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How to Organize a Successful Expo (Plus 4 Tips and Tricks)

How to Organize a Successful Expo Plus 4 Tips and Tricks

When planning a large event, you may often feel stretched to capacity. However, the process of organizing an expo or a trade show doesn’t need to be overwhelming. There are some simple strategies to keep in mind that will make planning a breeze. If you can follow these tips, you’ll have an easier time managing the event planning process.

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Trade Show Success Strategies

There are several strategies that make for a successful event. Here are a couple broad ideas that will help you to narrow down your focus in the later stages of planning.

  • What’s your brand: As an event planner it’s important to create a brand that unifies the different elements of your event. Everyone walking through the doors should feel like they’re entering a space that offers a cohesive experience that’s relevant to the event.
  • Event goals: What do you hope each and every vendor will achieve at this event? Is the goal to have lots and lots of foot traffic from outside? Perhaps you want the vendors to have the opportunity to make deep and lasting business connections. Keep these and other goals in mind throughout the planning process.

Related: How Do You Run a Great Conference?

How to Organize a Successful Trade Show or Expo

For any event, you’ll want to take some basic steps, such as planning your budget, finding your venue, and inviting your guests. But when planning a business expo there are a few more steps to consider. Here is a basic list of tasks you’ll have to do when setting up your own event.

  • Find your team: Make sure you have a talented and trusted group of people to help you plan the event. If you’re planning a large, professional event, you’ll need a great team of people working together to make it happen.
  • Find the right venue: Once you think you’ve found the venue, determine how many vendors and guests you’ll be able to accommodate. You may find that the venue is too large or too small. Remember to check for its ADA compliance and adequate numbers of restrooms.
  • Book your talent: Many business expos have a keynote speaker or someone to welcome the participants. Find someone who is ready and willing to do this job for you and who would also be a draw for vendors and guests alike.
  • Invite your vendors: Let them know that this event will be heavily advertised to the people they want as customers. This is the most important reason that companies participate in expos or trade shows. Give them examples of your advertising strategy.
  • Advertise your event: This step is of the utmost importance. You need to make sure that you are reaching your desired audience. Be sure to utilize all forms of advertising, including social media, online forums, trade magazines and professional organizations.

Related: 11 of the Best Event Management Tips for Beginners

Tips & Tricks for Organizing Your Expo

Here are some of the simple ideas you can try while planning your event. These ideas are just a starting point, and you might think of some more after reading this list.

1. First Contact Should Happen Before the Event

It’s very important to establish a relationship with your vendors and merchants prior to the day of the big event. This will make sure that they understand basic information about the venue, what you will or won’t provide and what their table should consist of. This can help you avoid any problems the day of our event. You'll also be in a better position to create long-lasting business relationships.

2. Swag is King

Successful expos send their guests home with envy-worthy swag bags. As the event planner, your job is to encourage vendors to bring their best swag. It’s important that they think beyond the typical pens and stress balls. They can also consider offering raffle prizes at a higher price point, which encourages attendees to stop by their booth and mingle. It is also a nice idea for you to offer the attendees a bag that advertises your expo to use to carry all their goodies home.

3. Offer Booth Advisement

It’s a good idea to offer booth advisement to your vendors, especially to those businesses that are still new or looking to expand. These days, booths are becoming more sophisticated than a simple table with some brochures scattered about. It’s important for each vendor to understand the ways in which a dynamic booth setup can impact their impression on the consumer or buyer.

4. Be Sure to Say Goodbye

Just as important as introducing yourself to vendors prior to the event is having a proper goodbye prepared in advance. You don’t have to do this in person, however, that would be a nice touch. Instead you can provide each vendor with a letter or card thanking them for their participation and asking for any feedback on improvements that can be made for your next event.

In addition to serving as a sign of gratitude, a thank you letter can help you to network with attendees. Ask each vendor if they would be interested in participating in this or another event in the future. Later on, you may decide to contact each vendor with the statistics on the event, such as how much foot traffic it received or how many new industry connections were made.

Whether this is your very first business expo or not, it’s a good idea to consider all of these tips to improve your chances of success. Business expos are still important, even in this digital marketing age. Your vendors will see that there is no better way to make a personal impression on a potential customer than a face-to-face meeting. It’s your job as an event planner to make sure that the vendors have a chance to do just that.

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