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Trade show success with less

Maximizing your trade show budget for the best outcome possible

Today more than ever exhibit managers are being asked to produce big impact shows with shoe-string budgets.  The pressure to create innovative and functional exhibit experiences with little or no money can put everyone involved into a corner. Though initially, this could seem to be a monumental task, there are a few things you can do to reduce costs and get the results you want at your next trade show event.  Who says that smaller exhibit spaces mean smaller results? Reducing your exhibits footprint can be a great move both financially and visually.

Location matters

Positioning your exhibit next to a competitor’s booth can be a great move. Maybe your business is just starting to attend shows or being strategic about the shows you are attending as an exhibitor. If you get started early you can leverage the visibility of a larger competitor’s exhibit to draw attendees into your booth space. Getting a floor space adjacent to the industry leader can really make a difference. Plan to grab your floor space as quickly as possible once the show is confirmed.

exhibit partner

Partner up

If you are not interested in reducing your footprint – consider splitting your larger space up into a couple of sections with a companion business whom you partner with often. This can allow for a larger exhibit and cut your costs in half. It is a win-win for both businesses.

Exhibitor Pre-Show Marketing

Some good pre-show planning is a good place to start.  Ultimately your goal is to attract qualified prospects to your show, and you would be surprised how some pre-show canvasing will boost your brand awareness.  Here are a handful of tips on how to succeed with pre-show planning

Targeted Marketing

Thoughtful marketing to your potential prospects will at the very least make them aware that you are attending.  Not only are you educating prospects on your brand and products, but you are also gaining visibility that will help drive traffic to your exhibit space regardless of your diminished exhibit space.

Messaging that targets potential clients as well as current users: It is always good business to keep in contact with your client database and a valuable resource to gain insight into their growing needs.  By taking this information you will be able to speak to exactly what they are interested in, increasing your show floor traffic and gaining more attention.

Sort through your CRM database and set up a schedule for timely contact through social media, email, and other avenues to show that you are interested in a business relationship.

Trade Show Exhibit Graphics and flooring

Smaller 10×10 and 10×20 – foot exhibits structures are often uninspired, unoriginal, and relatively less successful in comparison to larger trade show booths. But that doesn’t have to be the case for your space if you focus on the graphics as well!

Remember your thinking outside of the booth space to increase your success.  Your staff has rehearsed, you have messaging that targets new prospects, and clients looking to upgrade.  Your pre-show marketing has been working all angles from phone calls, emails, and social media outlets so spending a little more time on quality content and imagery can take the smallest exhibit property to new heights!  You can save a good deal of money if you are not late in producing your graphics.

Your flooring can be a really good place to help elevate your marketing, from led animations to taking that overlooked space and turning it into another wall. You can read more about that here: Seizing underfoot opportunities

Get started early so you are not rushing, work with professional agencies or graphic designers to create outstanding and thoughtful designs to grab the attention of attendees at the show. now is not the time to use inexperienced friends or family that are not formally trained as designers.

Make sure that there is a definite tie-in to your pre-show marketing materials so it is easy to spot your exhibit space and easily be seen.

Trade Show Booth Staffing

Enthusiastic and qualified staffing for your exhibit space can make or break your show.  You must have the enthusiasm and knowledgeable staff that will take those hard-earned prospects and convert them to meetings or further contacts.

Have your staff practice conversations, and make sure their body behavior lends itself to a very positive experience for the show.

Avoid the typical mistakes such as eating in the booth space, slouching, texting, and other types of behavior that can send the wrong message to show attendees. Just be professional at all times, and it will pay off.

It only takes a few qualified and motivated booth staff members to make a small space a big hit! Have fun and enjoy the time out of the office and make connections.

Conclusion

Make the most of your budget by being prepared and starting early. Now you will have the time and tools to make the most of your budget!  If your exhibit is a big hit this year, chances are that your budget will increase for your next show.

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