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Exhibiting at a trade show? Do’s and Don’ts of Promotional Material

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by Startacus Admin

Throughout any visit to a conference, trade show convention or Summit, you’ll be handed promotional materials, be it business cards, flyers or something a little less traditional - it’s going to happen.
Opposite side of the coin, if you’re exhibiting at an event as such, you should most definitely be handing out promotional materials. After handing out your information, you don’t want to venture afoot only to find your resources sitting in a bin.
Fret not, as we at Startacus are here to lend some advice for the budding entrepreneur on all matters promotional material-wise; with our Do’s and Don’tsExhibiting at a trade show- Do's and Don'ts of promotional material

We may as well start with the easy part;
    · Make all material concise and to the point
    · Make it easy to transport
    · Make it appealing to the eye
    · Make it memorable
    · Ensure your business name, and contact details are present
    · Highlight, not only with pictures but in words, what your business offers/does.

That’s the easy part, but now to elaborate on our Don’ts:

Exhibiting at a trade show- Dos and Don'ts of promotional materialDon’t Give out a 150 page a4 book highlighting your life story. Investors don’t care what colour crayons you used to eat as a kid. If your inspiration is convoluted, they’ll assume your business is too and thus not care. Your materials should cover the basics; who you are, where you’re based, what you do and how to contact the relevant people at your company. All of which is doable on a business card, or a5 flyer at a push. This sends a message of concise business to interested parties. If they want more, they’ll ask for it.
(Some people think this makes your business look cheap, however if your business had the money to publish a book, it doesn’t need investment or attention, whereas a nicely designed flyer could be made and bought by a design student on a budget. Who’s to know?)

Don’t produce some bulky fragile mess of a contraption that noone in their right mind is going to keep a hold of. If your story and details are on a laser cut cardboard box that takes up a whole arm’s carrying capacity, it can and will end up recycled. Even if your business is heavily involved in laser work, there’s no harm in making something smaller and more discreet - you are working with lasers after all.
Another reason to keep it small is to lower competition. If competitors see an investor or promoter walking by with your contraption, that advertises who this person is. If you managed to impress said investor, who’s to say your competitor won’t then target and impress the same investor also, thus damaging any potential investment you could have obtained.

Don’t just hand out a bland piece of paper with some Times New Roman explaining the situation. You wouldn’t buy anything like that yourself, and neither would any interested party. Even fast food places make their goods packaging memorable. Therefore, you have absolutely no excuse!

Don’t omit anything of importance. Just because your company’s name is on your material with a cool logo and a photo, it doesn’t mean that anyone will necessarily remember exactly who they spoke to, discussed or even what your company does. If they’re a busy investor or promoter, odds are, if they don’t know what you are immediately about upon looking back at your material, they have other people they can go to who will do a better job at self promotion. I know their name; That's it...

And Finally

Don’t make your material too simplistic either, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a few images or graphics anywhere, make it stand out, make it noticeable. If you were to see your material, would you want to know more? No? Then back to the drawing board! If yes then you’ve nailed it!
As a side note, if you’re a pet minding service, random photos of animals will not help your company, but it may brighten someone’s day, so well done.

There you have it - the basics of an effective piece of promotional material. You should take this knowledge with you the next time you’re creating any for an event. On that we’ll leave you with one last point to ponder.


Ask yourself; If you looked at the material you are handing out to people, only once; Would you be interested? If the answer is no, then you have work to do!

If you found these tips on the dos and dont of promotional material when exhibiting at trade fairs helpful, why not check out some of these other helpful advice pieces?

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Published on: 12th November 2014

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