In addition to speaking at the I Heart My Biz event, I am an event sponsor. (To be clear, the two are NOT related, as I have paid for my sponsorship separately.)
As someone who has done numerous trade shows with some big corporations, I’ve learned a trick or two on what to include in your booth for it to stand out, without breaking the bank.
But before I get to some suggestions, I need to emphasize that you need a plan. You need to know how your booth fits in to your entire marketing plan. And you need a specific plan for your booth promotion: pre-show, at-show, and post-show. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas.
Once you come up with a plan, try to make sure you have at least these things in your booth.
- Candy or food. A little treat is ALWAYS a big attracting factor. I got branded M&Ms, in my logo colors, to share.
- Big prize drawing. Give away something valuable. The key is to make sure it relates to your business. Sure, an iPad is hot. But as you collect names for the drawing, you want people who are interested in what you offer, not your great prize. (At I Heart My Biz, I’m giving away a half hour publicity breakthrough session.)
- Take-away collateral. Full-color printed flyers on specific products and services are always a hit. I use postcards. They’re cheaper, and they easily stand out.
- Booth banner. You can spend thousands on a banner – and that’s great if you sponsor a lot of events. But if you do one or two a year, you may need another option. I use posters. They’re cheap and I can personalize them for each event.
- Good shoes. I know, I know. Sounds crazy… and a bit obvious. Still, I need to emphasize the importance of good shoes as it relates to a booth. You’ll be standing a lot. Floors are hard. You’ll want shoes that look good, but are comfy enough to allow you to stand for several hours. And believe me, those kind of shoes aren’t easy to find!
Too many exhibitors are happy to use the me-too marketing approach. With shows that attract hundreds of exhibitors, there are very few that seem to stand out from the crowd. Your exhibit should leave a strong impression of what makes you different and why visitors should be from you.