There is a lot of opportunity to establish yourself as an influential industry participant as well as build your customer base by attending trade shows. The more often you go, the more practiced you’ll get and (hopefully) the more fun you’ll have. Building relationships and staying on top of new innovations is great for business and mentality, so get out there and make connections at your industry’s hottest expos this year!

Cardboard Cutout Standees has your back when it comes to ensuring your booth catches everyone’s eye with life size cutouts of your product for all to see. Contact us now to get started.