This step is second of the most critical steps you can do for your overall trade show strategy. Selecting the right trade show to attend can make a big difference to your success level, in addition to qualifying leads and sales versus spending money, time and energy with no return on your investment.
1. Proper planning
Proper planning is the most important cost-cutting tip. Planning ahead saves on expensive last minute charges. Establish a list of key dates and activities. Push due dates back a month so that you always meet your deadlines. Be sure to ask about our Budget Checklist to help you save time and money on planning for your show.
Order all the products, supplies, and services that you need in advance. Most contractors will give you a small discount for pre-payment or early bird orders. By ordering early, you not only save money but you can also avoid delays, costly errors and compromises.
• Personal Schedule
• Lead/Registration forms
• Note Pad
• Inquiry/Sales lead box
• Set up tools
• Brochures and press(if necessary)releases/kits
• First aid kit
• Giveaways and promotional items
• Individual Supplies
• Order forms and Business cards
• Travel tickets
• Office letterhead
• Appointment book note paper
• Hotel and car
• Envelopes, confirmation numbers office/express mail
• Credit cards/cash
• Staplers, staples
• Staple remover
• Contact telephone list
• Client list
• Name badge
• Onsite Payment Method
• Cleaning Supplies
2. Promotional production
Produce all of your pre-show mailings at the same time to save on printing expenses rather than printing several times throughout the year. This is often referred to as “stacked” printing.
3. Buying a display
Consider the best type of trade show exhibit for your needs. Look into one that packs compactly to save on storage, is lightweight to save on shipping, portable to transport by car, courier or as airline baggage, can be quickly and easily set-up to save costs, adapts easily to different spaces by adding or removing components without having to purchase multiple designed exhibits. Owning an exhibit that is modular and meets your growing needs is the most cost-effective exhibit on the market.
4. Display graphics
Design and produce your graphics ahead of time to avoid overtime or rush charges. Allow enough time to preview your graphics early and not rush direct to the show. Have someone proofread your copy to avoid change charges.
Create a "show box" containing handy items that are often not available at the show site. Include a stapler, tape, Velcro, scissors, Swiss army knife, pens, paper, extension cords, and extra light bulbs. Remember to re-stock the box after each show.
Take only enough literature to distribute to highly qualified leads. Offer to send prospects literature so it is on their desk when they return from the show. This saves on drayage, production costs, and cuts down on waste. It also saves you costs in having show literature that may end up in the show trash cans.
When buying a display, investigate how you will ship it. Lightweight durable systems save on shipping and drayage. Keep an accurate record of actual weight, contents and number of containers. Specify the weight on your bill of lading. Consolidate materials in one tub or shrink wrap individual items onto one pallet. Don’t scrimp on shipping containers. Re-doing damaged graphics can be expensive.
Investigate reduced rates or special deals with the airlines for ten people or more traveling to and from the same city. Book early and ask hotels for any specials or corporate rates. Explore Saturday night stay-over rates, an extra night at the hotel may be less than the extra airfare. Use airport shuttles instead of taxis.
9. Show services
Pre-order show services at least 10-30 days prior to the show–electrical, phones, cleaning services, etc. It is best to order 30+ days before the show to save on costs and if you wait until set up date of the show, the floor price is often 10-20% higher. Order more wattage than needed so you don’t risk an electrical breakdown and then have to pay a higher floor price.
10. Setting up Schedule
Set up during straight time hours and avoid weekends and overtime hours as much as possible as it can cost up to twice as much. When possible, use your own personnel to set up your trade show display if the show regulations allow. You will need to check the regulations specified by the exhibition hall.