Planning for a trade show can be an exhausting process that involves many moving parts spread out over several months. However, the end result will be enjoyable and profitable with a knowledgeable booth team and an energetic atmosphere around your exhibit. Whether this is your first time exhibiting or your hundredth, check out this quick list of things to bring with to make the most out your expo experience:
1. Swag - People want something to remember you by! Don't forget to bring key chains, hats, coffee mugs, or anything else with your logo on it to help attendees remember their experience with your brand! Their bags will be spilling with giveaways, so think of something they'll be sure to dig out the next day and can continue using in the future.
2. Printed Marketing - Though some may call it old fashioned, printed materials such as flyers, brochures, and case studies can capture the eye of passing traffic and help draw new opportunities into your booth. It's also a way for them to learn more about your company without talking to someone, while you're occupied, or after they've left the event.
3. Business Cards - Whether they're general company cards or those of your individual sales team, make sure to have plenty handy. They should also be placed at your booth tables and displays so they can be picked up on the go.
4. Free Food - The best way to draw a crowd is free food or drinks (or both)! Attendees will be on their feet non-stop, and need energy-boosts to keep up their stamina throughout the event. Whether you supply it in your booth or sponsor a spread at a special event, make sure to make it known!
5. Promotional Materials - To get the full value out of your free food, lectures, demonstrations, or other branded event investment, make sure to develop promotional materials that can be shared to get the word out around the show.
6. Product Samples or Demo Materials - The visitors to your booth are there to engage with your product and brand. Be sure to have product samples or demo materials ready at all times, along with and a fully-prepped team ready to deliver a presentation at a moment's notice. This is a huge opportunity to demonstrate the value of your product. It might take your sales team 2-3 meetings before they reach this stage of the sales cycle.
7. Flowers and Plants- Though we generally don't notice them, flowers and other plants around the booth add to the positive atmosphere. Plants are also able to enhance any booth theme, whether you're promoting a fresh green product, a new contemporary technology, or even a traditional and trusted brand name.
8. Bluetooth Speaker- No better way to set the mood then for a little music. Whether you've got a company jingle or just some general tunes, having background music helps make visitors more relaxed and comfortable at your booth. This is also a way to use your market knowledge of your buyer personas and focus on the music genre they're interested in.
9. Special Lighting- Maybe don't go with a full on rockstar light show, but a few colored lights here and there helps attract visitors to your booth and creates a fun atmosphere. They can also be used to highlight your key displays and can be automated to change based on attendee traffic and dwell time.
10. Pens- It's better if they have your logo on them! Make sure that you always have one on you so you can make notes on the business cards you collect and follow-up with a personal touch from the conversation you had in the booth.
11. Scotch Tape- For putting up your promotional materials! You also never know when you'll need a minor repair, as trade shows get a lot of heavy wear from in-and-out traffic over the short period of time.
12. Extension cord- There are never enough power outlets, and you don't want to be caught with an offline display (especially one you purchased for this specific purpose). the expo operators will likely have some available for rental the day-of, but they're hard to track down and can be expensive.
13. Stapler- Keep organized during breaks! You'll thank yourself during tear-down and especially when you get back to your office and are working through everything you've accumulated.
14. Scissors- These are essential for booth setup and teardown! You'll be opening new packages of materials and displays, and scissors will really come in handy as a time-saver, not to mention they'll save your fingers from having to tear through all that plastic and cardboard.
15. Medicine- For the headache that comes on after 8 hours of standing. You'll likely also be running low on sleep as there are many unofficial mixers that you should be taking advantage of before and after the event.
16. Comfortable Shoes- A 100% necessary item. You'll be standing on your feet for at least 8 hours, and this is the only way you'll stay active. While you might want to look your best, people will not be eager to talk to you if you look like you're in pain.
17. Multi-Surface Wipes- As any veteran exhibitor will tell you, trade show booths get messy more quickly than you'd think. Keep your exhibit fresh by using these on display tables, by food stations, or even on your monitor screens so every attendee gets the first-visitor experience.
18. Digital Camera- Capture all the special moments and don't be shy to share them on social media! These are also great for your marketing team to use in their newsletters, the events page of your website, or blogs and articles on the show.
19. Tool Kit- Just in case for those who have an installation team, but highly necessary for those bootstrapping and putting up their own exhibit. All of the displays and stands will come together much faster with a screwdriver and an allen wrench.
20. A Good Attitude- The classic way to attract visitors: a nice smile! If you're not excited about your company, why should anyone else be? Represent your brand with confidence and spread that energy to everyone that walks into your booth.
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