Exhibiting at a trade show on a razor-tight budget can be a stressful process – particularly if you are exhibiting for the first time. There are a variety of tactics you can implement easily to reduce your budget without hurting your brand’s visibility and overall investment.
Let’s take a look at some sound advice and suggestions that will help you extend your trade show exhibits budget. Redirecting those savings to work in other areas that can promote and generate brand exposure for your business.
Register and book your trade show plans early.
The closer to the event you register, the more you will likely need to pay extra to take part. Registering late for a trade show also limits your exhibit location options on the show floor. This means you may need to pay a premium for a location on the event floor that is less than ideal.
Spend your budget efficiently by registering for every trade show as early as you can. It is also prudent to book hotels, transportation, and storage ahead of time to lock in low rates and save as much of your budget as possible.
First time exhibiting? Use a rental exhibit option.
Buying a trade show booth can be a superb decision, provided you have got a long series of events lined up in which you plan to use it. However, as a first-time exhibitor, it is usually a much better decision to rent your booth instead of buying.
Rental exhibits let you save money in the short term, all while eliminating extra costs such as booth storage and maintenance. In short, you can save money while focusing on the event, rather than worrying about post-event tasks. Rental exhibits also have a thorough preshow setup and inventory which will help avoid unexpected issues that self-stored exhibits tend to have.
Avoid costly giveaways and hold contests in their place.
One of the most common trade show attention-generating strategies is to give away products for free – typically, cheap items like pens, dancing robots, or flash drives. While these usually do not cost much per unit, the total cost of a giveaway can quickly add up throughout an event. Another downside to these grab-and-leave tchotchkes is the congestion of unqualified traffic in your exhibiting space.
One fantastic solution is to hold a contest instead of giving away hundreds of cheap items. Offer the chance to win a much more expensive and desirable item possibly from your business. Engage with your attendees, and get them involved with your brand and the contest item in particular.
Use your social media outlets to promote your events.
Does your business have a social media presence? If so, leverage it to drive existing customers and fans of your business to your trade show booth, all without the usual cost of advertising. Consider offering an incentive if they post an image at the show on their Instagram or Facebook page in your show space. Extend your show presence through others – it is a great way to connect with loyal patrons.
From blog posts to Facebook updates, use your social media presence to your advantage as a promotional tool for every trade show you attend. You will be surprised how many people drop by after reading a status update or seeing an Instagram photo of your team at the event.
Downsize your exhibit to reduce your total costs.
Large booths can generate bigger costs, both in terms of putting together the exhibiting and booking space in the exhibition hall. If you are exhibiting at a trade show for the first time, trim expenses by downsizing your exhibit to a more manageable size.
There is nothing wrong with exhibiting in a smaller booth space, and the reduced costs of a exhibit rental can help you extend other areas within your budget and still generate a positive ROI from the event.
Choose local or geographically close events with minimal travel.
Traveling to and from a trade show can be an expensive process, especially if you need to bring a large exhibit with you. Because of this, one of the easiest ways to spend less at your first trade show is to choose a local event.
Often, a small local event can produce better results than a larger regional one, provided you’re focused on ROI rather than total revenue generated from the trade show.
Negotiate for a better deal – it never hurts to ask.
Just like any purchase, it is never a bad idea to negotiate when you are preparing for a trade show or other event. From discounts on your exhibiting materials to early-bird pricing for your hotel rooms, asking for a better deal can often result in you receiving one.
Negotiation probably will not cut your trade show exhibit expenses by much, however, it could help you save a good amount of expense within your total budget, giving you more money to spend on lead generation and driving traffic at your event.
Taking the time and being prepared well ahead of your next event is key to saving time, money, and reducing any chances of mishaps. These simple steps and suggestions can extend your budget and help build a more robust event budget for a full year of exhibiting.
Matt Smith has been a professional Graphic and User Experience Designer for over 30 years who works closely with trade show and event companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Denver Colorado.