Trade Show Savings Guide: Part 2

Last month, we introduced part one of this series on saving money on trade shows. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the post, read it here. While part one focused on cutting registration expenses, in part two we’ll be discussing how to save money without cutting corners on the actual exhibit.

Part 2: The Booth

The exhibit can often be the most expensive piece in the trade show participation puzzle. However, just like we proved with registration, it doesn’t have to eat up your budget! Start with the booth itself. Instead of building a new one, consider renting or buying used. Buying used can save 50 to 75 percent off booth expenses and renting saves your team the trouble and expense of having to design a booth that doesn’t get much use. Concerned about an old booth looking shabby? Don’t be. Even minor refurbishments and a few updated graphics can make an old booth look new. If used or rented are not possibilities this time around, save the booth you use this year for future trade shows.

The cost of visuals can add up, but they don’t have to. Products make great visuals. Having your product at the tradeshow gives the best opportunity for clients and the media to inspect it up close. If the cost of shipping your product is too ridiculous, consider a 3-D model. Models can still have the interactive experience and help attendees to visualize your product while lightening your load (and shipping costs)! Has your team considered digital graphics? Using digital monitors will help you save significantly on printing costs and allows for use to easily switch the content up if necessary. We live in a digital era where people are glued to the screens. The screens at your booth are sure to attract attendees. If digitizing is out of budget, adorn your booth with media releases and photography. Past press brings credibility and validation to your brand, you’ll be surprised at how much attention it will bring.

Another frivolous expense that can be cut dramatically is the use of traditional giveaways. Time to think outside the box! Instead of pens, bags and other typical trade show “schwag,” try implementing giveaways that give merit to your brand. For example, purchase a giant bag of lollipops and tie notes of industry tips and advice to each stick, along with your company info. This will be more memorable than a tote bag that will never be used again, and gives incentive for potential customers to check out your brand. Another idea is to look at the “extra” materials your booth has. TV monitors? iPads? Implement a giveaway where in exchange for contact information, one lucky winner gets to take home a device that you don’t necessarily need. This is an effective way to capture leads without having to spend too much on individual prizes.

My final piece of advice is to consider all the elements necessary for putting together and taking down your exhibit seamlessly. Plan in advance! Start by taking inventory to see what you have and what you need, and purge whatever is useless. Some materials might even be eligible for buyback programs or will sell in an online marketplace. Once you have everything together, figure out what needs to be shipped, when it needs to arrive, the time it takes to assemble and tear down the exhibit, how much lighting is necessary, if your booth needs internet access. All of these are small items on the checklist that can easily be overlooked. Planning accordingly will help to avoid any extra, annoying costs.

There are many ways you can budget on trade show exhibits, way more than we have mentioned here, but hopefully this guide helps get the idea ball rolling. Not up for the challenge? Don’t worry. The experts at Nelson Schmidt are glad to help.