The opportunity to present your company’s best face at a trade show can bring in more customers, build brand recognition and network with other organizations in your field. Preparing for a trade show takes time, planning and a meticulous eye–especially when it comes to choosing the right trade show materials to showcase your company and its goals. The right materials can keep your company’s name in potential customers’ minds, which can bring you more business in the weeks and months following the show.
1.) Start planning early
You don’t want all your printed materials to arrive, only to discover the phone number or company name is incorrect. Begin planning for a trade show at least six months in advance and have your printed materials arrive no later than two months ahead of the show. This ensures that you’ll have ample time to inspect your printed products and send them back for corrections if necessary.
2.) Work within your budget
Trade shows provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase your products and services, and you want to make your booth welcoming to draw clients in. However, you need to work within your advertising budget or you can quickly spend thousands of dollars that you need for the remainder of your fiscal year.
Between travel costs, hotels and food, booth rental costs and printing materials, it’s essential to think about what will get your company’s message and personality across quickly and effectively. Choose print materials that showcase your company’s values and goals in the most cost-effective way.
If all you can afford is a table banner, brochures and business cards, make sure to design them so they inform clients of the services you provide and why they should choose you.
3.) Don’t forget the lead cards
Every business at a trade show should have lead cards handy to follow up with clients once the show is over. This is an opportunity to provide special discounts to trade show visitors and network with clients who might utilize your business regularly.
This also allows the marketing team to assess what potential clients’ needs are and begin marketing campaigns that target these areas. Lead cards can provide a wealth of data for updating business plans and creating new advertising campaigns for your company.
Your lead cards don’t need to be fancy. Include the basics, such as the client’s information, products they are interested in and an area for additional comments. This might provide some unexpected feedback your business can use for future trade shows or advertising.
4.) Bring the swag
Trade shows are not only an opportunity for clients to check out vendors who can provide the services they need, but it’s also a great time to grab some great swag. For some clients, this is the time they grab all the pens, pencils, magnets, water bottles and other items they’ll need for the year. If your business can provide unique and innovative giveaways with your name on it, it’s an opportunity for advertising wherever your potential clients go.
Pens and pencils are a great idea, but they won’t make you stand out from the crowd. Inexpensive fold-out backpacks with your company’s logo on them make a great place for clients to store their other swag, leaving your company’s name on top.
5.) Have order forms available
Have some order forms on-hand and a few laptops ready for customers to submit their orders on-the-spot. Many clients see a company that provides exactly what they want and they’re ready to order before they leave. Take advantage of these opportunities to bring in new business before the show ends. Not having a way to order may cost you a client with lots of business.
6.) Don’t discount the discount cards
In addition to your lead cards, or if a client doesn’t necessarily want to fill out a lead card, have discount cards available with a special code for trade show customers to use later. Discount cards are a great promotional tool and can give clients an incentive to follow up with your company once they return to their own business.
A trade show is an opportunity to highlight your business’s talents and professionalism for potential clients. Make sure your printed materials give clients something to remember and talk about when the show is over.