1. Why buy when you can rent? For many companies, and for many different reasons, exhibit rental is an attractive choice.
2. Use Light Weight Exhibit Materials. Freight & drayage charge by the pound and you can save a significant percentage in shipping if your booth setup is made from light weight materials.
3. Free Gifts? These items can be a budget buster. Does every attendee really need to receive something? (Think adult ‘trick-or-treaters’) Whatever it is, make certain the gift relates to your business in some way so the customers will think of your business whenever they use the item. Better yet, create an ‘exchange’ where attendees provide information by answering qualifying questions in order to receive the handout. Or, offer this item as a follow-up, sent by FedEx to only the most qualified attendees.
4. Save on Transportation Costs. Operational costs – shipping, drayage, install and dismantle (I&D) – are often over-looked or under-estimated by new exhibitors. It’s not unlike new homeowners forgetting about personal property taxes and mortgage and homeowners’ insurances. Lightweight, easy-to-assemble exhibits can add up to big transportation savings… so can these transportation tips:
• Know the weight of the shipment so you can verify the bill.
• Instead of shipping several small boxes, consolidate in one large box or shrink-wrap on one pallet.
• Make one shipment to the convention center. Inbound shipments are charged a minimum rate (usually 100 lbs) regardless of actual weight.
• Specify your carrier for outbound shipments from the hall. If you don’t the drayage contractor can divert your shipment to another carrier resulting in much higher transportation costs.
• When scheduling labor avoid paying weekend and overtime I&D costs.
• Don’t scrimp on shipping containers. It’s expensive to redo graphics if they get damaged during shipping.
5. Offer Relaxation to Attendees. Walking on concrete for hours can wear out the hardiest attendee. Create a ‘relaxation station’ in your trade show booth offering bottled water and padded furniture (but keep the booth staffers from lounging too long!). The smell of warm cookies and hot coffee will certainly attract attention. This is cheaper than free gifts and could be a lot more effective, if tied directly to your brand message.
6. Less is Better. Keep your graphics short and simple – the billboard concept. Detail the benefits to the customer in discussions with your booth staffers. This allows you to re-use graphics from show to show, rather than printing specific messages, which will add up.
7. Cooperate with a Complimentary Business. Before signing up for booth space check with another local business your size which offers products complementary to yours and see if they would like to share a booth space. This might allow you access to a better location in the show at a reduced cost; and you both may gain leads as add-ons to one another’s products.
There are even more ways to stretch your trade show budget shared in the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.
About the Author: Michael Flavin is a trade show strategist & exhibit consultant at Skyline Exhibits & Graphics Mid-America in St. Louis, MO. He works with companies & organizations to eliminate headaches from their trade show, event marketing & recruiting programs. Overall, he offers total, turn-key solutions, focused on creating memorable experiences, lowering operating expenses and increasing ROI. In addition, Michael consults & trains booth staffers and helps companies measure results from their trade show programs. He also helps exhibit marketers design St. Louis trade show displays.If you are new to the trade show scene you may be experiencing some sticker shock, but the good news is that you don’t really need to break the bank in order to grow your business through successful trade show presentations. Here are seven tips to help you get the most from a limited marketing budget.