Attending trade shows or outdoor expo shows is a great way to market your company and gather new leads; however, we all know that they can end up being very costly if you’re not careful on how you allocate your budget. The key to succeeding at any show is to plan accordingly so that you stay within your budget and gather as many great leads as possible. Here are some tips we’ve gathered over the years after exhibiting at many outdoor expo shows.
Spend Less on your Booth & Focus on Location
You know the saying, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Get out ahead of your events and create your marketing plan a year in advance. Select the events you will be attending for the following year and make sure to stay on top of the open registration dates, so you can reserve your spots right away. You will have the advantage of receiving an early -bird special on the booth price and be able to select a better booth location that gets the most foot traffic. Your main focus should always be the location of your booth. If you have to spend a little more on a corner booth or an island, do it! You will immediately be guaranteed to have more traffic.
Hotels & Travel
Work with the hotel deals the show is offering and book early. They will most likely give you a better deal than a hotel discount website. During the show, make sure to ask the hotel if they have a rewards program. This will help your company down the line and you will be able to use those rewards for future events with your company.
Save on Shipping & Setting Up
Shipping your booth items and paying for extra help to set up your booth can become expensive quickly. Try to find clever ways of sending all your items and avoid working with the convention’s official event manager. They are not only very expensive but sometimes delivering your items to your booth actually takes them longer than normal shipping services, which can ultimately delay your setup process. Instead, locate a Fed Ex office that is close to the convention and ship your items there for you to pickup. You and your team can easily carry the items into the convection without paying extra for the manpower. Make as much use of your team and resources as possible. If you are flying with a big team, everyone should help setup.
If you will be requiring phone lines, electricity or Wi-Fi, we recommend that you order these services as early as possible. Prices can sometimes range from $3,000 or more for electricity once you’re at the show. If you do not require higher voltages, you can always try to split the cost with your neighbor, once you get to the show. They will most likely be open to sharing the cost because, in the end, you’re saving them money too.
Present Uniquely without Spending too Much
The presentation of your booth is another key component to generating traffic. You want to stand out and create a great ambiance to genuinely attract people to your booth. There are many great ways you can do this effectively without spending too much money on fancy décor. You can start by investing in a printed table cover & a banner with your logo to help you showcase your products. Another option would be to invest the money you saved by booking early and use it to order a custom event tent or a custom printed tent with your logo printed on bright colors. It’s a one-time investment that you can keep reusing from one event to the next.
Avoid Paying for the Lead Retrieval
One of the main points of attending these shows is to generate more leads for your business. You want to make sure you gather and save those leads effectively without paying the $500 lead retrieval free that is associated when renting the lead retrieval device. Instead, we recommend researching clever ways of gathering leads, using free or low-cost apps to use with your phone. Consider Apps that make it easier to scan business cards such as CamCard, which is available for iOS, Android, and Windows or iCapture , which makes it easier for your prospective customers to input their information via surveys etc. Graham Buckley covers some great Apps recommendations in his post for Trade Show Apps For Lead Capture.
Use Marketing Material Accordingly
Start working and planning on all your marketing collateral early in the year and print brochures, shirts, etc. and all marketing material in higher quantities to save more. Designate a specified amount for every show and keep reusing whatever is left over from one show to the next. Don’t create a new presentation for every show and try to keep using the same presentation concept. Attendees will remember you better if you maintain the same consistency and presentation from one show to the next.