Event marketers agree that trade shows are one of the most effective marketing channels for meeting new prospects, building relationships, and increasing brand awareness–even over increasingly popular digital channels such as content marketing, email marketing, and online advertising.
But trade show exhibitions require extensive research and planning, and you can’t expect exceptional results until you put in the work.
Here are 19 resources for trade show exhibitors that will help you make a long-lasting impression at your next event.
Trade show publications, resources, and news
Organized in 1928, this site is a leading association for the global exhibition industry. IAEE’s goal is to promote “the unique value of exhibitions and events” and be the “principal resource for those who plan, produce and service the industry.”
Exhibitor Online is a leader in trade show and corporate event marketing education offering magazine articles, news, seminars, and conferences to current and aspiring trade show exhibitors. The site’s key objective is to be “the indispensable source of expert education on trade show and corporate event marketing.”
Trade Show Executive is an online provider of news, tools, and resources for both trade show managers and trade show exhibitors looking to turn their ideas into their competitive edge.
Exhibit City News is a monthly newspaper and online collection of trade show resources with over 12,000 industry readers.
Pre-show planning resources
Whether you’re new to trade show marketing or you’ve simply come across a term with which you’re unfamiliar, this “Glossary of Terms” from Exhibitor Online is your guide to marketing lingo from A to Z.
This list of events includes the rank, date, location, industry category, rating, and number of followers for the USA’s top 100 trade fairs, trade shows, and conferences. You can even search by industry and county to narrow your results.
This timeline from Trade Show Advisor breaks your trade show planning into seven distinct phases: 12+ months before the show, 9-12 months before the show, 6-9 months before the show, 3-6 months before the show, 1-3 months before the show, 1 week before the show, and 1 day-1 week after the show.
Each phase includes 2-7 simple steps you should follow to make the most of your time and be more effective in your planning and marketing efforts.
This resource page offers over a dozen downloadable guides for trade show exhibitors. It’s brought to you by Bartizan Connects, a lead retrieval and session attendance tracking software company for trade shows and events. All you have to do in order to download each guide is submit your email address.
This guide from inbound sales and marketing platform HubSpot provides valuable insights on topics such as:
- How to choose the right social media platforms for your promotional efforts
- How to choose the best marketing automation tools
- How to build buzz prior to your next trade show
It also includes a sample trade show inbound marketing editorial calendar you can use to ramp up your social presence in the eight weeks prior to the show.
EXHIBITOR Online’s “Form and Function” list explains nine types of trade-show-related forms you may have to fill out in order to exhibit at your next event. You’ll get explanations and valuable insider information on the following forms:
- Block-housing request
- Booth-space rental agreement
- Variance form
- Exhibitor appointed contractor form
- Material handling form
- Bill of lading
- Uniform material handling agreement
- Installation and dismantle labor form
- Method of payment
This trade show staff etiquette book by The Balance Small Business is a quick and important read for trade show exhibitors in all industries. It highlights do’s and don’ts for your staff in regards to greetings and body language during the show, tips for a professional and well-groomed appearance, advice for keeping your trade show booth neat and tidy, and best practices for approaching and interacting with prospects.
This list includes 33 items that should be on your trade show packing list to ensure nothing gets left behind. Created by marketing team Maye Create Design, this list breaks down items into categories including booth items, office supplies, other supplies, and technology.
Get the downloadable version here.
Trade show budgeting resources
These free budget planning templates from Tradeshow Network Marketing Group will help you manage your trade show marketing costs.
Within the download you can choose from eight different templates:
- Product marketing budget template – Helps you organize all vital expenses related to your product launch, from user testing sessions to promotion
- Content budget template – Whether you produce content in house or use freelancers, this template is your go-to resource for organizing your content creation and promotion budget
- Paid advertising budget template – Measure the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaigns by keeping tabs on your monthly and quarterly ad spending and cross-referencing your lead generation metrics
- Public relations budget template – Account for all PR-related expenses, from press releases and reputation monitoring software to trade show travel
- Branding and creative budget template – Keep track of all your costs for storing graphics, video, and other types of interactive content
- Website redesign budget template – Ensure you don’t miscalculate any costs related to your website redesign
- Event budget template – Don’t overlook costs associated with your trade show exhibit and marketing tactics; keep track of all your event-related expenses in one spreadsheet
- Master marketing budget template – Collect totals from the other seven templates and see all your big picture expenses in one place
Trade show trends, case studies, and reports
Bizzabo Blog interviewed over 400 mid-to-senior-level event marketers about the future of the industry to bring you this comprehensive event marketing study. You’ll discover key benchmarks and trends on topics such as event strategy, event budgets, technology trends, and frequency of events planned and attended. Use this information to help shape your current and future trade show marketing strategies and keep up with your competition.
Did you know that over one-third of companies are experiencing year-over-year upticks in their exhibit marketing investments in 2019? EXHIBITOR Magazine’s “2019 Economic Outlook Survey” gauges the opinions of over 200 trade show exhibit and event professionals to provide you with valuable insights like this one so you can make wise event-related investments.
EXHIBITOR Online offers dozens of case studies covering a wide variety of industries and budgets. Interested in how one company acquired 1,000 new social media subscribers in a single launch? Or how one woman established a lead-qualifying system that scored her a 60% budget increase? Learn more here.
Post-show resources for qualifying leads and evaluating results
This “Ultimate Guide to Sales Qualification” from the content marketing gurus at HubSpot covers everything you need to know about qualifying prospects, from when to disqualify a prospect and what kinds of questions you should ask. It even includes this free downloadable: “101 Questions to Ask During Sales Qualification, Closing, and Negotiating.”
This article provides examples of 9 email templates that will help you build trust and develop relationships with prospects as well as close sales. It also includes a free download of 25 proven sales email templates you can use to follow up with your qualified leads. You’ll just have to provide your name and business email–as well as answer a few simple questions about your company–in order to download the templates.
This PDF guide from sales training and consulting company Creative Training Solutions provides valuable insight to help you measure and evaluate your trade show results. It covers topics such as:
- Measuring your effectiveness via observation and feedback
- Return on investment (ROI) methodology
- Return on Objectives (ROO) methodology
- Tools for measuring and analyzing your performance
Looking for a way to stand out from the crowd at your next trade show? Consider a custom trade show display!
BTWN Exhibits can help strengthen your brand’s presence with a show-stopping trade show booth design. We’ll collaborate with you from a rough idea to a high-end concept. Learn more about our trade show booth design services or contact us today.
Not quite ready to take that step?
Explore 15 ways to create a trade show exhibit that attracts a crowd.