Having attended CES and the International Housewares Show for many years, I have seen a bit of what goes on behind the scenes of setting up a successful trade show. I've attended a couple of media events that went on while they were still setting up. It's amazing how they can take a huge, empty convention center and turn it into what appears to be a city full of many different tech booths. I call it heaven! I have also participated in a couple vendor events, on a much, much smaller scale.
You don't have to be a huge business to participate in a trade show. Trade shows can be excellent way to further your business reach. They can get your product in front of the right eyes. They can be useful to attend as part of the audience, but having a stall is even more valuable. You can set up a display that attracts people from across the room. You'll meet competitors and learn about the current products and services in your industry. If you're getting ready to participate in a trade show as a vendor, there are some things you need to have.
Of course, you need signs for your stall. You might have a sophisticated setup for your brand, with a podium and a large backdrop. However, if you don't, you need to have some visible signs that will get people to come over to your stall. You have to think carefully about the designs and styles of your signs. People should be able to see them from different positions and be intrigued. Avoid having too much information on signs intended to be seen from far away. You might choose to have a bit more text on signs people can read from in front of your stall.
Having a branded uniform for your booth staff may be a good idea. There are several reasons they might be useful for your promotional strategy. If everyone is wearing your brand colors, it helps to create cohesion for your booth. It's also a good idea if you plan to send anyone walking around the room. If they're going to hand out promotional material, they will also have your logo and recognizable colors on display. You don't necessarily have to have anything specially made. You could set a standard dress code, and everyone could have a badge with the company logo.
Promotional materials can make or break your success at a trade show. This may seem obvious, but you need to ensure you have a variety of materials to hand out. You might start by thinking about flyers and leaflets you can hand out. These are handy for people to read later, especially if they don't have time to stop and chat. But you should think about how else to promote your brand too. I'll be honest, usually the brochures and flyers that I collect at trade shows gets tossed in a bag and not looked at for months. It's the unique stuff that gets my attention. For example, I love collecting branded USB keys. I have quite a collection from attending CES and the Chicago Auto Show. Get creative with the items you use. You could hand out branded water bottles, like the ones from Dynamic Gift. Or you do something quirky like ordering cookies with your logo on them.
It very important to make sure you have the technical gear to run your booth before the show. Make a list of everything that you need before you pack up. That list should include everything from surge protectors, extension cords, laptops, speakers, USB cables, and everything else. Going out to get a USB cable or power cord could be a major hassle.
Make sure you've got everything you need before you set off for a trade show. Your branded items are especially important to remember.