Trade Show Handouts that Stick Around After the Show

By: RickHendershot
When planning your trade show marketing program, one of the important things to consider is the series of handouts you will make available to your booth visitors. Full color printed materials are by far your best bet when it comes to trade show handouts. But how do you maximize the impact of such a traditional item?

You've spent significant money on staff training, beautiful graphics, and a professionally designed display. The traffic is pouring through your booth. But will they still remember you tomorrow?

Let's face it, you only have two chances to make your message stick with your booth visitors: your follow-up strategy, and your handouts. Will your handouts make it past the waste basket? Are they an integral part of your follow-up strategy?

Let's be clear here. We're not talking about handing out sexy things like cds, yoyos, ball caps, t-shirts, or beer mugs. Those things have their place, but this is not it. Right now we're talking about getting a piece of product literature into the hands of your prospects and hoping it doesn't get chucked into the garbage can just outside the exhibition hall.

** Why product literature?

Product literature is always the "go to" handout because printed pieces of paper or card stock are cheap. And done correctly they can be more effective, have more staying power, and certainly communicate more about your actual product than things like hats or pens.

So what makes a memorable piece of product literature -- one that a prospective customer will keep? Here are a few suggestions.

** Don't be cheap when it comes to graphic design

A cheap one colour flier may save you money in the short run, but it is much more likely to be pitched into the waste basket. On the other hand, you probably don't need an expensive multi-page brochure. The first one is "underkill", and the second is "overkill". Do an attractive, simple advertising piece that has catchy graphics and a clear statement of "the pitch".

** Use full colour and use striking photographs

Create a striking headline and don't just do a description of the product. Create a "benefit-rich" statement that focuses on some significant customer-oriented benefit of your product.

For example, you can create a headline that says "Powerful Front End Loaders from Mega Loaders", or you can say, "Get the Job Done in Record Time for Half the Price." Which one would you look at?

** Content matters - make a substantial offer

By content we mean the pitch...the offer. Create an offer they cannot discard or ignore. Give something substantial away if they fill in an inquiry form. Or tie your offer in with your website. Create a valuable special offer they can only access online. Put it in the form of a "valuable coupon", something like this:

"Get $40 off your next purchase when your register on line."

This encourages your prospects to keep the handout, and also encourages them to respond by going to your website and having another close look at your special offer. What could be better? An automatic followup strategy.

** Give them something they will keep

Often a business card is the best. Everybody keeps business cards. Often we keep them long after the person has left the company or the company has ceased to exist. Most of us have a little (or big) pile of business cards. And some of us have a drawer full of them. A few of us even have them carefully sorted in a Rolodex.

Make your business card stand out from the crowd. Spend a little extra and do it in full color. Put a photo of your product on it, or use a striking photo that illustrates the benefits of your product. This says "credibility" -- "this company is for real".

In other words, business cards -- especially full color cards -- are good. You might even consider a "double whammy" full color perforated post card / business card combination. The 3.5" x 6" (or whatever) postcard contains a coupon type offer, and the attached (perforated) business card can be neatly torn off and kept in your pile, drawer, or Rolodex.

Remember to make your printed handouts memorable, creative, and substantial and enough people will keep them to pay you back many times over for the bit of extra cost involved.
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