How to do an effective trade show on a tight budget

Return on investment is the most important part of trade show marketing. After all, if a trade show didn’t bring in business, it didn’t produce results for your company. That’s why trade show professionals have to carefully watch the purse strings when planning their trade show season.

We all want to get more for our money. Use these clever hacks to do the most effective trade show possible on a tight budget.

Presenting at a trade show with a small budget

Choose the right conference

Trade show ROI starts with your audience. Every trade show attracts a particular audience, and it’s your job to make sure the trade show has the right audience for your business.

If you’re operating on a tight budget, focus on trade shows where you can make more sales instead of brand exposure. Exposure is great for sales, but it’s better suited for a bigger budget.

To keep your expenses reasonable, consider local trade shows first. This helps you penetrate the local market and avoid the high costs of distant travel, like airfare and hotels.

Split a booth

Exhibitor spaces can cost thousands of dollars. Depending on the trade show, you might be able to split a single booth with another company. This does mean you’ll have less space, but at half the cost, it could be worth the gamble. 

Booth splitting is best when you know a fellow exhibitor that has complementary services to yours. For example, if you were a coffee company you might partner with a company that makes coffee creamer. 

If you go with this option, make sure the line is clearly separated between the two brands. Play off of each other to get more traffic to both booths for less cost.

Choose great design

Although it’s tempting to add smoke machines, lights, and massage chairs to spice up your booth, these add-ons are just distractions. Eye-catching booths start with good design, which is the foundation of an effective, affordable booth. 

Make sure you use an evergreen design that’s appropriate for all trade shows and situations. This way, you can build one booth and use it throughout the year. 

Work with a quality company like Display America to design your next booth with an eye for affordability and effectiveness.

Be valuable

Giveaways are fun, but they need to mean something to your audience. If you pass out a pen with your company name on it, it’s probably not going to inspire people to give you a call. 

Make sure every giveaway relates to your brand in some way. For example, if you’re a plumber it probably doesn’t make sense to pass out pens. A branded drain snake would be more appropriate for your business.

Avoid overly promotional handouts, too. Instead, demonstrate your knowledge and value by giving something meaningful to your booth visitors. 

Try giving away free booklets with industry-related tips or links to free downloads. This helps conference attendees associate your brand with value.

Rent instead of buy

You can protect your limited budget by renting a trade show booth instead of buying one. This makes more sense for small companies that exhibit at one or two events per year. 

Display America’s rentals are more affordable than building a custom trade show booth. Simply rent the frame of the booth and add your graphics over the setup for a quality, custom look.

The bottom line

A successful trade show puts you in the black. Minimize expenses and keep more of your hard-earned business with these tips. If it’s time to plan your next high-quality booth on a budget, give Display America a ring. 

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