Table of Contents
- 1 Trade show giveaways and selecting your trade show booth location and size matter.
- 2 What are trade show giveaways?
- 3 What are the best giveaways for trade shows?
- 4 How to select a trade show booth
- 5 Selecting your booth size
- 6 Getting your company into the trade show
- 7 Trade show options
- 8 How trade show attendees wander a trade show— and how to get them to your booth
- 9 General FAQ’s
Trade show giveaways and selecting your trade show booth location and size matter.
In my last post I nailed down the essential information on your company’s best trade show opportunities, and maybe by now, you’ve made your decision to exhibit at a trade show. You can now move on to the next two steps in your trade show booth marketing tasks: selecting a booth location and producing your booth.
What are trade show giveaways?
Think beyond pens, we’ve compiled all of our best trade show giveaways to leave a lasting impression at your next show.
What are the best giveaways for trade shows?
7 Inspiring Trade Show Giveaways: Updated 2020
- Cell Phone Metal Ring Holder.
- Metal Ring Phone Stand.
- Custom Pantone Matched Socks.
- Microfiber Cloth with Full-Color Booklet.
- Screen cleaning spray and microfiber cloth.
- Reusable Metal Straw with Case.
- PopSocket (our good friends in Boulder, CO)
How to select a trade show booth
Your choice of booth size and location is critical and an
Choosing the best booth location
Ask your show sales rep for a booth diagram, showing the booth space available for the show. Your show sales rep can also send you an updated version of this diagram, showing the companies that I’ve already reserved booth space at the show. A lot of times this information is right on their website.
From this diagram, you want to know where the major exhibitors are located, and where are your competitors are. Major exhibitors are generally your industry’s biggest movers and shakers, and they usually take the biggest booth space and best locations at the show.
If there’s a major strategic advantage for your company to be position near one of these big companies—if, for example, one of them is a major joint venture partner—this should play a role in your booth location decision. If possible, you’ll also want to locate your booth far enough away from any of your company’s direct competitors.
Better for your sales staff to spend their time staying focused on talking to prospects in your booth and being worried about who’s visiting your competitor’s booth across the aisle.
The best booth space locations in a trade show are:
- In the front row facing the show entrance. This is the best space for your booth. When show visitors walk onto the show floor, your booth is one of the first they will see. Out in front, you’ll have the opportunity to pull these visitors in before any other trade show exhibits. All these positions are often taken by the biggest exhibitors, try to reserve a booth space here, if at all possible.
- At the end of the aisle, the front half of the exhibit floor. The next best position is space at the end of the aisle, preferably as close to the entrance of the exhibit floor as possible, or at least within the front half of the entire show floor. Booth space at the end of the aisles places your booth at the intersection of two aisles, this location makes your booth visible from at least two sides (or all three sides of your booth bills the entire corner)
- Center interior row, the front half of the exhibit floor. The third best position and the best option if your company is selecting a standard 10×10 minimum booth size is any space in the interior row in the front half of the show floor. These spaces are usually the ones most available to exhibitors taking the minimum size booth space, and they are the default choice if you can’t get a space in the other two positions. If you’re unable to reserve a space toward the front half of the floor closest to the shows the main entrance, any other booth space in any interior row will do.
- Outer perimeter locations. The least desirable booth space positions are those along the outer perimeter of the show floor. These locations attract much less traffic than other locations. Since they are the least popular spaces, they are usually the last to sell out, it may be your only option if you are trying to get into a show on short notice. If this is your only space option, avoid Booth spaces at the end of a row, or by fire exits, these are the loneliest booth spaces of them all.
As you make your final booth choice, pay close attention to who your neighbors will be, on either side of, and directly across from, your booth, to avoid getting a booth space next to a competitor, or any other exhibitors whose presence close to your booth may reflect poorly on your company.
Selecting your booth size
A bigger booth space rarely translates to better sales results at a trade show. Since location is far more important than both sides and doubling your booth size roughly doubles your booth cost, there’s a little downside risk to keeping your booth space to a minimum.
Trade show producers usually offer booth space in 10×10 sizes, the minimum booth space available for exhibitors. This size is adequate for most small to medium-sized companies, and can comfortably accommodate three to four of your company sales reps and prospects who visit your booth.
You can go for larger booth spaces, by joining two or more of these 10×10 spaces together, or by renting larger boost sizes, which often gets you a better location on the show floor, such as near the main entrance, or on the end of an aisle.
While a company can always spend too much by renting more booth space than it needs, chief marketing officers rarely regret having rented a booth space that was too small. There’s really no justification for a large booth space, unless your company size, the size of your product line, or the number of sales reps in your company requires it.
Getting your company into the trade show
Once you’ve selected and reserved your company’s booth space and location, your next step is to handle the other important show planning steps required for your trade show project.
Trade show producers require you to make a formal reservation for your booth space location and often require depositing a part of the booth space fee prior to the show. The exhibitor’s list can be provided by the show producer, you’ll also find a series of forms to fill out to obtain various additional, important, services provided by the show producer.
The prices for these additional show services usually seem rather expensive. Some services, like electrical hookups, are costly because of the monopoly, and other services, such as audio/visual equipment.
Here are the services you’ll need for your booth:
- Electricity, phone, internet hookups. If you need electrical hookups for demonstrating computers or other equipment, Now’s the time to secure the outlets and voltage you need. The same goes for phone and internet hookups. This service is only available from the contractor hired by the show producers or the exhibit hall, so you’ll have to pay their fees for what you need.
- Booth carpeting, furniture, and cleaning. Some shows won’t include carpeting for the booth space in the price of the booth rental, and others charged extra, but in either case, you need a carpet for your booth. Since carpet is very heavy to ship, you usually end up having to pay what they’re asking to rent a carpet for your booth. However, booth cleaning can cost your company up to $150 a day extra. Bring along a small vacuum and an extension cord and do the job yourself when no one’s looking, you’ll save your company several hundred dollars.
- Audio/visual equipment (A/V). Rental of PCs, TV monitors, DVD players, etc. Is another overpriced exhibitor service, but you can always find a less expensive AV rental vendor if you look for one yourself in the city where the show is being held
- Booth setup/breakdown, and shipping. Added boost setup and breakdown fees are common and the union controls the exhibit halls. You can avoid these needless costs by making your own shipping arrangements and getting a modular booth backdrop that you and your team can listen to the exhibit hall by yourself.
Plan ahead for these important show preparations because it’s always much more expensive at the services that have to be arranged on a rush basis just before the show. Also, make sure to keep copies of all the paperwork used to set up the services, and take them with you to the show in case there’s a problem. You may need to document your order for any one of these services with the trade show vendor.
Trade show options
The biggest marketing-related project you’ll undertake for any trade show appearance is the production and execution of your company’s exhibit display or backdrop. Your booth backdrop is a kind of wall that stands at the rear of your booth space, displaying your company’s logo, sales copy, and other visual imagery.
Your backdrop is the packaging for your company and its product at the show. It’s the first impression your company gives to show attendees who ever heard of your company, and you should put as much care into its design as you would any of your company’s own product packaging, printed materials, or any other marketing deliverable.
There are many possible variations in booth layouts for large areas (e.g., island exhibits), but since it’s likely that all your companies trade show projects will use either standard 10×10 or the larger 10×20 booth spaces, your booth layout would likely consist of your backdrop, some additional smaller signs, and, ideally, a larger flat panel video display unit. Additionally, you can incorporate some counter units or display pedestals to your booth layout if your company has a product line to display at the show.
Trade show booth backdrop
Next, to the design appeal in affordability, the most important features for any trade show booth backdrop are lightweight and compact design. For most trade show applications, the ideal unit is one that doesn’t cost a lot to ship and can be taken along with your marketing and sales team by plane or car to any show location.
Fortunately, this is one marketing deliverable where there’s a single, easy answer. The best backdrop we’re both 10×10 or 10×20 booth space sizes is modular pop-up backdrop units, such as an exhibit designer that offers custom modular booths like Skyline Exhibits, and several other companies.
Pop-up displays use a lightweight, custom printed, four-color panels that are fastened to an aluminum frame unit designed to fold down to a very compact size. These aluminum frames are a show all by themselves.
The graphic panels of your backdrop are printed in full color on a matte or glossy vinyl-like material called Lexan. You can print different panels, each with different graphics or sales copy, to use for different shows, or to highlight certain products or sales benefits targeted to your market served by each trade show. The panels are sturdy enough to be rolled up and packed into a plastic shipping case for the unit.
The graphics for these compounds can be produced from artwork created by any desktop publishing program and offer you unlimited creative options for the design of your backdrop. Art for these front panels can be output as a single, continuous design, which means you can think of your backdrop as a single large canvas for displaying your company’s logo, tagline, sales headline, imagery, photos, and background colors, in full color in high resolution.
The entire backdrop—frame, front panels, and associated hardware, stores neatly in one or two sturdy, specially designed, wheeled shipping cases, small enough to be checked as airline baggage, put into a car trunk or backseat, or shipped by any standard shipping method.
These exhibit solutions and trade show display products provide marketers with customized exhibits, retractable banner stands, portable trade show displays, that have modular displays.
This gives you the logistical options of shipping your booth by regular UPS or FedEx to your hotel at a relatively affordable price. Or if you’re running into a tight schedule, taking your booth with you when you travel to the show by air or by car.
With either option, you get a higher degree of confidence that your booth will be waiting for you at the hotel, or traveling along with you as checked baggage. But in either case, you avoid the potential nightmare of shipping show materials directly to bulk receiving areas in the exhibit hall, where they’re further out of your control, and where you won’t know whether they arrived or not until the day you arrived at the show location.
Custom delivery. A pop-up backdrop display for a 10×10 booth size cost about $5,000 and up, including an output of front panel graphics, plus your digital marketing agency design and production cost for the backdrops graphic panels.
How trade show attendees wander a trade show— and how to get them to your booth
Be objective for any trade shows to draw as many qualified prospects to your company’s booth as possible. Many marketers who think about traffic volumes alone measures of success of a trade show and use gimmicks, like giveaways, contests, or other distractions to draw as many visitors to their booth as possible.
Trade show giveaways ideas should be created month before the trade show. Try to keep your trade show giveaways unique. The best giveaways for trade shows generally unique giveaways for trade shows remain with the booth visits long after the trade show.
Marketers who use these tactics will draw more traffic to their booth, and their salespeople will be very busy trying to qualify them. However, they won’t draw as many quality prospects as they would have if they had done a better job of rapidly familiarizing them with their products, so these prospects could qualify themselves.
Here’s how a casual, disinterested show visitor, walks down the aisle at the show, sees your booth for the first time— and the booth elements required to draw show visitors to your booth are:
- Booth backdrop. The first thing most trade show visitors notice about your booth is the backdrop. If it has a single layout that communicates your company name, and a brief tagline that describes your product, both signs big enough so they’re easy to see from 30 feet away, the initial message communicated by your booth backdrop will register in the prospects mine. Once this happens, the prospect makes a very subtle mental calculation as to whether or not he or she can use your company’s product or service. If the prospect is immediately interested, he’ll draw closer to your booth right away. If he’s undecided, he’ll start to walk directly pass your booth space, his eyes now shifting to the smaller signs along the front of your booth.
- Smaller signs. As your prospect walks alongside your booth, his eyes briefly wander across the bulleted sales benefit copy points you printed on the smaller, and mounted signs you’ve placed in front of your booth, right along the aisle. The signs are critical because they must show the prospect down long enough so they’re read more of them and shift his attention to your video display
- Video display. This is a continuous running, one to two-minute, professionally narrated video sales presentation on your product, shown on a 42-inch flat-screen panel at the front of your boot. For about 2 – 3 minutes, your prospect here’s a letter-perfect sales presentation about your product in the voice-over of the video as he watches it on screen. Once a prospect sees the video, your company sales reps can then engage the prospect, by introducing themselves by talking to them about their needs.
Each of the three critical elements of your booth—backdrop, small signs, and video display—work at a distance that is appropriate to them, doing what each does best to draw qualified prospects to your booth.
As your prospects see your backdrop, and they’re getting closer to your booth, they get a better look at your smaller signs. Then, they see your video presentation and overhear your sales reps talking about your product to other booth visitors.
In a few seconds, they build an impression in their mind of your company and your product. As more time passes, they become more interested in your product to the point where, by their eye contact or proximity, they initiate contact with one may your sales reps working the boot—that is if your sales reps haven’t already made contact. This is how prospects are drawn to your booth.
If any of these three elements are missing, or aren’t strong enough to draw your viewer’s attention as well as they should, you run the risk of losing trade show visitors who could be prospects.
Good booth elements help show visitors qualify themselves. If all of your booth elements work well, the visitor sees your booth backdrop, skim your smaller signs, listens to your video, but then walks away from your booth has, by his action, told you he’s not a qualified prospect. I’m doing this, he allows your sales reps to focus their attention on interested prospects who remain in your booth.
This is not to say that your company sales rep shouldn’t try to call her potential prospects as he walked by, or that you shouldn’t have a contest or giveaway to drive visitors to your booth.
The important point is that when you and your team are working on a trade show project, you should always focus on developing persuasive content and presentations that respect your potential customers as intelligent, reasoning human beings, instead of relying on the usual show gimmicks that treats show attendees, freeloaders, on the lookout for another booth giveaway to stash in their tote bags.
Unique tradeshow giveaways and the best giveaways for trade shows will drive awareness and mindshare. There are top trade show giveaways, cool trade show giveaways, funny trade show giveaways, and don’t let your trade show giveaways be cheap. There are inexpensive trade show giveaways that work great.
In my next post, I’ll cover the execution of the critical trade show elements, and I’ll describe the presentation techniques you can use to drive qualified prospects to your booth.
What are trade show giveaways?
Trade shows are a terrific opportunity to explore new ideas, network with other professionals, and promote your business, products, and services. Branded giveaways that are useful for attendees are a smart way to stand out on the crowded trade show floor and attract foot traffic to your booth.
How many giveaways to order for a trade show?
To determine how many giveaways to order for a trade show, many marketers look at the size of the show. For big shows of 2,000 or more expected attendees, plan for 25% of attendees to stop by and get a giveaway. For smaller shows, prepare for 75% to get a giveaway.
What is a trade show booth?
A trade show is an event held to bring together members of a particular industry to display, demonstrate, and discuss their latest products and services.
How do you show a product at a trade show?
Make Your Trade Show Product Display the Best with These 7 Tips
1. Use the display to build your brand.
2. Use lighting to showcase flagship products.
3. Keep the display in proportion to the product.
4. Leave plenty of room for movement.
5. Highlight what makes you unique.
6. Use the perimeter of the space.
7. Include a demonstration.