7 Spot On Trade Show Marketing Myths

Myths are everywhere – from mythical creatures like unicorns or mermaids, lightning never strikes in the same place twice, dogs’ mouths are cleaner than our mouths – but that’s not they type of myths were talking about. Today we’re debunking a few of the most common trade show marketing myths, with a few compelling stats to back them up. Brace yourself, because it’s about to get real. 

Myth #1:
IF YOU’VE BEEN TO ONE TRADE SHOW, YOU’VE BEEN TO THEM ALL
If you agree with this statement, then your trade show marketing efforts are already in jeopardy. You’re success at a trade show has everything to do with the ability to reach the target audience interested in what you have to offer. And unfortunately if you don’t know where to reach them, it’s highly likely you aren’t getting much by attending. In your early planning process, look over the attendee and exhibitor data for any shows you’re considering attending to find out whether that show is the right one to market your brand.

84% of exhibitors say “High quality of attendees” is the most important factor when deciding whether to exhibit or expand booth size. Also, 54% say “favorable return-on-investment,” is an important factor when deciding to exhibit or expand booth size, while 50% consider “Positive past performance” and important factor. Source: CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions

Myth #2:
YOU DON’T PARTICIPATE AFTER HOURS
Trade shows are often held in some of the highly populated, most desirable cities in the US. However, you must resist the urge to wander around the city on your own time because this trip is all business and you don’t get leads by sightseeing.

About 50% of the largest 200 shows in the USA take place in just 3 cities: Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando. Source: TSNN.com, The Trade Show News Network

You’re there for one reason and one reason only: to develop relationships, build new contacts, and turn those contacts into customers. And every activity you undertake while there should support this goal. Attending after-hours trade show events offer a huge opportunity to network and get your name out there, but keep in mind you’re representing your company and your approach to these events should always remain professional. Consider passing on that second glass of beer or wine so you’re able to listen carefully to hear the sound of opportunity knocking.

Myth #3:
THERE’S NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT TRADE SHOW MARKETING
Many companies only consider the physical aspect of attending a trade show: setting up a booth, displaying some marketing collateral and showing a few samples of your products. This is the wrong approach. Start by understanding why you’re attending trade shows in the first place and who you’re marketing to.

45% of attendees visit only one exhibition per year. So when you exhibit at a show you will find unique prospects there you can’t reach at other trade shows. Source: CEIR Report ACRR 1152.12

You can’t just show up, stand in your booth and hand out brochures to everyone passing by. The whole point of a trade show is to engage with attendees, capture leads, and if you’ve prepared you might even meet with new prospects eager to hear more about what you have to offer. The success of your marketing efforts at any trade show takes proper planning well before the show.

Myth #4:
ANYONE CAN STAFF A BOOTH
Sending Sandy from accounting or Bob from human resources to staff your booth at a trade show might not be the best idea. Booth staffers should be energetic and excited to tell everyone about your company, products or services. To ensure you’ve chosen effective trade show booth staffers, they should be well-trained in what your goals are for each and every show. There’s nothing worse than investing time and money in a booth, incurring shipping and travel expenses, only to have your booth staff standing around and not engaging with attendees walking by.

Myth #5:
TRADE SHOWS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
Of course if you’ve been unsuccessful at trade shows in the past you may feel they are a waste of time or that they take you away from more important business at the office. Consider these stats for a moment:

According to a recent survey, more than 75% of tradeshow attendees ask for quotes at the show, more than 22% are likely to sign an agreement with an intent to order AND 99% of marketers said they found unique value from trade shows they did not get from other marketing mediums.

Does that sound like a waste of time to you? You must always remember the outcome, whether positive or negative, has a direct correlation to the effort you put in. If you approach a show as a positive opportunity, you are more likely to get those positive results and continue reaping the benefits weeks and months after.

Myth #6:
TRADE SHOW LEADS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
We get it, leads can seem like a waste of time if: a) You ask attendees to drop their business card in a bowl to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card, b) You’re not taking notes when talking to potential customers so you can send them more information after the show, or c) You wait until a month or two after the show to contact leads. Lead quality is a direct byproduct of your pre-show planning, proper booth staff training and timely post-show followup.

The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products. It has been the number one reason to attend for 25 years! So trade shows are a great place to introduce or feature your newest products. Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face

Trade shows offer a captive audience interested in your products or services. It would be a rare instance if you acquired a new lead while grabbing a cup of coffee, walking to the bathroom or chatting it up with co-workers. Lead generating takes time and a lot of patience. You have to be at the top of your game, because right after you hooked that lead they can (and will) walk down the aisle and fall right into your competitors arms.

Myth #7
SMALLER BRANDS DON’T STAND OUT AT LARGE TRADE SHOWS
You’ve heard the saying “small fish, big pond” but when it comes to trade shows, it’s every man for himself – small business or big brand. Small businesses simply need to be more strategic in their trade show marketing and when choosing the shows they attend. If budget is an issue, consider more targeted shows or smaller regional shows for now. Later on down the road, as your business grows so will your trade show budget. The opportunity to exhibit in the larger shows can be something to look forward to in the future and compete with the big guys at an even level.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Trade shows are an important aspect to your marketing strategy offering the opportunity to network with other people in your industry, form new relationships with potential clients and promote your business in a completely different way. Trade shows should simply be a way of life because it has the potential to be the lifeblood of your business.

Our Best Tips, Tricks & Secrets for a Successful Trade Show

Does it seem to you that some businesses have it all together when exhibiting at a trade show? Almost like they have the secret recipe for networking and bringing back a positive return on investment.

Their secret is it’s no secret at all, it’s simply this:

A successful trade show is measured by how much effort you want to put into it.

Yes you read that right. Sounds simple, or is it. Being that we are a trade show display company, we’ve attended many and have seen a thing or two at different trade shows. So here’s our best tips, tricks & secrets for a successful trade show.

#1 Find out who will be attending
Most trade shows provide an attendee or exhibitor list in advance. This is very valuable information. Before the show, figure out which contacts you think may be interested in your business. Consider reaching out to let them know you’d love to meet them and encourage them to stop by your booth. Don’t make the mistake of spamming their inbox by selling your product or service right away though. Keep the first contact with them cordial and personal.

#2 Be physically prepared
Trade shows are known to be draining, mentally and physically. If you’re an extrovert, you might not have any trouble with the busy, sometimes chaotic atmosphere. But if you’re more of an introvert, you could find your energy depleted halfway through the day.

Get a good night’s rest before the event and stay hydrated during the event. Steer clear of alcohol if it’s being served as this will just wear you down. You’re going to be standing and interacting with people for hours on end, so try to get out for some fresh air to clear your mind and get your blood pumping.

#3 First impressions are everything – no, really

Make a first good impression

Yes, we are going to say it…You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Studies show that your first impression has a high correlation with the long-term status of your relationship. Our first opinion of someone forms in only one tenth of a second and you only have 3 seconds to grab the attention of potential customers.

This doesn’t only apply to your personality and appearance though, it also applies to your trade show display set-up. We realize not all companies have a big trade show budget, but one thing that should never be left to chance is the trade show display representing your company.

Other than the timing of your first impression, whatever you do don’t sit down in your booth. You should always be face-to-face when greeting attendees as this implies you’re excited to be there, which makes them excited to be there. If you need a break, walk away and sit outside or sit in a common area. And don’t leave drinks and food around the booth either.

#4 Make your trade show booth stand out
Most trade shows will provide you with a 6ft or 8ft folding table, but they do not provide a table cover. Make sure to get one that complements your display and represents your company’s image and color scheme nicely. Arrange the items on your trade show display table in levels. Put the larger items at the rear, shorter items in front of those, and even shorter items in front of those. It make seem obvious, but you want to make sure your table looks organized.

Use a stand-alone presentation board, table top display, pop up display or banner stand to highlight your business with photos, and also show how clients can benefit by using your products or services. Be creative with photos and designs t insure your company will stand out from your neighbors. Just be sure your company name and logo are more than obvious within the design. Your goal is to get noticed, not ignored.

#5 Welcome your visitors with a smile

“Show us your smile”

This is quite possibly the most important tip: be friendly and inviting. Say “Hello” to those walking by or that turn and look toward you or your trade show booth. Strike up a conversation, small talk and be sure to have a short introductory speech ready. And remember to have fun!

#6 Use video or slide show presentations to draw attention
Develop a video or slideshow presentation to display on TV monitors in your booth. There are various stands and racks available for mounting flat screens for trade shows or you can rent or borrow this equipment if you don’t already have it. Your visitors will find this visually appealing, and it will draw their attention into your booth.

#7 Have plenty of giveaways – and business cards
Be sure to pack plenty of trade show giveaways such as brochures, pens, magnets, and anything else that has your company name and/or logo on it. The use of a display rack for showing your flyers, specials, brochures, and such is an inexpensive way to organize the clutter. And don’t forget your business cards! Your business card is basically an invitation for extended conversation beyond the trade show and at the very least a reminder of who you are.

Most people who attend trade shows are expecting to take home some sort of goodie. If you’re looking for something different to give away, pre-packaged food with your company contact information on it is an easy giveaway.

#8 Follow up fast
Follow up with leads a day or two after the show. It’s the most dreadful job after exhibiting at a show but it is also the one task that allows you to rate your ROI and decide of a particular trade show is worth going to in the future. Get back with people quickly. Even better, set appointments during the show so you are on your prospects calendar. Trust us, the longer you wait the longer they have to forget who you are and what you said.

It might seem odd, but people really don’t have many interactions at trade shows. And as much as you want to believe yours were different or epic, trade shows can be somewhat of a whirlwind and it’s tough to remember everyone’s name and product after the show.

Final Tip
Give it your all, every time. Take plenty of time to prepare, because trade shows are a big investment so make it worth it. We understand standing at a trade show sounds easy; but it’s far from easy. It requires a ton of planning and hard work, but it’s also a beneficial marketing opportunity that can provide huge benefits if done right. Plan well, have fun, and be open to interacting with new people, because you never know who you’ll meet.

Finally, after it’s all said and done, learn from your mistakes, keep tabs on what worked and what didn’t, make adjustments, and get ready for the next show!

What is a Trade Show?

A trade show is an event created with the intent to bring together members of a particular industry to share, demonstrate and discuss their latest products and services. Major trade shows usually take place in large convention centers in populated cities and typically last several days. Local business to business trade shows are smaller and might be held at a local arena or hotel to allow area businesses to establish connections with local prospects.
The main purpose of a trade show is to bring members
together of a similar trade or industry.
Some trade shows, which could also be referred to as a fair, trade exhibition, or expo, limit attendees and exhibitors to only those of the industry. For example, the Consumer Electronics Show, tries to limit attendees to professionals in the electronics and technology fields. However, America’s Largest RV Show restricts attendance to industry members for the first few of days but then opens its doors to the public for the remaining time.

What Happens at Trade Shows

Trade shows provide an exhibit space for your company to showcase your products or services. Once at the show, you’ll receive a schedule of the days happening, such as workshops or presentations featuring speakers knowledgable in your industry. There are opportunites to interact with the media during networking events to promote your business online or on TV. Private or VIP exhibitor events are also held (for an additional fee) and awards presentations on the last day crowning “Best of Show”.

Exhibiting at trade shows provide a different setting to meet potential new customers, reinforce existing relationships with dealers and distributors. It’s essentially the ultimate in networking events.

Attending a trade show allows you to become familiar with the latest and greatest in your industry. It also gives you the opportunity to snag some good deals with special “show pricing” or educate yourself on the newest trends coming up.

Costs to Participate in a Trade Show

The cost to exhibit at or simply attend a trade show vary greatly, typical expenses include.

For Exhibitors

  • Booth space rental fee
  • Design and production of a professional trade show display
  • Shipping costs
  • Costs to unload booth and move onto show flow, called drayage
  • Travel and accommodations for booth staff
  • Marketing materials, handouts, giveaways, samples, promotional items

For Attendees

Attendees still have expenses, but they are a fraction of what it costs to exhibit. Attendee expenses would include an attendance fee to get in the show, along with any travel and accomodations for staff in attendance. This is a fraction of the cost to set up a booth at the show so often times smaller companies choose to simply attend the show and network.

Popular Trade Show Venues

America’s 5 Largest Convention Centers to Host Your Next Event

    • McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.
    • Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.
    • Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.
    • Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, KY.
    • New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.

Find Trade Shows Now!

TOP 14 Noteable Trade Shows happening this month:

Washington Auto Show
www.washingtonautoshow.com
APR 05 – APR 14, 2019
Washington, DC
Attendees: 950,000
Exhibitors: 125

National Association of Broadcasters – NAB Show
www.nabshow.com
APR 06 – APR 11, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 89,313
Exhibitors: 1,581

Craft Brewers & BrewExpo America®
www.craftbrewersconference.com
APR 08 – APR 11, 2019
Denver, CO
Attendees: 13,000
Exhibitors: 800

Fire Department Instructors Conference – FDIC
www.fdic.com/index.html
APR 08 – APR 13, 2019
Indianapolis, IN
Attendees: 28,061
Exhibitors: 821

Aviation Week MRO Americas
mroamericas.aviationweek.com/en/home.html
APR 09 – APR 11, 2019
Atlanta, GA
Attendees: 10,000
Exhibitors: 800

ISC West – Security Solutions
www.iscwest.com
APR 10 – APR12, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 36,771
Exhbitors: 1,009

Specialty Coffee Conference & Exhibition
www.coffeeexpo.org
APR 11 – APR 14, 2019
Boston, MA
Attendees: 8,025
Exhibitors: 425

American College of Physicians – Internal Medicine – ACP
www.annualmeeting.acponline.org
APR 11 – APR 13, 2019
Philadelphia, PA
Attendees: 10,000
Exhibitors: 325

National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA
www.s6.goeshow.com/nsta/national/2019/index.cfm
APR 11 – APR 14, 2019
St. Louis, MO
Attendees: 14,000
Exhbitors: 500

Army Aviation Association of America – AAAA
www.quad-a.org/19Summit
APR 14 – APR 16, 2019
Nashville, TN
Attendees: 8,000
Exhibitors: 300

New York International Auto Show
www.autoshowny.com
APR 19 – APR 28, 2019
New York, NY
Attendees: 1,000,000
Exhibitors: 185

National Catholic Educational Association – NCEA
www.ncea.org/NCEA2019
APR 23 – APR 25, 2019
Chicago, IL
Attendees: 4,965
Exhibitors: 443

International Sign Expo – ISA
www.signexpo.org
APR 24 – APR 26, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 20,140
Exhibitors: 589

National Rifle Association – NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits
www.nraam.org
APR 26 – APR 28, 2019
Indianapolis, IN
Attendees: 87,154
Exhibitors: 838

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Our company is a family owned and operated company and as such, we have deep-seated family values and we focus on quality and on offering our clients a top choice of eye-catching and appealing tradeshow exhibits and displays. If you are interested in purchasing a portable pop up trade show display for your next trade show or event, contact us here!

Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook to see more of our portable displays and banner stand options!

 

Product Showcase: Pop Up Displays

Built since 1999, our premium brand 1UP Pop up displays have been exclusively produced by Affordable Exhibit Displays, Inc. With it’s classic curve appeal this trade show display series combines big strength and reliability in a compact size. Our complete line of portable display packages have everything you need to start promoting your business and brand.

DOWNLOAD NOW: Pop Up Display Comparison Sheet

First, choose your size: table top or full height – 4ft up to 20ft. Then choose your panels: Premier® brand Velcro Receptive Fabric Panels or Photo Quality full color custom printed graphic panels. Your panels will automatically click to the strong and sturdy aluminum frame using its’s magnetic channel bars. And your entire pop up display packs down into a convenient rolling travel bag or compact shipping cases. With your choice of configurations from table top to 20ft units, and beyond, we have the set up to fit your needs.

Plus, all pop up displays effortlessly set up in under 30 minutes or less with no tools required.
When designing your trade show display graphics, consider this —>> Your trade show booth should serve as a functional backdrop to attract attendees and direct them to learn more about your company. It should also have the ability to pack a larger than life impact encouraging them to take a closer look.

The 1UP pop up displays combine strength and reliability, with style and ease of use. This style trade show display is named “pop up” due to the frame’s infamous popping-up action. It is one of the most portable tradeshow display solutions available. We guarantee if you’ve ever been to a trade show before you have surely seen a pop up display.

The 1UP system features several unique advantages over other similar pop up display systems. The most notable feature is the fact that it’s a USA Made Product – made in Maine actually – and all fabrication plus graphic printing is completed in-house also at our Maine facility. The brilliant 8 color printing process will make your full color photo quality printed graphics stand out from the rest. Another great feature is the framing and magnetic bar system include a full Lifetime Warranty. Best of all, the frame has a ‘convertible’ feature allowing you to add on or subtract to form a larger or smaller backwall.

Eye Catching Full Height Floor Models Perfect to show off your brand at any trade show or marketing event

Quite possibly the MOST POPULAR is our 1UP full height floor model pop-up displays. With models ranging in size from 4ft wide to 20ft wide, curved frame or straight frame, gullwing or serpentine frame, there is a style for you. Choose from velcro receptive fabric panels or our high quality custom printed graphic panels. Included with your pop-up displays is our indestructible roto-molded shipping case w wheels. Other accessories also available are velcro mount headers, backlit headers, stem lighting and much more.

10ft Curved Pop Up Display
10ft Curved Pop Up Display
8ft Curved Pop Up Display
Attention grabbing Interactive Models make them stop and stare

It’s all amount MOTION! Attendees will have no choice but to notice your booth when you have our Interactive 1UP pop up displays. With accessories such as monitor mounts, iPad/tablet mounts and counter top inserts, your booth space will be the talk of the show. Play a slideshow or product presentation, have attendees interact with your website, sign up for specials or your newsletter or simply try out a new app. Interactive displays are the way of the future!

8ft Curved Pop Up Display with Media Kit
10ft Straight Pop Up Display with Media Kit
10ft Straight Pop Up Display with media Kit
Monitor, iPad, tablet mounts draw in attendees for the ultimate trade show experience

Create an interactive approach with your booth space using our 1UP monitor brackets, iPad or Samsung tablet holders. Your interactive technology will sure draw attention to your booth. And, that is what exhibiting is all about. ATTENTION!

Bundle & Save! All-inclusive package for the travelling exhibitor

Our 1UP Pop Up Display & Banner Stand Trade Show Backwall Bundle is the perfect combination of functionality and portability, enhancing your trade show experience. By simply adding a custom printed retractable banner stand to your pop up display, you’ll not only create depth in your booth space but you’ll also have additional “real estate” to promote your brand or products. Don’t forget: you can also utilize the banner stand in your office entrance when the shows over too – it’s double duty for your marketing efforts!

All included items pack into two square shipping cases that convert to a useable graphic podium to further enforce your brand’s message.

8ft Curved Pop Up Display with banner stand and podium kit
10ft Curved Pop Up Display with podium kit

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Our company is a family owned and operated company and as such, we have deep-seated family values and we focus on quality and on offering our clients a top choice of eye-catching and appealing tradeshow exhibits and displays. If you are interested in purchasing a portable pop up trade show display for your next trade show or event, contact us here!

Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook to see more of our portable displays and banner stand options!

Fun, Fresh Ideas to Step Up Your Trade Show Game

Trade shows might be for business, but they don’t have to be all business. It’s time to up your trade show game to make your investment worth your time, increase return and finally get people to engage in your brand.

Most people describe a trade show like this: people wandering up and down aisles glancing at booths with no rhyme or reason as to exactly why they are even there. Some of them were told by their boss to go make an appearance at the trade show, while others went there on their own free will. No matter the reason they are there, you need to remind them why they went. There are tons of ideas out there to help you embrace new business and bring new excitement to your brand. Don’t get comfortable and continue doing the same old thing. It’s time to shake things up and take your trade show experience to the next level with these fun, fresh ideas.

Up Your Marketing Game

The right marketing before a trade show event has the ability to get people talking, sharing, and engaging. You can go all in or stick with a budget. And with the addition of social media, organizations large and small are finally embracing before the show marketing.

Create some hype before you arrive on the trade show floor by utilizing a partial reveal just to get people talking. For instance, include a statement in your marketing that mentions something huge will be revealed at the show but only to those who visit your booth. What’s the big surprise? Well thats is up to you. It could be:

  • A big company announcement
  • A new sponsor or collaboration reveal
  • A prize for a contest winner

The whole point is to cause curiosity and draw attention to your booth at the show. The best thing that can happen to you at a trade show is a crowd!

Marketing Made Fun

Here’s where the fun comes in. It’s all about involving your attendees and making them want to participate in marketing your business. Here’s the trick though – it has to be easy! If it’s complicated, most people won’t engage. Try to stick to simple ideas that no one can say no to.

Humor: Create a “hidden” camera scenario where something unexpected happens and you record your attendees’ reactions to things. You could even stream their reactions in real time if you have the right type of audience.

Scrolling Message Board: Utilizing a large screen within your booth space or in the middle of the trade show floor, encourage attendees to post on social media about your company at the show, using a certain hashtag or emoji to get on the message board. You’ll be surprised how this will motivate people to do some silly things to get on that message board. All the while, they are promoting your brand or company with a simple post on Facebook or Twitter!

Interactive Walls: It could be as simple as creating one out of post-it notes, a whiteboard or chalkboard surface. Propose a question and ask people to respond or invite them to post their business card to show that they were there. When they show is over, you could post a photo to boast how successful your show was and ask if they can locate their contribution.

Mini Contests: Throughout the day, host quick contests to draw in with attendees walking by your booth. Make themes based on well known games, like would you rather or Simon says. Your prizes should be worth their time so you’ll not only draw in willing participants, but you’ll also create buzz and give people a reason to stop by your booth.

Photo Booth: Trust us, photo booths aren’t just for weddings! As each attendee walks onto your exhibit floor, give them a mask or a prop with your booth number written on the back telling them to visit your photo booth. They will be so intrigued, that they’ll have to stop by your booth for a photo. A little bit of fun not only entertains it serves as a great conversation starter as well.

Offer A Mid-Show Snack: Just as the mid-day slump rolls around, so will you offering up a mid-day goodie! Stroll the exhibit hall with an an ice cream cart or a popcorn cart. Just make sure your snack offering is portable and branded with your logo. That way you can serve a refreshing snack throughout the exhibition floor, with the intention of enticing people to visit your booth.

In Conclusion

One of the best ways to switch things up at your next trade show is to create an unexpected experience. The goal is to condition your audience to expect the unexpected. Surprises are some of the most memorable aspects of life so take advantage of this even at a trade show.

Trade shows can either be really fun and memorable or really boring and not worth your time. The decision is yours. But one thing we’ve learned from our previous trade show experience is this – we should all embrace the trade show with a smile and a laugh.

Trade Show Checklist – 26 Must Haves!

The day has finally come. You’ve been prepping for your trade show for what seems like an eternity. You arrive at the venue, start unpacking and BOOM. You realize you forgot something! Showing up unprepared has got to be the worst feeling especially when it comes to something you thought you were prepared for. Lucky for you we’ve enlisted the help of our fellow exhibitors to compile this handy trade show checklist.

Trade Show Checklist Download

DOWNLOAD NOW: Printable Trade Show Checklist

And trust us, we know it’s easy to forget the small things on your way out the door since your biggest concern should be your trade show display. Keep our simple trade show checklist handy for future use. It will be a lifesaver and you’ll make friends with everyone around you since you’ll be the prepared exhibitor!

Booth Items:

  1. Signage – If your trade show signage is separate from your display, don’t leave part of your company behind.
  2. Promotional Items – Brochures, postcards, flyers, handouts, samples etc.
    Business Cards – Bring plenty to hand out to as many qualified leads as you can. More is better.
  3. Business Card Holders – Simply because it looks much neater than a stack of cards thrown on the table.
  4. Giveaways – Make sure you choose something that makes sense or is relatable to your company, and just don’t give it away to anyone walking by – make sure they are worthy.
  5. Containers to hold your giveaways – Basket, candy dish, pen cup, etc.
  6. Bowl for collected business cards – Just an easy way to keep everyone’s information in one place to take back to the office for follow ups.
  7. Name Tags – Don’t rely on the event to give you a lanyard name tag. Everyone wants to know your name as well as what company you are with.
  8. Table Linens – Let’s be honest, those trade show venue tables can look pretty rough. And it’s a bonus if your table cover has your logo on it!
  9. Presentation/Video/Media – You worked hard on that video or powerpoint presentation, so don’t forget it.

Office Supplies:

  1. Pens/Pencils/Sharpies – Yes, you might be at a trade show where there’s an unlimited supply of pens from other exhibitors, but just bring your own.
  2. Scissors – It’s almost inevitable that something will need to be cut during set up or tear down.
  3. Notepads & Post Its – Good for taking notes or if someone else forgot their business card you can jot down their information for a follow-up.
  4. Rubber Bands/Paper Clips – Don’t lose all those business cards you just collected. Plus you can bend paper clips and use them for the most unconventional purposes.
  5. Stapler – The stapler can come in handy to tack all sorts of unsuspecting things together.
  6. Tape…all the tape! – Scotch, Duct, Masking, Packing, Double Sided – any kind of tape you can think of, you’ll need it.

Technology:

  1. Laptop/Monitor/TV/iPad – The bigger the better!
  2. Chargers – With constant use, devices are sure to run out of juice so make sure you pack all necessary chargers. And this includes your phone charger!
  3. Cords to Connect Computer to TV/Monitor – Nothing worse than the moment you realize you’re missing your HDMI cord because it’s at home in your living room.
  4. Extension Cords/Power Strip– Outlets are shared between exhibit booths and it always seems you need just one more outlet. Plus, in the event you  want to place your TV or monitor in a location not so close to an outlet, you’ll at least have a backup plan.

Other Supplies:

  1. Safety Pins – Two words…wardrobe malfunction.
  2. Snacks – No one wants to feel “hangry” or “parched” during a trade show. Quick snacks will do the trick to take the edge off.
  3. Gum/Breath Mints – We would suggest skipping the onions or garlic for lunch and always good for after your coffee break.
  4. Hand Sanitizer – Think of the hundreds of hands you’ll shake. Enough said.
  5. Zip Ties – For all you OCD peeps out there, these help keep computer wires looking nice and tidy.
  6. Back up Shoes (if you’re wearing heels) – Comfortable shoes are so worth it, especially when the show is over and you have the dreaded job of packing up your trade show display.
  7. First-Aid Kit – Well, you don’t bleed all over your prospects.

Questions To Ask When It’s Your Trade Show Off Season

Here’s the typical scenario: trade show season begins and you invest in two or three trade shows or marketing events because you expect to see a return on your investment. You prepare, attend, gather leads – then you’re back at the office with that “high on life” attitude ready to follow up on those precious leads and convert them into new business.

But workflow and life gets in the way.  And instead you come home, check emails, look at the work piling up on your desk and play catch-up. Unfortunately this often ends in business-as-usual mode and an unwelcome back to reality wondering where all your motivation went.

We hear about this all the time.

But how do you change this vicious cycle that could be hurting your trade show investment? Well, quite simply you have to make the time. Here’s a few tips on how to maintain the positive momentum and take advantage of your hard work after the shows wrap for the season.

Ask yourself “why, how and who”

Why am I participating in trade shows? Great question, right – but do you have an answer? Deciding to participate in a particular trade show is the easy part; it’s figuring out why you chose that show thats most important. You could be looking for a way to build brand awareness, or increase distribution of your new products. It could also be that you would like to focus on client relations as a way to nurture the face-to-face relationship. Nail down your WHY and determine a clear initiative that aligns with your business strategy to move it forward.

How am I going to measure attendance? Counting leads is the first step to measuring your success at the end of a show, but try and find a way to measure attendance before the show as well. Consider this – it’s like placing an ad on Facebook, choosing how many people to target then going back to see how many people you actually reached. You need to understand your return on investment to insure you marketing efforts are working for you. Just ask and you shall receive! Ask the show organizer to give you numbers based on last years attendance to help you decide whether a particular show is even worth attending.

Who am I targeting at the show? You might be exhibiting at a high traffic, well marketed trade show, but have you figured out how to actually get them to visit your booth? Some of you might get stuck on the number of people that visited your tradeshow booth instead of measuring their legit interest in your products or services. Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Don’t settle for 300 basic leads when you could have 50 well-qualified leads. By singling out the type of clients you want, you can plan your presentation more effectively reel them in – hook, line and sinker!

 

Bottom line: The show does not end when you get home. It’s so important to take the time to reflect on your current trade show season and put your newfound knowledge to work for your company. And the best time to do this is NOW – before you’re routine tasks suck you in again and before you realize you have to be in full-on trade show season mode…again.

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8 Tech Savvy Ways to Spend Your Remaining Trade Show Budget

So you’ve made all the necessary purchases for a successful trade show season, but you’ve come in under budget (and your boss is high fiving you). This is great, however if the money isn’t spent it may not generate great returns on your investment. We have some seriously savvy ideas to help spend your remaining budget wisely to benefit your current and future trade show efforts.

We understand, having money left to spend can feel too good to be true. Maybe you just saved a huge chunk by reusing last seasons’ trade show display, or you saved on other big ticket items and just have some extra cash to spend. It doesn’t matter how you got it, here are some smart ways to spend your remaining trade show budget dollars wisely.

#1 – Up your game with audience engagement.
Audience engagement apps add another level of interactivity to your trade show. And before you look away, we don’t mean adding just any app – there’s some great tools out there you should be utilizing. The app industry offers easy to use web-based live sharing and Q&A solutions to engage attendees before, during or after the show. They might also allow followers to watch live presentations, ask questions, answer polls, make digital notes, live tweet & much more. By capturing what’s really going on in your attendees’ minds, you can use the data to help you target the right audience for future trade shows. If you’re not sure it’s the best fit for your company just start small and adjust from there. Review your engagement the first time you use the app to make sure it will work for your needs.

#2  – Social walls = real time engagement.
Imagine how neat it would be collecting social media posts from your attendees in real time and displaying them right on a monitor mounted to your trade show display for everyone to see. Try selecting a specific hashtag pertaining to your show and have attendees post using that hashtag. Or simply ask attendees to “tag” you in a photo. You could make a game of it and use this as a contest to win your giveaway. Let’s be real here — who doesn’t love seeing their post show up on a big screen!

#3 – Create a trade show landing page.
Having a dedicated landing page added to your existing website to showcase your trade show schedule, locations, agendas and speakers — this would be helpful to attendees, right? The main purpose is to send potential attendees to your website to help you spark interest and encourage social media sharing.  Of course there are OK landing pages and there are amazing landing pages. Make sure your message is clear and to the point. Also graphics are huge so hiring a graphic designer might not be a bad idea since you’ll want to make sure all of your dedicated trade show landing pages are fully on brand.

#4 – Let’s…chatbot?!
For those unfamiliar with the term, a chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via audio or text. Adding a chat feature to your website to answer pre-tradeshow questions may take some of the burden off your support team.  And don’t worry, your pre-populated answers don’t have to sound robotic either. You can make it sound just as natural as having a live human on the other end. But you want to know the best part? Chatbots work for you 24/7 and are pretty darn cost effective.

#5 – Retargeting is your friend.
Quite possibly one of the best tools for converting your landing page visitors into attendees. We know you’ve seen it – you go to a website and a “pop-up” appears for you to sign up. This has been around for a while but just now becoming more popular in order to run specific campaigns to increase conversions. Now you might be wondering how this actually works…well, think of your trade show landing page as a “shopping cart”. Typically you’re asked to register when shopping at most online stores so you can save your information for next time. Well, there’s a slight problem with this. Most people won’t register on the first visit, but it’s crucial to your conversion numbers. Just make sure your registration page is clear on your intent and it will be a easier decision to sign up. Lastly, maybe spend a little money to set up a specific retargeting campaign engaging with people that visited but didn’t sign up. Sometimes a little nudge is all it takes.

#6 – Create Pre-Show Teaser Videos.
Video is considered the most effective way to promote anything these days, even your trade show to boost attendance. Utilizing video before and after your trade show could help not only generate awareness to your brand but also boost attendance to your trade show.  However, professional video production can become quite costly and the cheaper options may not look as professional as you would like. So how do you meet in the middle? Try merging existing footage with still photos to create a short video to display social media or your trade show landing page. Try testing out different online tools to combine elements into bite-size video snippets in no time at all.

#7 – Consider adding a Mobile Charging Station.
We’re sure you’ve witnessed this before – someone wandering around cell phone and charging cord in hand in a desperate search of an outlet. How would you like to be the one to swoop in and save the day! Trade show attendees rely on their cell phones, tablets and other devices to check emails, answer voicemail, post to social media or chat with coworkers. Adding a mobile charging station to your existing trade show booth will certainly be something attendees will not stop talking about! Genius, right?!

#8 – Boost your WiFi.
Rather than shelling out a crazy amount of money to the venue, and sacrificing your first born just to get decent bandwidth, consider adding a portable internet hotspot to your trade show booth. It’s so crazy how these small modules can make all our internet fears disappear and for a decent price. You’ll finally put an end to that “sorry I’m at a trade show and the Wifi is so slow I can’t even load Facebook” feeling.

So maybe you still have a little money leftover?

This could also be spent on promoting your brand or products on social media. A little bit of money spent on SEO targeted content across platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram  or Facebook could also work wonders.

 

21 Things You’ve Probably Done at a Trade Show (You Might Never Do Anywhere Else)

If you’ve ever been a trade show exhibitor, not just an attendee, there are some things that happen during the long trade show day you may never consider doing in any other business situation.

While many of these behaviors might seem normal to the seasoned exhibitor, others might as well be considered “weird” to anyone else who has never experienced the trade show floor. We decided it would be fun to collaborate and came up with short list of (funny) situations you may recognize. Check them out and let us know if you have more to add!

  1. Wear the same outfit as your co-worker
  2. Nonchalantly walk by another booth and grab anything on the table that appears to have a value (candy, hats, pens, mugs…)
  3. Chat with an ungodly amount strangers, sometimes about nothing at all
  4. Gaze over at the double-padded carpet in booth #828 because your choice of shoes were for fashion and not comfort
  5. Party until the wee hours of the morning with co-workers and not ever talk about it after
  6. Ask a complete stranger for a breath mint and blame it on the free coffee
  7. Pretend the person you are talking to doesn’t need the breath mint more than you
  8. Act completely interested in small talk for hours on end
  9. Complain about how much you loathe setting up and taking down your booth
  10. Be completely convinced that a 15 minute conversation will lead to your biggest sale
  11. Explain, once again, to your family that it’s a “business trip” and not a vacation
  12. Sneak off to the bathroom just for quiet time
  13. Hide behind your booth curtain to scarf down your box lunch
  14. Try and find a way not to stare at everyone’s name badge before introducing yourself
  15. Convince yourself that the 228 business cards collected are solely interested in your business and not the giveaway
  16. Re-introduce yourself to the same person three times
  17. Politely take brochures from anyone and everyone walking by because you can’t say no then discard of them after the show when no one’s looking
  18. Have a permanent smile on your face to the point your cheeks hurt
  19. Stand awkwardly alone in your booth when your co-worker decides they want to walk around
  20. Be shocked at how quickly your booth is to take down compared to when you set it up
  21. Stress because you can’t find your business cards then remember throwing them in the bottom of your the display case at the end of your last trade show

10 Hot US Trade Shows in March

The best part about trade shows is there is one for any business! From beauty to health or merchandising, our Trade Show Calendar is by far the best tool to sort it all out. Quickly search by state, industry, dates and more to locate the best trade show for your brand. After you find the perfect trade show, make sure you’ll be representing your company in a big way. Check out all our trade show products and banner stands to insure you stand out in the crowd.

Consider checking out these trending trade shows happening this month:

Campus Market Expo
March 2-6, 2018
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
Dallas, TX

www.camex.org

CAMEX is Campus Retailing’s Largest Educational Conference and Buying Expo! For 95 years, NACS has brought campus store professionals and vendors together to meet the needs of students, alumni, parents, and the campus community.

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International Beauty Show
March 4-6, 2018
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York, NY

www.ibsnewyork.com

IBS New York is the longest-running and the hottest event in beauty! Drawing 65,200+ beauty professionals who are interested in learning new skills, refining techniques and stocking up on their salon and professional needs. This is the audience you want to reach, and the attendees you need to meet!

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Seatrade Cruise Global
March 5-8, 2018
Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

www.seatradecruiseglobal.com

Seatrade Cruise Global 2018 will welcome 11,000 cruise professionals with ideas and innovations from every aspect of the maritime industry. Exhibiting at Seatrade Cruise Global will enable you to get your brand, products and services in front of an audience looking for new solution providers and business partners.

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Natural Products Expo West
March 8-11, 2018
Anaheim Convention Center
Anaheim, CA

www.expowest.com

The 37th annual Natural Products Expo West & Engredea, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event, experienced another record-setting year playing host to more than 80,000 attendees including industry pioneers and a new generation of innovators shaping the future of healthy products.

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International Home + Housewares Show
March 10-13, 2018
McCormick Place Exposition Center
Chicago, IL

www.housewares.org/show

The International Home + Housewares Show features more than 2,200 exhibitors and exciting educational content at the Design Theater, Cooking Theater and through numerous special displays and events! It’s your opportunity to join the world’s largest audience of home goods and housewares professionals.

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ASD Market Week
March 11-14, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.asdonline.com/about/show-overview/

ASD Market Week is the most comprehensive B2B trade show that brings the world’s widest variety of retail merchandise together in one efficient shopping experience. The ASD Market Week show floor is filled with quality choices at every wholesale price point buyers could want to find. ASD Market Week is held twice per year in Las Vegas and is truly the wholesale buying event that can’t be missed for any small to large sized retail, distribution, or importing business.

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International Pizza Expo
March 19-22, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.pizzaexpo.com

With nearly 500 exhibiting companies on the show floor, Pizza Expo is the place for independent and chain pizzeria owners and managers to one-stop shop for nearly any needed product or service — and see what’s new in the industry. Attendees can expand their knowledge on topics relevant to business success during Expo’s more than 90 seminars, workshops and baking demonstrations. They also can participate in pizza skills competitions and go to special events such as the Beer & Bull networking session and the Pizza Expo Block Party.

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ISA International Sign Expo
March 22-24, 2018
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL

www.signexpo.org

ISA Sign Expo is the largest gathering of sign and graphics professionals—has the best exhibits offering new technology and helps sign companies make valuable connections. ISA Sign Expo is the most comprehensive trade show for the sign, graphics and visual communications industry, showcasing products from exhibitors in wide format printing, digital signage, vehicle wrapping, LEDs and so much more.

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Nightclub & Bar Show
March 26-28, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV 89109

www.ncbshow.com

Nightclub & Bar Show is the nation’s most influential gathering of bar, nightlife, hospitality and beverage professionals, who annually come together in Las Vegas. This is the bar professional’s one stop shop to learn about new products, new technology and new trends in the industry. Take your industry knowledge to the next level in our comprehensive Conference Program, the only program designed to meet the needs and challenges of bar owners, operators and professionals looking to get ahead in the industry.  Plus, Nightclub & Bar Show is notorious for throwing Parties!

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New York International Auto Show
March 30-April 8, 2018
Jacob Javits Convention Center
New York, NY

www.autoshowny.com

Ushering in the latest automotive trends, the 2018 New York International Auto Show will showcase an incredible collection of cutting-edge design and extraordinary innovation. More than four floors of displays from the world’s automakers will feature the newest vehicles and latest futuristic concept cars.  Nearly 1,000 cars and trucks will be on display at North America’s first and largest-attended auto show dating back to 1900.