11 Must Haves In Your Franchise Trade Show Preparation Checklist

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When you are attending a franchise trade show event, it’s important to properly prepare. Our franchise trade show preparation checklist includes essentials for exhibiting better on the trade show floor. Trade shows often blend marketing, networking, and advertising into one, so they can be competitive and intimidating events. However, whether you’re a fresh new startup or an experienced enterprise company, trade show marketing is a great way to generate exposure and growth for your franchise business but it’s the planning and commitment to making your trade show tactics a success that will provide you with results. This franchise trade show checklist allows you to stay on track and well prepared to nail your trade show strategy.

1. Talk with Your Network to Discover the Best Shows

Networking will be essential during the tradeshow. The best way to discover the best shows is the top with your network and create a discussion around the event. Other business people who have attended previous shows are ideal candidates for feedback. If this is your first tradeshow, you probably don’t know much about trade show success. This is why it’s so important to get to know your booth neighbors, so to speak, and build those connections so that you can learn and grow as a business.

2. Have a Primary Goal in Mind

Your primary goal is the most important thing that you hope to accomplish with your trade show marketing strategy. There are lots of benefits to doing an exhibit at a tradeshow for a franchise, but you have to know what you are ultimately hoping to accomplish through the event. That ultimate goal may even include multiple objectives. Some of the most common franchise trade show goals include things like:

  • Networking with interested candidates for expanding the franchise
  • Getting sales on the tradeshow floor and expanding our customer base
  • Networking with other tradeshow booths and building connections with industry leaders and influencers
  • Finding serious investors that can provide capital for the business
  • Doing market research and competitive analysis on other attendees

3. Design a Booth That Is Memorable

the design of your booth is key to leaving a lasting impression on everyone at the tradeshow. As part of your trade show strategy, you need to take the design of the booth extremely serious. You can think of trade show tactics like an open house. There is no way to sell the house if you aren’t able to attract people and generate interest. The booth should be a clean environment that’s welcoming and captures the attention of anyone who passes by. You can do this by investing in lighting, putting your design skills to the test, or using attention-grabbing headlines. The actual layout of the booth is equally important. Tablecloths, decorations, hard walls that display your logo clearly, these are all things that can have an impact.

4. Don’t Give Yourself the Option to Sit

You should remove all chairs from the area. You don’t want to give yourself the option to sit and rest. Sitting is a very unwelcoming image and it will not attract new customers while passing by. It also gives the perception that you’re not getting any more business and have decided to take a rest. A small booth doesn’t really provide room for chairs anyway, so this should be an easy sacrifice to make.

5. Talk to the Floor Manager

Many shows will provide discounts for first-time attenders. You can talk to the floor manager to find out about the specials and other things that you might want to take advantage of. You can even inquire with the floor manager about his recommendations for booths. With local franchise marketing events, every tradeshow is different. The floor manager might have inside information about where your booth should be located and who should be surrounding you.

6. Use Promotional Items to Promote Your Brand

Promotional items are a great trade show marketing strategy. They are often used outside of events, for building a brand and expanding your image in a local community. However, by using items like headbands, T-shirts, and other clothing, you can create a lasting and memorable image for your business. This is a great way to draw attention to your booth and look extra motivated.

7. Have a Call to Action

When you have someone who is interested in your booth, what’s your process for converting them and gaining their business? This is called your call to action and it’s essential that you have a clearly defined call to action as part of your trade show checklist. You should already know what your primary objectives and goals are for the event, so simply keep these in mind and create a call to action funnel that encourages those results. Do you want people to sign up for more information? You can have a call to action that gets people to fill out a short quiz with their information. Whatever your goals are, make sure that your booth has rehearsed a pitch that provides this for your business.

8. Provide Giveaways to Encourage Interest

Everyone loves free stuff. Giveaways are a great way to encourage interest. By providing something that your booth can give away to people who are interested, you have a huge attraction to your brand. Often times, one of the best giveaways is candy or free food. You can also customize a promotional battery charger, flash drive, product catalog, or something useful for your audience to take advantage of. The item that you give away should be universally useful. This means something that everyone who approaches your booth can have an interest in. It also means that you should provide variety with your handouts so that visitors have options and there is something for everyone. As trade show marketing ideas go, free giveaways and handouts are among the best.

9. Come Prepared with All of the Booth Items You Need

Booth items are essential to your trade show success. You need to come prepared with things like signage, promo items, business cards, business card holders, nametags, table linens, presentation media, and much more. When attending a local franchise marketing event, you want to have more supplies and be well prepared for anything that could come your way. You also need to bring a variety of office supplies as part of your franchise trade show checklist. Office supplies like pens, pencils, scissors, sharpies, notepads, rubber bands, paper clips, staplers, tape and more can be useful throughout the event.

10. Use Electronics and Technology to Capture Attention

Electronics and technology can be used to capture the attention of visitors and give them a reason to check out your booth. As one of the top trade show marketing tactics, items like computers, TVs, tablets, iPads, and other popular technology can be very powerful. However, it also means that extension cords and appropriate connection cables will need to be a part of your trade show checklist.

Recommended reading: Small Business trade show apps and software to capture leads


11. Create a Contact List

One of your most important goals for local franchise marketing is to develop a list of contacts. Networking is essential to being successful with trade show marketing. By getting out there and talking with other booths, building relationships with the visitors that are interested in your booth, and creating a contact list, you can then follow up with these leads after the event.

One of the apps that we love using is the Onspot Social App. It’s an iPad app that gives you the power to collect emails, increase leads, and increase social media following directly from your trade show booth on your iPad. – Bill Ross, Linchpin SEO


We hope that this trade show checklist will help you prepare properly for the event and know how to execute once you arrive. When you are doing franchise trade show preparation, always remember that your trade show marketing ideas should be unique and memorable. With so many different booths and so much variety, it’s important to stand out and have an edge over your competitors.

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