Hosting a trade show is the perfect way for you to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. However, there is a lot of work that goes into organizing a successful trade show. Being a trade show organizer is a big responsibility to take on. Even if you have a long history of attending trade shows, organizing one on your own is completely different. Those who have organized a trade show on their own already still run into issues when they start a new one. 

Here are a few steps that you should take to help you organize your trade show.

1. Find the right venue

Do you know what size event you’re planning to have? This will make a big difference in what venues you should be looking at. You also need to have a good understanding of how much room each exhibitor will need. The location of the venue might not even be near the area where you live. If you’re planning to attract exhibitors from all around, you may have to choose a location that would be the most convenient for everyone involved. Depending on what industry you’re in, you might find that there are more people who would be interested in attending a trade show in certain areas. While this can be more stressful, it could be helpful if you want to get more people involved. 

2. Research layout ideas

Planning the layout of a trade show can be more work than you might expect. Many events have a similar setup, so it could be useful to look back at any trade shows you’ve attended in the past. A successful trade show needs to have enough space for everyone attending, but you also don’t want it to be larger than what you need, which can leave the space looking empty. There are also numerous resources you can find online that can show you some of the most common layouts and what type of trade shows they work best for. Doing this is easier once you have your venue so that you can figure out what your venue looks like so you can put together the best arrangement for that space.

3. Gather the perfect team

No matter the size of your trade show, this isn’t something you can successfully throw together on your own. You’ll need to have a strong team behind you to help execute everything you have planned. Gathering professionals who have experience in putting together trade shows, like event planners and salespeople, is essential for your event’s success, as well as for keeping you sane. Some of the work you need done might not be as important than others and it might not always need to be done on-site. Because of this, it might be easier for you to outsource some of the work. This can be less expensive than having someone do it in-person and could open you up to more talent. 

4. Find trade show sponsors 

Many trade shows wouldn’t be able to exist without sponsors. Not only will their sponsorship help fund your tradeshow, but it also opens you up to a wider audience. It’s likely that anyone who is already involved with your sponsor would have some interest in your trade show. Any business that decides to sponsor a trade show will make it well-known for its benefit, which can easily help spread the word. These are people who might not have otherwise known that your event was going on. The key to getting great trade show sponsors is to find innovative ways to make sponsorship benefit them. 

5. Create a marketing plan

How are you planning on drawing in guests to attend your trade show? Marketing your trade show is one of the most important parts of organizing it. Getting companies to come and set up a booth at your trade show might be easy, but getting people to attend can be difficult. It’s important for any successful trade show to draw people’s attention months before the event even occurs. Chances are, you already know a lot of people in your industry, which can make it easier to reach out to people. If you have an email list, this can be a perfect way to get your event on the right people’s radars. Making sure to post about your event frequently on social media can also help get the word out and attract people whose contact information you might not have. 

6. Schedule events for the day

No successful trade show can consist only of attendees walking around the event all day. To keep people interested and engaged, you need to have special events throughout the day. Many trade shows host several guest speakers who are highly involved in the industry to give a talk that can help educate attendees. It’s also important that you have meal times prepared for the day, as well as a caterer for the trade show. For something more unique, you might even consider having contests throughout the day, which is an easy way of keeping your guests excited about the event.