Doing a trade show is a great way of raising your brand awareness. You get in front of people you know are looking for products and services similar to what you’re offering. This means everyone is a potential customer. Trade shows are often better than other forms of marketing because of this. When someone sees a billboard or advertisement, there’s a chance they don’t need what you’re offering. That’s typically not the case at trade shows.


Trade shows are also often aimed at business-to-business transactions. The attendees may be business owners or other industry leaders who are looking for vendors and other companies to partner with. At farm trade shows, for example, farmers are typically there looking for new equipment or farming tools they can use to increase efficiency. It’s a chance for manufacturers to interact directly with customers. 


If you’ve never done a trade show before, you may not know exactly what you need in your booth. If you don’t bring the right items, it’s possible you won’t bring in that many new customers or partners. TNT Signs has worked with a number of business owners to create amazing trade show booths, and we’re here to help you. Let’s take a look at what you need when preparing for your first trade show so it will be a success.

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Make a Plan

Good trade show booths aren’t the work of a day or two of building on the show floor—they’re the result of months of planning and preparation. You need to determine what your booth will look like, whether you’ll rent materials from the venue or bring your own, and what you’ll display or promote. If you have a large suite of services or products, you may not be able to showcase everything. In that case, you may want to pick a few items to highlight and then provide a brochure with more information about other products. Of course, you’ll want to be certain you have cards or other materials with your website and contact information, too. 


A lot of the planning phase will depend on what industry you’re in. If you manufacture products or sell materials, you may want to have samples at your booth. This means you may need tables, shelves, or other items to showcase these products. If you’re more services-based, you may want to include various posters and custom signs with information about what you offer. Both types of booths may benefit from having computer monitors or televisions set up to play videos or slideshows explaining more about your company. If you plan on negotiating or closing deals on the show floor, you may need a semi-private area with a table and chairs. 


Knowing what you’ll need from your booth will also help you determine how large of a space you’ll need. The standard size of many trade show booths is ten feet by ten feet, but you can often book multiple spaces. In some cases, you may want a ten-by-twenty-foot booth at the end of an aisle. In other instances, you may want to get a twenty-by-twenty cube. However, you will want to keep your budget in mind. You do have to pay more for extra booths, and often there’s a premium for having an endcap or for asking for four booths set off by themselves. For your first trade show, you may want to plan out a standard booth size since you don’t know what your return on investment will be.


Preparing Your Materials

Once you have your booth size and layout decided, it’s time to start creating the materials you’ll need to truly sell your services, products, and brand as a whole. These should start with a custom banner or large sign that will attract attendees. You need to have your logo and company name prominently displayed up high where people can see them. You may also want to include your company website or other information on the banner, such as what products or services you offer. The idea is for people to be able to spot and easily read this information from fairly far away. Also remember that your banner will be competing with every other booth’s banner, so think of something to help make it stand out.


You’ll also want to think about smaller banners and signs that lay out information about your company and what you offer. These signs are designed to be read closer up. For example, you could have signs around the walls of your booth for each service or product, then smaller signs under them that provide more information about them. You could also have vertical banners that highlight what you offer and how your brand stands out from the others. 


Don’t forget signs or small banners that act as a call to action. Perhaps you want people to sign up for an email list or to download a free ebook. Maybe you’re doing a drawing and want to make certain people know how to enter. Having a custom sign just for your call to action can help it stand out and get more attention.

Having the Right Handouts

When creating your handouts or pamphlets, there are a few things to keep in mind. These are the materials attendees are going to take home with them, so they need to market your products and services very well. Your potential customers or partners may not necessarily remember everything they saw, read, and learned at your booth. After all, these trade shows often have upwards of a hundred or more booths. Don’t rely on anyone remembering anything from the show floor. 


Ideally, your handouts will highlight what your brand does and why you can provide the right solutions to their problems. You will want to include your website, phone number, email, and other information so attendees can reach out to learn more. 


In addition to having one brochure that focuses on your brand and what you do, you may want to have separate handouts for specific products or services, especially if you’re offering something new. These handouts can go into more detail about the product, though you still want to include the basics of your branding and contact information. If you have a collection of handouts, you may even want to have custom folders to hand out that include all of these papers. 


Don’t forget to have something more than just basic brochures. You might include a sticker, a pencil, a magnet, or some other marketing item that’s related to your business. This can help raise awareness of your brand. For example, attendees who stick a magnet on their filing cabinets may be reminded of your brand every day. It’s a good way of keeping people aware of your company even if they’re not actively seeking out your products or services yet.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Perhaps the most important tip for preparing for your first trade show is to start early. As soon as you’ve reserved your space, start working on your booth. If you’re renting tables, chairs, or other items from the venue, you often have to get these requests in early. You also need to make sure you have plenty of time to work on the design of your custom banners, signs, and other items. You need to account for print time, too. A hasty design that hasn’t been proofed and is done as a rush print job may mean the final materials don’t look like you envisioned them. They could even have typos or other errors on them, making your company look unprofessional.


Preparing early also helps you know what you’ll need to do when you arrive and how much time you’ll need. If you’re going to have some sort of walls around your booth, it’s going to take more time to put up than if you’re simply going to have a table you sit behind. The more elaborate your booth is, the more time it will take to build and the more people you may need. 


When it comes to printing your booth materials, TNT Signs can help. We will work with you to make certain you get the items you need well before the trade show starts. We can assist you with designing your items, too. When we’re finished, you’ll have banners, signs, and other items that look great and are made from long-lasting, quality materials.


Reach Out to TNT Signs Today to Learn More

Whether you’re preparing for your first trade show or need to replace all the signs in your office or retail location, we’re here to help. Our team has years of experience in the printing industry that we can put to work for you. In addition to printing signs and banners, we also do stickers, displays, and even full vinyl car wraps. When we’re done, you’ll have an amazing trade show booth along with coordinating marketing materials that will grab attendees’ attention and make them remember your brand for months after they get home. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more.