This month we look at practical tips on cutting or conserving your trade show and special events budget:
Click here to review last month’s article: “7 Reasons Why Trade Shows Are (Even More) Important in A Down Economy”.
1. Be more selective. Focus on shows and events that bring in your best prospects, not necessarily the most prospects. Drop those with the least impact or which no longer match your goals.
2. Look for and negotiate better rates for exhibiting at shows. Show promoters need to keep their numbers up and they want to keep you happy and on board.
3. If you cannot negotiate a lower rate for a show, negotiate for add-ons at no or lowered cost. For instance, ask for reduced or waived charges for pre-show mailing or emailing lists, and use them to your advantage in inviting both clients and prospects. This is a win-win for you and the show. (Please, see bonus item #11 below)
4. Consider renting a booth if you’re new to trade shows and exhibit in 3 or less a year.
5. Consider buying accessories instead of renting, if you exhibit often. You can get tiled or rolled carpet, for the price of one or two carpet rentals. We can even get them for you with a logo.
6. Downsize with highly portable tension fabric displays.
Create dramatic impact in reduced sized booth space, with:
. Drastically reduced weight (lowering shipping/drayage costs)
. Greater flexibility in design (so they can be adapted with specific messages for different shows at least cost),
. Increased ease of use in setting up (potentially eliminating or reducing I&D costs)
These products have doubled in sales over the last year as a result.
7. Reduce shipping of marketing materials. Remember most of it gets thrown out. Use literature racks like the Zedup so you can offer single page marketing slicks to casual visitors in the front-facing pockets, and stash more expensive packets in the back to be given only to your best prospects. Or you might not bring packets at all, and offer to mail instead.
8. Plan ahead and eliminate rush fees. Everything costs more, the closer you get to the show date. Be sure to check your show manual early, create a schedule and stick to it. Cost over-runs will no doubt be looked at more closely than ever.
9. Look at reducing staff related expenses – for example, setting up per diem spending limits. In an era of possible layoffs, staff will be amenable to not looking like they are spendthrifts. On the other hand, be careful of going too far and destroying morale.
10. Your prospects and clients may well focus on attending smaller, more local shows and conferences. You can too.
11. Bonus! Remember those pre-show mailing/emailing lists? Offer a white paper or case study or other valuable item to those who attend – and then offer the same thing after the show to those who were unable to participate. You will be able to connect with additional qualified prospects who could not get approval to attend the event, and they will appreciate your gesture.