Budgeting, exhibit ideas & display solutions for your booth
Try these trade show tips on nearly every aspect of exhibiting. Included are ideas and solutions for displays, booth design, budgeting for a show, choosing the right shows for you, standing out from the crowd, signs, banners, getting leads, literature, and more.
* Each year you exhibit in trade shows, you should feature new products for your repeat customers. If that’s not possible for your product line, consider at least significantly updating some of your current products and showcasing them, along with some updated marketing materials. Brainstorm ways to creatively update your trade show booth display without spending a lot of money on the updates.
* For your first trade show booth display, consider renting the smallest possible booth. You’ll be learning a lot about what you do and don’t want to do in future shows, so it’s usually best to keep your expenses lower while you learn by trial and error.
* If you’re planning to go to a trade show as an attendee, find out ahead of time what identification you need to bring with you to prove that you’re in business. Many shows are closed to the general public, and without proper identification you might not be admitted to the exhibit hall.
* On your website’s home page, list your upcoming trade show locations and dates, plus your booth number at each event. Then after each trade show, be diligent about removing the event from your website so it doesn’t give the appearance that your site is never updated.
* Have a photo of your most recognizable product on your business card. You may also want to use the same photo in your trade show booth display. Trade show attendees collect dozens of business cards during the event, and when they get home it’s hard for them to remember why they wanted your card, or what you sold. A photo on your card will remind them, and will often save your business card from the wastebasket!
* Consider teaming up with related but non-competing businesses to promote each other’s products. For example, if you make bridal jewelry, you could team up with a florist, a dressmaker, and a catering business to recommend one another to your bridal customers. It’s a great system for free advertising, and a recommendation from a trusted business serving the same niche carries more weight than a paid ad in the newspaper.
* Dress up just slightly more than you expect the trade show attendees to dress. You’ll appear professional without seeming unapproachable or out of touch.
* Visit a trade show as an attendee. Network with prospects without having your own booth. In some ways this is advantageous, as your time is more free and you can leave the exhibit hall with a potential customer to have a more private meeting.
* Mail promotional materials to past and potential customers before the show. Let them know the location of the event and your booth number so they can find you easily. In your promotional material, offer them a freebie or discount for stopping by your booth.
* Investigate all trade show expenses and set a realistic budget for your travel, booth, and literature. Remember to include expenses of advertising, shipping your trade show booth display components, booth design, booth setup and take-down, and entertaining clients.
* Before reserving your trade show space or planning your exhibit, identify your customer and brainstorm some clear, quantifiable objectives. What are the customer’s needs, desires, and hopes that you can fulfill? And how many leads or sales do you plan to make at the trade show? Now plan your show and your trade show booth display to help you meet your goals and fulfill your customer’s needs.
* Create an open trade show booth display. Make it a space people can enter comfortably without feeling trapped. If you set a table across the front of your booth and stand behind it, it’s harder to draw customers in and involve them.
* Wear comfortable shoes so you can stand as much as possible at your booth. Rising out of a chair to greet visitors tends to scare them off, so being on your feet already when they approach is to your advantage. If you can’t spend an entire day on your feet, a tall stool is better than a low chair.
* Keep your trade show booth display uncluttered so customers can focus on what’s important – your product. When approaching your display, anyone should be able to discern immediately what your booth is promoting. No one is going to take the time to study it and guess, when there are hundreds of other booths to visit.
* You can usually count on the safe arrival of everything you ship to a trade show. But shipping isn’t always reliable – and what if part of your trade show booth display, your literature, or other components don’t arrive in time? Well before the show, you should come up with a plan of action for this situation, so you’ll have some recourse to salvage your presentation.
* Before planning your trade show booth display, find out everything you can about your allotted space. Know its dimensions, where it will be located in the building, what organizations will be in your neighboring booths, whether it’s in a high or low traffic area, whether you have access to lighting and electricity, and anything else that will affect your exhibit display setup.
* For displays to fit a really small budget, look for used pop up booth exhibits. You can get them for just 20 to 30 percent of the price of new units, and have a great portable booth!