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Stocking the Perfect Trade Show Booth

Time to head out to a trade show or convention, and you’re feeling a little anxious. Maybe a really important potential client will be there, and you’re determined to impress. Possibly its an exclusive convention and you’re stoked to have received an invite – you don’t want to waste the opportunity! Or perhaps you’re just new to the whole gig, going out on your own or landing a promotion that means, for the first time ever, you’re in charge of the whole shebang.

Whatever the case, it’s important you go in with a game plan. Success is nine parts preparation, one part luck, so it’s important you put that preparation in place long before you get in the car or jump on that plane.

But how? Well, as much as it may pain you to admit it, appearances are everything. No matter how solid your business model or how well-crafted your elevator pitch, if you’re running a shoddy booth, many people will sail right on by. You’ve got to catch their attention with great branding and seamless aesthetics from the start. Only then can you make the show worth your while and bring home business as a result. How to do it? Here are a few steps.

Nab a Prime Location

To be fair, you only have so much control over your location at a trade show or convention. Many of them assign booth spots. Others, however, will let you choose your spot, either on a first-come first-serve basis or on a paid basis, where paying more nets you a better location. Be sure to find out which model the trade show follows from the beginning, as you’ll be able to plan better if you know.

Obviously, that means you should sign up as soon as possible for first-come first-serve. (As a bonus, early registration often costs a bit less.) If spots are assigned, you won’t face as great a hurry, but it’s still smart to know where you’ll be situated as soon as possible. If you can afford it, you should pay for a prime location … near the center or near a food court.

Choose Your Colors

If you have a large brand color palette, this will be a more difficult task than if you use a very simple color scheme. If your shades are red and white, for instance, you don’t have to spend much time deciding which to go with (hint: it’s red and white). On the other hand, if you’re a more established brand with an array of colors across a coordinated spectrum, then you’ll need to work a bit harder to make a smart choice.

The ideal is to hit a halfway point between your original brand and intelligently leveraging the purpose of the trade show. If you’re headed to a tech convention, for instance, then you might choose bright colors to stand out against all the black, gray and white you’re sure to encounter there. On the other hand, if you’re going to a cooking trade fair, you might want to select a streamlined monochrome to contrast with all the vibrant hues of the foodie world. Whatever the case, a) be unique and b) be true to your brand.

Bring Collateral

The whole point of a trade show is to get your brand out into the world, which means it’s critical you bring enough collateral to make your point. First, you need to bring enough prototypes to accurately represent what you do – ideally an example of each of your main products. If you’re a service-based organization, then make sure your service is well-explained through written word and multimedia.

In addition to the normal racks of pamphlets, brochures, business cards and sample equipment, you need products of which people will really take notice. Think reusable branded bags, for instance. Not only do they have the green element going for them, they are bright, crisp and eye-catching. Whether you’re a craft convention and want to go the wabi-sabi cotton route, or prefer slick bags specifically designed for conventions, they’re always a good idea. They give your visitors something to carry items around in, flash your logo to the rest of the trade fair, and will be seen out in the world for months or years to come.

Deck the Halls

Got all your collateral in place? Now it’s time to deck the halls. Well, in this case, it’s more like deck the tables. Putting your booth together well requires a lot of forethought. Not only do you want to bring the right collateral, you want to set it off well so that it catches the eye right away.

Note that you need enough: A file box full of trimmings goes pretty quickly when you’re decking out an entire booth, so stock up. Bring a tablecloth that matches your brand colors, and it better be cloth, not plastic! Additional items include runners, if you want to add extra visual interest to your tables. Also, if you have different areas for different purposes in your tent, it helps to differentiate them from one another. So if, for example, you have three long tables covered with paper products, sample equipment and multimedia equipment respectively, it’s nice to give each table its own color cloth. Naturally, you must still be sure they coordinate.

Then, you can lay out your branded collateral – papers, samples, bags – out on top of the cloths, creating pleasing contrast.

Get Your Scripts Together

Unless you’ve been in your business for so long that you no longer need to practice any selling points or elevator pitches, you’ll want to bring a few scripts along with you to the trade show or convention. You need to get your mission statement, unique selling propositions and services across to a prospective client or business partner in very little time. Ideally, you’ll give it some personality at the same time, the better to ensure a fit between you and the client. Here’s a quick example:

“A Templar Copywriting, we offer boutique branding, web content and speeches to creatives and coaches, all with a quirky spin. For instance, we wrote the public apology Loki had to deliver after he sacked New York City – call him, he’ll tell you!” Okay, maybe not, but you see what we mean.

Train, Train, Train

Whether you’re the head honcho and are schooling those beneath you, or instead report to a boss, it’s critical you have the scripts down pat. No matter how well you’ve written your little speeches, they won’t count for much if you stumble through them – or worse, have to actually read in front of your prospects. No Bueno.

The solution? Practice.

Contact Us Today

Unfortunately, we can’t really help you with your interviewing skills, but here at ReuseThisBag, we can help you with high-quality, well-made custom totes and bags that stand the test of time. If you want to get your brand noticed at a trade show, then continue to grab eyeballs out in the world, it’s time to speak to one of our customer service representatives. Give us a call at 1-877-334-5323 to ask questions or request a free quote today. Don’t wait to plan the perfect trade show … call now.

Douglas Lober

Author: Douglas Lober

Douglas Lober grew up in Southern California and is an environmentalist at heart. He donates his time and finances to helping children better understand how they can become fine stewards of the Earth. He is he co-Founder and Chief Sales Professional at Reusethisbag.com with over 15 years experience as an overseas importer and exporter of fine eco-friendly promotional items.

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