What You Need for a Trade Show Booth

Spring is high season for trade and career shows. These events can be a great way to highlight your company in a more personal way than your website and social media. Purchasing a table or "booth" will cost you time and money so you want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Here is what you need to know to make your event a success.

  1. Prepare Early: Ideally 1-2 months ahead of time. Designing and ordering necessary materials takes time. Chances are if you are looking for advice though, you probably just signed up for a show and you have very little time to prepare. Do not fear, you can still pull it together this time, and you will now have a head start on your next event.
  2. Your Booth is a Reflection of Your Organization: Your tables set-up is a direct reflection of your company. If you want someone to buy from you, or think about working for you, this is often their first look into what your company "looks like". At a bare minimum you should have a floor length tablecloth and a branded table runner with your logo. If your booth fee doesn't include a tablecloth, make sure to ask the size before you purchase one. You also need a retractable, floor length banner. The banner should include your logo, your tagline and a simple message. There are lots of sizes and options to fit your budget and marketing goals. Here is one that is 10’ wide and covers the entire span of your booth.
  3. You Also Need to Look Good: You might be the first person attendees have ever met from your company. You need to look polished and professional. This can vary by industry. Financial companies will look quite different than a high tech company. In general, wear what you would wear to a business meeting. Matching shirts that are embroidered with your company logo gives a very polished look and, helps coordinate with your booth. You can't go wrong with a polo shirt or button down. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes- you will be standing all day long.
  4. Giveaways: You are competing for attention with 100's if not 1000's of other vendors, so you need to give attendees a reason to walk up to your table. Everyone loves free stuff and if yours is different, useful or fun, you have a higher chance of people stopping by your booth. 88% of promotional product recipients remember the name of the advertiser on the products (Promotional Products Work). Have your giveaway tie into your company, industry or current marketing campaign. Think about how they will use this product after the event. Are your clients road warriors and in the car all the time? How about a phone mount for their car vent? A travel coffee mug is great for everyone- it is a walking advertisement.
  5. Presentation Material: Once you have drawn them over to your table with a cool giveaway, and you have chatted them up on your service or job opening, you need to send them away with some printed material. Again, attendees will be talking to vendors for hours and likely have a hard time remembering who said what after the event has ended. In addition to your business card, popular items range from a 8.5"x11" glossy sales sheet, to a rack card to a pocket folder. No matter what you give out, make sure you get their information yourself so you can follow-up directly. Having a raffle can also help gather business cards for this purpose.
  6. Survival Kit: It is a long day, so be prepared for the unknown. I always bring with me tape, duct tape, scissors, pens, markers, extension cords, a power strip, cell phone and laptop charger. You should also pack water and some snacks. Most events will likely have a courtesy table, but often times you are too busy to step away and grab that much needed hydration and fuel.

Still feel overwhelmed or not sure where to start? A reputable marketing and promotional products company can help walk you through the basics by helping you identify your event goals, recommending vendors and products.  Give us a call! 410-26-1314!

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