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It’s all about the Benjamins | How to set a tradeshow budget

Benjamin basics

Your core tradeshow budget should include the following: Displays and graphics, booth space, carpeting, electrical, giveaways and literature, lead tracker/badge scanner, freight/shipping, drayage and material handling, airline tickets, hotel, and meal and entertainment costs.  Add in a little extra padding for unforeseen circumstances.




What do you want to give away to your booth visitors? Expos are a great place for promotional product giveaways that are appealing to show attendees and work to reinforce your brand. To attract attention to your booth, have something that will help your business stand out and that will be useful to your customers and prospects. This cost can be amortized over several shows if you purchase your tchotchke in a large quantity.



Lit major

When it comes to your business’s written marketing materials, you may not need to start from scratch. If want to create a basic brochure, you could take your most popular Facebook posts or Tweets, and repurpose them for your tradeshow customers. If you want something with a higher level of detail, you can create product sheets or fliers with repurposed blog posts. This gives previously published marketing materials the opportunity to do double duty and reach a fresh audience. This can keep creative costs down.



But wait– there’s more!

Sometimes, despite all of your planning, you have to make a last-minute addition to your plan. Remember that the extra promotional giveaways and brochures will affect your bottom-line shipping cost. Overnight or expedited shipping can also have a significant impact on the cost. In addition to the actual shipping cost, exhibitors generally save in material handling and drayage by shipping to the advance warehouse rather than the show site; you must plan ahead to make these deadlines. Make sure to leave plenty of time in order to ship your trade show displays without the added charge.




Installation and dismantling is another one of those costs that can sneak up on your budget. Depending on the size of your booth space and your goals, you may be using a display that requires I&D services (i.e., labor). Other displays can be set up quickly by your booth staff and will not require any labor. Every exhibitor should be clear on this point so s/he knows what to expect.

Let the exhibitor book be your guide. Each expo provides exhibitors with an online book containing all of the important dates, costs, and details involved in exhibiting at the show. Yes, many details are involved in budgeting for a trade show. The bottom line is that planning ahead and covering all of your bases will save you time and money… and stress!

What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!





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