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What Do I Need for a Trade Show? 8 Must-Haves

 © mitifoto / FotoliaTrade shows, although a great opportunity, can be a considerable marketing investment. Between space rental, design and construction of trade show displays, travel, accommodations, promotional materials and give-a-way items, the costs to participate can add up quickly. Many people hesitate on showcasing their business at an exhibition for the fear that they may not get out of it what they put in.

Whether the trade show is large or small, near or far, here are eight must-haves that you will need to be successful and to maximize your return on investment.

#1 – Thirty Second Commercial – You may only have a short amount of time to speak to each person who stops by your booth. Make sure you have a quick 30 second pitch memorized that describes what your company does while emphasizing how your services or products benefit consumers. Think about your competitive advantages when developing your commercial – what do you do better than the rest?

NO - "We are a landscaping company servicing homes and businesses."
YES - "We are a full service landscaping company. Anything from gardening and mulching to tree removal and land fill. We will visit your home or business the same day you call. The next day we will have an estimate to you and let you know when we can start transforming your outdoor area into the beautiful space you envision."

#2 – Business Cards – This is an obvious must-have, but nonetheless it is one of the most important must haves. It is also imperative that your card stands out. During the exhibition, attendees will be gather business cards from many other vendors. Not all attendees will make decisions to buy your company’s products or services right then and there. They will likely revisit their options and when they go sifting through their stack of business cards, your unique card will be easily spotted.

#3 - Professional Banner - Every booth needs a banner, something that says who you are and the general nature of your business. If you do not have one already, get yourself a large, crisp looking banner, and for your sake one that is easy to set up. The banner should include your logo and any text should be big enough to be seen from a distance. Keep the font and color scheme consistent with the rest of your branding, while ensuring that the banner is easy to read.

#4 – Give-A-Ways – Everyone loves something tangible to take with them after they leave a booth. I am sure that all of us have at least one branded pen in our home or office at this very moment. The key here is to make sure that the item you are giving away will be used by consumers. Pens are a dime a dozen so choose something that will not only stand out, but that will be repeatedly used in the future. When it comes time to purchase, they will be more likely to remember your business.

5 – Prize Drawing – Yes, your contact information is important, but the contact information of visitors is just as important. You may be in the situation where there are more visitors at your booth than there are representatives. You certainly don’t want a potential client to walk away. By offering a prize of some sort, you encourage the people you cannot talk to, to leave behind their contact information to order to win the prize. You may not have had the time to speak to them that day, but you always have time to follow up with them after.

#6 – Visuals – Showcase your best work! Provide a visual for attendees to show them the types of products or services you provide. For companies that sell tangible products, showcase your top selling products and leave them out for display. It makes a difference when people can actually touch and hold an item verses looking at them in a brochure. For companies that provide services, bring a laptop with you. Create a slideshow of photos of your best work or play demonstration videos on how your service works.  If you can provide real-time demonstrations on site – even better!

#7 Ample Staff - You never want to be the lone soldier at your trade booth unless it is very small. You can only talk to one person at a time. Picture this scenario – you are already engaged in a conversation, you notice you are running out of give-a-way items on the table and the same is happening with your brochures. Now other people are approaching then leaving because you are busy talking and without literature available there is no way for them to learn about your business.  Heaven forbid you have to use the restroom at this point. You need a team at your booth – not only for replenishment, but to demonstrate that you are professional, well prepared, and that talking with potential clients is the priority.

#8 Brochures, Catalogs, and Flyers – Some people either do not have a lot of time to talk or are just plain shy. You need to make sure you have these items out on your table so that visitors can take them with them. These literature pieces tell potential clients all about your company, your work, and the solutions you have to offer them. Make sure these marketing materials are available and make sure you bring extras.

Now that you know the must-haves for a successful trade show booth, make sure you turn it into a checklist.  When you’re ready for your first or next trade show, don’t forget that Avalon has all the capabilities to make it look your company stand out from the rest!  

If you liked this blog you might also be interested in reading: Postcard Mailings: Your Pocket and the Post Office


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