The simple answer is: “At the end!”

Work your timeline backwards starting from the date of the exhibition you have booked the stand at. You should aim for a minimum of six weeks but the longer you have the better prepared you can be.

This is the point where you should start a conversation with your stand builder to ensure they have the time to understand your requirements and design the stand in accordance with that. Exhibition organisers also set strict deadlines you and your contractor must adhere to.

Six weeks to show date is a good time to start with your marketing and PR campaign which should include social media. However, you will need some time beforehand to prepare the plan and the content. Speak to your marketing team at least eight weeks before the show.

Ensure the team that will be manning the stand have been sufficiently briefed on all points of the exhibition to deliver a succinct and same message across board to all visitors. Running a workshop a week or two before the event is a good way to brief the team and get everyone on the same page. This should include an action plan on how the leads will be collected and how, when and by whom will they be processed.

Research giveaways and order them in good time before the show. Too many times the boxes have been delivered to the stand at the eleventh hour. This only creates stress for everyone involved and it is harder to deal with any potential issues with the items or the print.

An important part of preparation is planning the post event communication. As the show finishes you will want to be ready with the follow up to just fire it out and not waste valuable time to compose the messages or work out the system to follow up.

Don’t forget to include the time to write/prepare post-event communications. You will not have the luxury of time once the show finishes – the quicker you contact your leads the better the return as they are more likely to remember you and stay engaged with you. Any post-event emails, catalogue posting etc should be pre-written and prepared in advance to save time after the event.

If the exhibition you are attending is far away book accommodation as soon as possible and the same with the flights, if you are travelling abroad. Hotels and airlines have a nasty habit of raising prices during big events and they do get booked up so reserve yours as far ahead as you can.

As a novice exhibitor, you may benefit from our package tailored to those who never exhibited before and those that have done it badly. Ensure you get your return on investment by speaking to one of our team on 01978 807118‬ or email us.