Whether attending the industry greats like Natural Products Expo West and Winter Fancy or a last-minute popup at your local convention center, trade shows are a great way to spotlight your brand and get your products in front of a relevant audience. They are also an investment.

Make the most of your marketing dollars and take trade show season by storm with these 7 tips and tricks.

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Make reservations… now:

Flight, hotel, transportation, team meetings, workouts, educational events, etc. The sooner you check these tasks off your to do list, the more time you’ll have to focus on your brand. Also, don’t forget to register for next year’s show!

Leverage LinkedIn:

Do your research! See which other brands, retailers, buyers and influencers will be at the show. Shoot them a message and plan a time to connect during the show.

Fine-tune the booth:

Your trade show booth is a direct reflection of your brand. Many design agencies specialize in trade shows, take the time to find one that is right for you.

Build your team:

Invest in your staff. Finding staff who are personable, engaged with the audience and passionate about the brand. Every interaction matters and good staff will make every minute count.

Scout out the show floor:

Many shows do a great job at uploading a virtual map of the show beforehand. Study it, bookmark the booths you want to visit, speakers and events you want to attend, etc.

Share on social:

Let your social connections and followers know you’ll be at the show. Debuting some new products? Create social hype with teasers. Attending an event? Document it through Instagram stories. A behind-the-scenes look at trade show life is always engaging.

Stay healthy, make time for yourself:

Don’t forget to make time for some R&R! Between business meetings and networking with other makers, trade shows are demanding. Make healthy eating, exercise and rest a priority so you can be the best representation of yourself and of your brand the day (or days) of the show.

Some additional trade show inspiration…

This video on Fancy Food, the mecca of specialty food trade shows, also gives some insider tips from current exhibitors. And this article, from Rosseto, is chock-full of food-specific tips for crafting a high-quality experience for your audience.

See this season’s hottest food and beverage trade shows all in one place with our member-exclusive industry events calendar!