How to Make a Successful Participation in an International Trade Show

Your company finally scored the big international trade show you’ve been eyeing for months. But now that you’re in, how do you make sure your participation in an international trade show is a success?

Marketing your company at an international trade show can be a daunting task, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a huge success for your business. Keep reading for our top tips on making a splash at your next trade show.

What is an international trade show?

International trade shows are exhibitions where companies from around the world come together to promote their businesses and explore new business opportunities. Companies can present their latest products, technologies, and services to a large audience of potential customers in one place.

What does it mean to participate in an international trade show?

Participating in an international trade show is an excellent way to get your brand noticed in new markets and build long-term relationships with potential customers worldwide.

It can also be a great opportunity to test out new products or services and learn more about new markets. With the right approach, participating in an international trade show can lead to increased sales and growth for your company.

When considering international trade shows, one must account for the additional budget, time investment, and marketing effort needed – plus a larger team. It is also essential to recognize that you may be interacting with people who have diverse languages, religious beliefs, and cultures.

Participating in an international trade show can be broken down into four key steps:

  • pre-preparation,
  • planning and preparation,
  • participation, and
  • follow-up.

Properly preparing for the show helps to ensure that your company is putting its best foot forward during the event. This includes creating a comprehensive marketing plan to make sure your brand stands out from the competition and researching the show to identify potential opportunities.

Attending a trade show as an attendee before exhibiting is the ideal way to gain insight, such as which companies typically participate, how many visitors you can expect, and what kind of design they use for their stands. This will give you a distinct advantage when it comes time to plan your own exhibition stand.

Nevertheless, if you’re unfamiliar with this trade show before you participate there, research the other vendors and participators who will be there. Identifying potential customers or partners in advance gives your company an edge over competitors that are just showing up on the day of. It also helps to invest in promotional materials like flyers, brochures, and business cards.

Step #1: Pre-preparation

Set Goals & Objectives

Before you even register for the show, set goals and objectives that will determine the success of your participation in an international trade show. Take some time to brainstorm and decide on key objectives for attending the show, such as increasing brand awareness, launching a new product, or networking with potential customers.

Select the appropriate trade show

Pre-preparation for an international trade show starts with your marketing goal and selecting the appropriate show. The best way to do this is to research potential shows, their geographical locations, audiences, exhibitor fees, and what other vendors are attending. This helps ensure that the chosen show is a good fit for your company’s products and services.

The most coveted trade shows are usually booked months or even years in advance, making it difficult to reserve a booth in a good place for this year’s show. Marketers should plan ahead for their involvement over the next 3-5 years.

The most popular sources to find information about trade shows, exhibitions, and fairs are trade show directories, for exampe,, magazines, and websites of organizers.

Apply to the trade show and choose your space

Once you have selected your ideal trade show, the next step is to contact the organizer or complete an application form. Usually, the organizer will offer all the available booths and the fees for each booth.

Ultimately, you must decide your budget and what type of space is best suited for your company’s needs at the show. A sizable booth in the center of high visitor traffic will undoubtedly be expensive. Constructing an extensive booth, as well as bringing on more employees to manage it can be a costly investment.

Once you’ve applied to the trade show, it’s time to start preparing for the big day.

Step #2: Planning and preparation

Timeline planning

Planning is essential to the success of any marketing project, especially when it comes to trade shows. A carefully crafted plan can help ensure that your company stands out from the competition and capitalizes on potential opportunities at the show.

Whether you’re a marketer in a large company or small business, it’s essential to create and execute an effective trade show plan.

To ensure optimal success at any trade show, begin your timeline planning from the date of the event. For instance, if the show is taking place on June 5th, then make sure that you have your stand completely set up and ready to go by June 4th. Stand installation should occur between the 2nd and 4th of June. All furniture and related items used for the trade show must be delivered to the logistics storage between May 20th – June 2nd. Daily storage fees will be charged, so make sure you budget accordingly and try not to deliver earlier. Consult your logistics department to determine how many days should be allotted for delivery. Unveil the entire example on the below time chart to gain further insight.

timeline planning participation at trade show
Example of planning participation at tradeshow

Example available for downloading

Project team

The project must be thoroughly planned, with a dedicated management team, manager roles and responsibilities clearly outlined for each team member, as well as an allocated budget and timeline. As an example, a team member who is responsible for communication, as well as another team member in charge of booth design must be assigned.

Now that your project team is set and the timeline plan is finished, let’s get the ball rolling and commence preparations. You can do preparation work in blocks:

Stand design

The design of your stand is a crucial factor in any successful business venture. Making sure your stand stands out is essential, which means it must be eye-catching and attractive. On top of that, the design should also accurately reflect your brand or company identity.

If you have a large booth, consider dividing it into distinct areas; for instance, one section could be utilized to attract trade show attendees who are quickly passing by. Other section – for long discussions with current or potential customers. If space allows and you have enough staff, make more than one area for this section. Make this section more quiet and separate from the rest of the stand visitors.

To ensure the security of your items and to have a place to store promotional items, we suggest that you designate a key-locked room. This could also be used to store coffee machines and other appliances.

When it comes to creating an eye-catching stand design, you have several options available.

If your team includes a designer, they can create the stand and then find a partner company to bring their design idea to life.

If not, you must seek out either an individual or a company that provides custom designs. Some of these companies even offer setup and teardown services at shows for extra convenience.

Generally, trade show organizers offer basic and plain furnished booths. However, it will not be as attractive and eye-catching as you had hoped.

Booking services from the trade show organizer

Trade show organizers offer different services such as electricity, cleaning service, waste disposal service, Internet, information about participants and their products in the trade show catalog, storage before, during, and after the trade show, renting lights, furniture, carpets, green plants, etc. Check deadlines carefully, as it will not be possible to receive anything after the deadlines.

Promotional materials

When deciding on what promotional materials to bring to a trade show, marketers should consider their audience and the goals of the event. Depending on the event type and company objectives, promotional materials can range from product giveaways, brochures, coupons, spreadsheets, videos, etc. Marketers should research their target audience to determine what type of materials will be most effective in their marketing strategy.

Marketing campaigns

Developing a comprehensive marketing campaign is also important to ensure that trade show attendees are aware of the event and your company’s presence. This should include promotions before, during, and after the event, on both digital and offline platforms.

Utilize social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook to spread the word about your participation in the trade show.

Additionally, don’t forget about press releases announcing the event and other traditional marketing tactics such as email campaigns, direct mailings, and radio or television advertisements.

Special promotional event during the trade show

To draw more attention to your company or brand, you can host a special event or put on an unforgettable show. It’s important to keep both the industry and target audience in mind while striving for creativity. With just the right mix of imagination and purposeful planning, you can produce something that will be liked by many.

Unpaid and paid invitations

Organizers of trade shows typically provide invitation cards to exhibitors so they can invite their customers and prospects. These cards are usually available at no cost, but some organizers may offer the option to purchase additional invitations for a fee.

Invitation cards serve as both an advertisement for the event and a way to draw more people in attendance who may be interested in what your company has to offer.

Additionally, these cards can act as tickets that give attendees access to the show, helping exhibitors better track who is attending and how many people are visiting each booth or stand.


The success of a trade show exhibition heavily depends on logistics management. All materials must be prepared and ready to go in time for the show. Ensure that all materials have arrived at the venue prior to show day, as any late arrivals will cause unnecessary delays and cancellation of shows.

Organize transportation services, including ground transportation and accommodation for staff in advance. Make sure you inform relevant parties of your arrival times, so they can meet you on time and help you get set up for the show.

It’s also important to review safety regulations and guidelines with the exhibition company prior to arrival. This will ensure that your event is in compliance with all safety regulations.

Booth staff

Having the right staff at your booth during a trade show is essential for success. It is important to select people who are knowledgeable about your products and services, as they will be interacting with potential customers and answering their questions.

Be sure to bring enough staff members so everyone can spend quality time talking to visitors. For small and average-sized booths, you may need anywhere from three to five people working at them during the show.

It’s also important that all staff members dress professionally so that they can create a good impression on attendees.

When selecting booth staff, consider their experience in customer service, salesmanship, product knowledge, communication skills, and overall enthusiasm for representing your company.

Before the trade show begins, equip your staff with specific training tailored to ensure they are prepared for any situation that may occur during the trade show.

Language in International Trade Shows

If you’re participating in an international trade show, English is most likely sufficient. However, if the trade show happens in France and your aim is to attract customers from there, then it would be wise to have French-speaking staff on hand, in addition to those who speak English; after all, visitors will come from many different countries.

A treat for visitors

At European trade events, guests are typically treated to coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, wine, and/or light snacks. If you will host a special event at their booth, be sure to take advantage of any exclusive offers.

Booth attendees registration

Registering booth attendees helps exhibitors track attendance and ensure that the right people have access to their booths. There are a variety of tools for registering booth attendees, such as:

  • digital invitations – after using the digital invitation, you will see how many customers or partners used it,
  • business card registration – make notes for each card if required any additional steps such as making a phone call, delivering a sample product, or sending an email.
  • the visitor counter – for tracking easily and effectively the number of visitors to your booth.

It’s important to have a reliable registration system in place before the event starts. This will help you keep track of booth visitors and monitor their interactions with your brand so you can evaluate the success of your trade show engagement.

Installation team

Marketers have the duty of deciding who will install and dismount their stand. If the booth is simple, it can be efficiently managed by a team of booth staff. On the other hand, if your exhibition space is sizable or complex to construct, you may opt to hire an additional team or contact a design company that specializes in such services for an extra fee.

Step #3: During the Trade show

After the booth is ready and the staff is prepared, it’s time to take a short breath–you’ve come this far! Now you should ensure that all planned events and campaigns are going, all promotional materials are available for visitors and proactively tackle any potential issues.

Make photos and videos

Capture photos and videos from your trade show booth to post on social media, for live streaming, and other promotional materials.

Gather feedback and reviews

Engage in casual dialogue with attendees to gain insights on how they are enjoying the stand, what could be improved, and related topics.

Observe the visitors of the stand from the side, what they pay attention to, what interests them more, what they don’t notice, etc.

Observe other booths

Observe and study competitors’ booths, as well as the ones of other exhibitors, to gain new inspiration for your next trade show. Doing so will help you identify useful ideas and strategies that can be applied to improve your own display area.

Collect news about competitors

If you have good relationships with customers, you can chat with them about your competitors and get valuable information. Because your customers will surely visit your competitors’ booths as well.

Step #4: Follow-up

Dismounting and transporting to storage

With the end of the trade show, it is now time for the installation team to carefully dismount and transport the stand to storage. If you plan on reusing this structure at other exhibitions or events, every part must be safely taken down in order to preserve its integrity until the next time.

Costs and investments

Sum up all costs and investments. To accurately assess the Return on Investment (ROI) of participating in a trade show, it is essential to wait until after some period has passed. This is because tangible results from such an event may take time to manifest.


Gather all feedback from visitors, all stand staff, marketing team members, and any other related colleagues about:

  • stand design in general and by comparing with competitors and other exhibitors,
  • How was participation managed and structured,
  • what went wrong and how to avoid them during future participation,
  • Good things to continue.

Visitors’ Analysis

Carefully assess the usage and potential of each visitor to accurately ascertain useful contacts and beneficial business.

Analyse visitors by:

  • current customers, future customers, potential customers, etc
  • time and day attending,
  • length of stay,

Stay connected with visitors

Show your company’s appreciation to all visitors. Send out emails or messages and quickly follow through on every commitment staff has promised, such as making a call, providing supplemental materials, or dispatching sample products.

Final assessment of participation in the trade show

After a designated amount of time, assess whether or not the objectives of your trade show participation were accomplished.

The biggest mistakes made when participating in an international trade show

Not doing enough research

Without researching the industry, target audience, and competitors of an international trade show prior to participating, it is impossible to make any meaningful decisions.

Poor booth design

Insufficiently designing or constructing a booth may result in it failing to attract the desired attention.

Not having clear objectives

Before entering an international trade show, it’s important to have a clear set of objectives. Without well-defined goals, the return on investment (ROI) may be impossible to track or measure.

Not having enough staff

If there aren’t enough staff at a booth, visitors may leave without talking to anyone or getting answers.

Not marketing effectively

If the right type of promotion isn’t done prior to an international trade show, it may be difficult for attendees to find out about a particular booth or company.

Ignoring feedback

Feedback from visitors should be taken seriously and incorporated into any future plans for attending international trade shows. Listening to what customers have to say and responding to their comments is essential in order to maintain a successful trade show presence.

Not following up after the event

Last but certainly not least, it’s essential to follow up with visitors after an international trade show. This has the potential to create long-term relationships that could result in valuable business deals. Without proper follow-up, new contacts may be lost and opportunities won’t be taken advantage of.


Participating in a trade show can be an expensive and time-consuming venture, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Careful organization and follow-up after the event are key to making sure your participation is successful. If you need help organizing or managing your next international trade show appearance, our team of experienced professionals is here to provide advice and assistance. We have extensive experience participating in events around the world that will ensure you make the most out of your investment.

Comments are closed.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑