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Top Ten Preparation Tips when Exhibiting

Would you like to attend a trade fair, exhibition or local pop up market but the thought of attending of it and all the admin and preparation overwhelms you? Fear not ! I’ve drawn up a checklist of all the things you may want to prepare in advance of exhibiting at a trade show or fair of any kind and remember there is always a Virtual Assistant on hand to make the whole process less scary. I spoke on one of my Facebook lives about this and if you want to listen to the video you can watch here or keep reading.

At the start of November 2001 (terrifying calculation in itself), I had just started my first ‘proper’ job working for Ulster Carpets, a large custom carpet manufacturer in in Northern Ireland who make carpets for hotels/cruise ships and large public areas worldwide. I was the Sales Administrator in the Export Department and travelled with the Sales team to The Equip’Hotel Trade Fair in Paris which sells an extensive range of products and services for hotel, restaurant and catering. Attending that event was really nerve wracking for a new employee and language graduate like myself but it was also an invaluable experience and since then I’ve helped lots of businesses prepare for exhibitions from local fairs to large exhibitions in Asia.

Expanding your brand awareness should be part of your overall company strategy and careful consideration should be given as to why,  where and when or even if! you should take a stand at a trade fair or even your local pop up market. Here is a link to a list of Trade fairs worldwide that you can filter by country/sector as well as a list of the UK Top’s Exhibition venues.

Here are 10 things to think about once you have decided where and when you want to exhibit:

  1. Branded pop up -do you know the size of the stall you booked and worked out what size of pop up will work best? Maybe you want something out of the ordinary? Make sure you book in plenty of time and have time for back and forth with the graphic designer to work out text/images/positioning.
  2. Branded clothes-do you have a t-shirt/hoodie so that everyone passing by can readily recognise you? Visitors and exhibitors alike.
  3. Branded material-do you have leaflets with all necessary details to hand out and do you have enough for the anticipated audience numbers?
  4. Branded goodie bags-have you something memorable to give out to customers. I was talking to a branding expert recently who said on average a pen passes through hands of 9 people which is something to remember!
  5. Data capturing-what type of data do you want to capture from your audience? If you want to post a physical brochure, make sure to get full postal details. If you want to send something out by email, make sure to get their email and name and their permission to send it! Can you offer interested parties an incentive to sign up to your mailing list in the first place? If are conducting some kind of survey have you an online form set up via Google forms or Type form that you can simply ask people to fill out online when they are with you? Have you got a spare iPad with plenty of battery life? Remember to capture as much data electronically so you don’t’ waste time afterwards retyping (which opens up room for errors) or trying to decipher unintelligible handwriting! (like my own!)
  6. Check with the exhibitor especially if it’s a large exhibiting space if you can send marketing material in advance. A virtual assistant can help you get shipping quotes from freight companies for this.
  7. Block rest time before the event -standing all day long or over several days at an exhibition can be exhausting so try to pencil in some time before to rest and also for last minute emergencies.
  8. Block time for follows up after -one of the reasons to exhibit is getting your name out there beyond your usual audience so make sure you block time after to follow up within a few days all the potential new leads you have met-if you don’t some of your competitors might get in there before you!
  9. Arrive in plenty of time -If the exhibition is in a different country arrive well in advance the day before so even if the plane /train is cancelled, you have time to make alternative arrangements and make sure you have ordered a visa in plenty of time if you are travelling far.
  10. Dress appropriately – comfy shoes and layers are a must in case you are in a location which is either freezing or roasting! and make sure to bring plenty of water with you or maybe a hot flask and stay hydrated.

Useful links branding companies

Nettl have a range of boards, banners and signs especially for exhibitions


AA Promotional Products also have a wealth of knowledge


I know Jeremy from Nettl through the ABC business network as he did our pop up for us and I know Anthony from AA Promotional Products through the Bizmerang Belfast meetup and can highly recommend them both.


If you have any questions or need help for an upcoming event please let me know

alison@virtuali. uk

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