Whether you’re a veteran of the trade show circuit who attends shows year after year or you’re brand new to the scene and are looking to make a lasting impression, it all starts with projecting the right image. What people see when they look at you and your business, as well as the physical materials they take away from your booth, are going to define your business in their minds moving forward—that’s why it’s tremendously important to define your trade show materials and make sure they’re up to snuff to stand out at every event you attend.
What types of materials do you need to set yourself apart from the dozens or even hundreds of other trade show goers? Here’s a quick list of essentials and why they’re so important to invest in before you start planning your various trade show appearances:
- Exhibit booths and tabletop displays: It’s important to make a professional appearance regardless of the size of your company. There are a vast number of options available from complex interconnected backwall units and counters to pop-up displays and six-foot tabletops. Standard configurations can often be purchased or rented while custom solutions can help you stand out from the crowd. Carefully plan out your layout and message to ensure that prospects will want to learn more about your offerings and can access that information easily.
- Banners: Whether you’re unfurling your banner across the table at your booth, accenting your booth with a banner stand, or hanging it high so that it can be seen from anywhere on the floor, a banner is the number one essential piece of signage that every trade show attendee should have. A banner lets people know who you are, where on the floor you’re located and it gives your business some appeal, even if the banner just has your logo and company information.
- Flyers and handouts: When people visit your booth at a trade show, the goal is to get them to leave with something—but if you have nothing to give them, you make the task infinitely more difficult for yourself! Don’t walk into a trade show empty handed or your prospective customers are sure to walk out empty handed. Flyers and handouts are perhaps the simplest and easiest item to create and give out at a trade show—and, provided you put an engaging message and the right information on these takeaways, they could be your bridge between inquisitive stranger and prospective customer!
- Business cards: Business cards have been a staple of trade show interactions since trade shows were invented and they remain the quickest, easiest and most effective way to put your business’ name in the minds of those who may be interested in what you have to offer. More than that, business cards are a direct contact line to you, allowing people to get in touch with you via phone, email or social media. Even if a business card is the only thing you give away, it’s still a key component in helping to churn out new leads and connect you with an interested audience.
- Pamphlets and rack cards: Pamphlets and rack cards are a less-invasive, yet highly effective way to disseminate information about your business at a trade show. Rather than struggling to get them into the hands of booth visitors, you can set these materials idly by for the taking, allowing people to learn about you at their own leisure, without potentially turning them off with the hard sales pitch.
- Promotional Products: Leave a lasting impression with your visitors by investing in a promotional product that they will find useful once they head back to the office. It can be a small item that relates to your business or simply an accessory that sits on their desks. The key is to keep your company’s branding and contact information in front of them so that your trade show visitors eventually turn into profitable customers.
Keep in mind, the above are just the basic materials you should be thinking about before you start setting up for the trade show season—your needs may span further than even these! Also, it’s extremely important to consider who’s helping you design and print your materials, because even the best materials can be sullied by a poor design job or lackluster printing practices! It pays to work with a quality printer and a sound graphic design professional before you rush into printing your materials—taking the time to plan in advance and invest in quality will pay dividends when it matters most.