As you plan your company’s schedule of upcoming trade shows, there are some ways you can significantly cut your costs with a bit of forethought. The truth is, the best trade show marketing tips are for things you do in advance of the shows where you will exhibit. Many businesses try to postpone their expenditures for trade show appearances as long as possible, but doing so can mean missing out on some big opportunities for saving money and getting better exposure. By planning your exhibits a year ahead of time, you gain advantages like being able to select your booth team, train them thoroughly and at a pace that allows them to better absorb the material; it ensures that those team members can plan their work in advance, so their absence during the show doesn’t cause a log-jam in your company’s workflow; it gives time for your team to launch a really effective campaign of pre-show marketing, and it gives you time to take advantage of the best deals.
- Be First In Line – If you’ve ever exhibited at a trade show before, you’re probably already aware that nearly all shows offer discounts for exhibitors who book space early because it helps their cash flow. In many cases, you’ll get a preferential choice of booth space and additional space outside the booth. At some shows, booking early and making a panel pitch increases your chances of being accepted, and you may be able to schedule time in the show’s public demo spaces by asking early on. Keep careful track of all the deadlines for the shows you plan to attend, so you never miss an opportunity to snap up premium space or savings. Once your space is booked, and any appearances or special events are approved, you’ll have extra time to mount a pre-show marketing campaign that will bring in all the qualified prospects your team needs for big success!
- Travel Savings – After your space is booked and your team is chosen, you can slash your costs even further by booking flights, hotels, rental vehicles, and any other travel-related reservations your team will need. You may be able to get discounted hotel rates through the show, or you may be able to negotiate an even deeper discount by booking a block of rooms for your team all at once. Ask about the hotel’s cancellation policy, and, if possible, book one more room than you expect to need, just in case. Keep track of the deadline for canceling the extra room without a penalty. One important bit of cost-saving advice: Beware the temptation of non-refundable flights. Any bookings you make in advance that cannot be transferred to another person (like plane tickets) should be refundable. You’re planning a year in advance, and sometimes, life happens.
- Bulk Purchasing – Often, we see companies handing out literature or giveaway items that include a date or a specific show’s identity. While those can add to the exclusive feel of the items, they can also be more costly than you might initially think, since they’re not very useful after that show or date is past. The less obvious cost of ordering that way is that you will order smaller batches, which typically come at a higher per-piece cost. If your company plans a year ahead and orders in batches as big as the budget allows, you’ll get the best price per item and you won’t need to worry about them “going stale.”
Take Advantage Of The Best Trade Show Marketing Tips
Planning ahead offers your company plenty of chances to slim down costs while making training, preparation, and logistics easier, and, ultimately, making your entire trade show marketing program more effective and profitable.