What Should I Bring to a Trade Show

What should I bring to a trade show?

A check list for EXHIBITORS

  1. Good Signage

Your booth is only as good as your signage. Can attendees clearly see your banner? Is the font easy to read from any angle? Does it follow your branding? Make sure that you have multiple, good quality signs to display.


  1. A Power Cord

A long power cord, ideally 30 ft to 50 ft long can be a game changer, especially if your exhibit depends on electricity. But even if it doesn’t you may be able to save the day for another exhibitor, thereby forging a valuable connection!


  1. Freebies

Everyone loves freebies! Order good quality promotional products with your company’s logo and branding scheme in advance and order more than you think you’ll need. Try to incorporate a promotional product that solves an anticipated need. Will attendees need a way to carry all the freebies they scoop up at the trade show? Branded tote bags!


  1. Branded Badges/ Clothing

While we are talking branding, its important to think about how your brand representatives will be perceived. It helps your brand if they look professional and well dressed. You can make sure they do if they are equipped with company shirts and professional badges. First impressions really do matter!


  1. Dolly Cart

A box-moving handcart with handles at one end, wheels at the base, with a small ledge to set objects on will make booth set-up and tear-down a whole lot easier. Show promoters often have one for exhibitor use, but in a large show you could be stuck waiting for that cart for a long time. Save yourself the hassle and invest in your own.


  1. Snacks & Water

Show days are often super busy. You’ll likely be making connections and working leads all day without an opportunity to stop for lunch. Prepare for this by stocking up on high protein snacks and lots of water. If possible, bring extra water bottles for potential customers or fellow exhibitors.


  1. Crisis Kit

Nothing says “amateur” like a sloppy banner falling off its fixture. To keep your smooth and professional appearance intact, prepare ahead for potential booth problems by assembling a crisis kit. Fill a lightweight toolbox with zip ties, table clamps, band aids, scissors, duct tape, chewing gum, aspirin, paperclips, etc.


  1. Contact Cards

Even in this world of digital connection, nothing beats a good old-fashioned, well-designed business card printed on quality cardstock. Solidify the leads your make at your booth by making sure the prospect walks away with your card in hand.


  1. Holders

The best promotional flyers can look messy if they are scattered all over your table haphazardly. Include stands for flyers and business card holders in your display budget. A well-organized booth reflects well on your business.


  1. A Sense of Humor

Despite all your best efforts, mistakes will happen! When things go wonky, try to find the funny, fix what you can, and move on. Take what you learn from these situations and apply it to the next trade show. You’re well on your way to becoming a seasoned trade show exhibitor!

Click here to download a free checklist for exhibitors

How To Maximize your trade show experience


How to maximize your trade show experience


Choosing to exhibit at a trade show is a big decision! There are a lot of elements to think about, including displays, staffing, promotions, etc. Strategically planning for a trade show experience will go a long way. We’ve prepared some tips to help you, as the exhibitor, to get the most out of your trade show dollars.


  1. Prepare and research

Scour the show’s website and read the vendor list. Learn as much as you can about the show and participating exhibitors. Figure out how you can stand out from the other exhibitors and which exhibitors you most want to network with. Research similar shows and familiarize yourself with brand displays. Set clear goals for


  1. Engage in social media


Visit the show’s social media channels. Like the show’s page. Read the posts and comments. Respond to comments left on the show’s posts. Begin the engagement before you ever set foot in the facility. Post about your plans to exhibit at the show and tag the page. If there is a hashtag associated with the event, make sure to use it.


  1. Make it fun or interactive


Brainstorm ways to get booth visitors interacting with your brand. Can you create a game that showcases some aspect of your services or products? You could order unique, exciting, and flashy promotional items that clearly display your logo or branding. Make it something that will be fun for attendees to wear or use. This expands your reach far beyond your booth. Encourage attendees to post on social media with the items and tag your company or use a custom hashtag. Entice by giving away a big prize to a random winner that uses the hashtag or tags the brand.


  1. Bring quality literature


Take stock of any existing brochures, fliers, price sheets, contact cards, etc beforehand. Could they use a refresh? Is all of the information current? Order new materials if needed. Consider creating show-special coupon cards for attendees to take and use with your business later.


  1. Be mindful of first impressions

Coach attending staff on body language and first impressions. Humans are hardwired to make quick first impressions and hold onto those impressions. If a customers’ first impression of your business is a disengaged employee, staring down at their phone or sitting stiffly with arms crossed, it unlikely that they will stop to engage with your brand. Bad first impressions equal less return on your investment in the show.


  1. Have an eye-catching booth


Design your booth to be visually appealing and to stand out to the crowd. Begin planning your booth long before the show, so that you can tweak it if you need to. Try to find a fresh and creative way to expand your brand.


  1. Educate staff


Make sure that your staff is fully educated about the product or service that they will be marketing at the show. Don’t send a rookie, unless it is with a seasoned staff member to shadow and learn from them. Staff should be prepared with specific answers to common questions.


  1. Prepare the pitch


Potential customers will inevitably approach the booth and ask what your company does. Staff should have a prepared elevator pitch that concisely explains what your company does. This explanation should be simple and on brand with the mission of the company. It should ideally explain specifically what issue your product or service resolves, and why customers should care.


  1. Collect contact information


This can be as simple as a sign-up sheet collecting customer’s email addresses. A good way to convince customers to sign up is to turn it into a contest, by having customers providing their contact information to enter a giveaway.


  1. Follow up with your leads!


Send follow up messages to leads from the trade show as soon as possible, while the show (and your product or service) is still top of mind. Don’t forget to reach out to network connections made at the show and let them know how much you appreciated the interaction. They likely made many connections at the show, so a prompt and sincere follow up will help you stand out.