Many companies in the U.S. rely on trade shows to do a large portion of their marketing. For some businesses trade shows represent all of their face-to-face marketing outside of their sales team. Trade shows are important events, and that means your business likely needs to maximize the impact of each show attended.
Print materials are one such way to leave a lasting impression during your next exhibition. If professionally designed and developed, print collateral can deliver your company’s message faster and in a way that encourages engagement. Both important traits for any industry event.
How Printed Materials Can Boost Your Engagement
Print is still the world’s primary means of communication and has a critical advantage – its visual and tactile nature. Although there’s no substitute to a persuasive face-to-face conversation, those can be difficult to capture and maintain. The next best thing is communicating visually with print. Here’s how printed materials can boost the results for your next trade show:
- Reinforcing brand messaging and graphics – The better your brand does, the better your business does. A powerful brand drives engagement with your company, offline and online, and it drives brand recall, too. If your branding can keep your company in the forefront of your lead’s minds, those leads will be more likely to turn to your business when making purchasing decisions.
An effective brand is important and print materials can reinforce your brand. All of your trade show materials can serve as mediums for your brand’s logo, colors, typography and other identifying marks. It may boil down to simple repetition, but adorning your brochures, order forms, banners, business cards, sell sheets and other print handouts will ensure your company sticks out. Take it a step further and create branded swag like hats, shirts, phone chargers, USB drives and more that people will see, use, and display for months after the show ends.
- Attracting additional booth visitors – Print banners and other display elements are proven attention-getters, especially if they’re designed with brand-boosting graphics, colors, and layouts. It’s the same idea behind using signage to catch the eye of pedestrians or motorists as they pass by a business’s physical location.
Vivid print signage attracts the eye and convinces potential clients to at least consider your company. Many of these people will be drawn to your booth, offering a passive marketing advantage that every business could use at a busy trade show.
- Directing visitor behavior in desirable ways – It’s one thing to attract additional traffic to your booth, but getting those visitors to do what you want – that’s another challenge entirely.
Print products can steer visitor behavior to an extent, encouraging them to leave their contact information or fill out an order form. The easier it is for potential clients to leave their information with you, the easier it will be for your trade show team to generate useful leads. Print forms standardize the information-taking process and allows visitors to leave their info with confidence.
- Creating a convincing sell sheet (one pager) – Your trade show team will do a lot of pitching to potential clients, and it never hurts to have an effective visual aid on your side. Sell sheets, also called one pagers, can do much of the pitching for your team. These items are especially effective for products that are difficult to explain verbally. A sell sheet reinforces your team’s sales pitch by answering questions your clients are likely to ask, as well as providing hard data that can influence purchasing decisions.
Making the Most of Your Trade Show Print Materials
If your next convention or trade show is on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about print materials. Specifically, how your branded materials will fit into your show strategy. Here’s what your organization can do to fully leverage the power of print and ensure maximum impact:
- Plan early and plan fully – Chances are, you’ll need more printed materials than you think, and it takes time to generate the variety of print, apparel, and swag items that your trade booth team will need. Further, you’ll need time to map out your print strategy and how it will connect to your trade show goals.
As such, the earlier your marketing team gets started on planning out its print resources, the more effective those print resources are apt to be. Further, by getting started early, you’ll have time to consult with a commercial printer and develop high-impact print ideas that your marketing team may not have considered on their own.
- Match your print products to your goals – What’s the mission for your next trade show? Develop warm leads? Pick up loads of contact information? Generate orders? Spark awareness for a new product launch? Elevate your brand over competitors?
Print can be a valuable part of any of the above strategies, but only if it’s matched to your goals early on. If you are developing brand or product awareness, for example, brochures and one pagers are the way to go. If you need contact information, using branded contact forms, business cards and loyalty cards are effective options. The sooner this is set in stone, the easier it will be to match print objectives to trade show objectives.
- Get your messaging out early – Print can help your business do a little premarketing before the real marketing takes place at the event. Ideally, your company already has knowledge of what the market looks like for its products and services. Ideally, you’ve identified some high-value targets that your trade show efforts will be aimed at. And ideally, you’ll get the word out to those organizations that your brand will be on exhibit. One way to do this is with print postcards featuring your brand’s graphics, messaging, contact information and “hook,” – the reason your (hopeful) lead should patronize your convention booth. E-mails can be easily missed or disposed of, but a well-designed piece of print is harder to ignore and more likely to end up on a decision maker’s desk.
- Follow up after the show is over – After all of that planning and effort invested in the preshow and during the event itself, it would be a shame to neglect following up with your new leads. As every marketing professional knows, it takes several touchpoints with leads to turn them into customers, so your organization will cost itself money if it fails to follow up after the show.
This can be done with print, too. As soon as the event is over, consider sending out information packets or brochures to remind visitors of your brand and offerings. Even better – if your company is working with an experienced commercial printer, they can print QR codes on your materials which can be used to deliver this information or direct people to an online ordering form. This is a low effort means of capturing would-be customers.
A Reputable Commercial Printer Can Provide High-Impact Print Materials for Trade Show Success
Another important piece of advice – partner with an experienced commercial printer who has done trade shows before. If your printer is experienced in this way, they’ll have a clear idea of what types of materials your company will need, when they’ll need them, and whether additional considerations – like QR code printing – would be a good idea.
In most industries, major trade shows only come around a few times a year. And for some, it may be 2-3 years between major industry exhibitions, so it’s important to make an impact when you can. A reputable commercial printer can help ensure your booth is well stocked with the best branding materials available.