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Seven Tips for Stretching Your Exhibit Dollars

Whether you’re planning your company’s first exhibit or taking over an exhibit schedule previously handled by another trade show manager, the associated costs can be a little intimidating. If your budget is limited, these seven tips can help you get the most out of your exhibit dollars:

1. Consider Rental. Booth rental can sometimes be a more practical solution than owning, particularly if you’re uncertain about your long-term commitment to exhibiting. Short-term rental expenses may make more sense than buying and amortizing custom materials that may later end up going unused. When locally sourced, rentals can often save you shipping and storage expenses. Click here to learn more about Skyline’s rental service centers

2. Refurbish Rather Than Replace. Trade show exhibits can start to show their wear after several years of cross-country travel. If your budget is tight and you can’t commit to a brand new booth, consider updating your signage or adding a few new components.

3. Consolidate Your Shipments. Although it’s not always possible to send your materials in one shipment, any minimum parcel fees can really add up if you end up sending 15-20 additional boxes after your initial pallet. When you do send follow-up shipments, try to shrink-wrap them into a single unit, which will save you parcel fees, and reduce the chance of lost boxes.

4. Remember: “Freemiums” Aren’t Free. Your booth giveaways may seem small and inconsequential, but their costs do add up. As nice as it can be to have swag customized for each event, the costs of those short-run orders (as well as any excess, aged inventory left over after the show) can really break the bank. Strive for “evergreen” giveaways that you can use at every show, and buy in bulk to lower your unit costs.

5. Consider Virtual Swag. A lot of mass-merchandise premiums end up generating no leads, or are essentially exchanged for hundreds of cold leads that your sales team will never have time to follow up on. Instead of giving away lots of mediocre giveaways, put several pieces of highly-visible, highly-valuable swag on display. When attendees inquire about it, offer to mail it to them after the show in exchange for answering a detailed digital marketing survey. You’ll likely see a better ROI on your investment this way, and your sales team will have better qualified, post-show leads.

6. Less is More for Banners. Keep your trade show graphics as simple as possible, so you can reuse them from year to year. Save the details, limited time offers, etc., for your booth staffers to share in show floor conversations.

7. Explore Cooperative Booth Space. Sharing a booth with an allied local business can not only let you split booth costs, it may allow you access to a better location in the show than you could afford if exhibiting solo. In addition, you can often capitalize on each other’s marketing leads.

About the Author

Jon Althoff was the Senior Director of Global Marketing for Skyline Exhibits.

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