For trade show sales tips to work, a group effort is needed. It’s not just a person or booth, or even some really sweet giveaway that will clinch the deal - it’s all of those things working together in a purposeful and driven manner. 

Improved sales and marketing at a trade show are possible through the use of five functional habits at events. 

  1. Prepare to Engage
  2. Design Private Spaces
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Maintain Strong Records
  5. Incentivize Your Products

Putting these tips into practice can help your sales representatives make the most of every trade show event.  

See how you can turn potential customers into real ones at your next business event through solid calls to action that make people want to buy your product. 

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Trade Show Sales Tips To Put in Practice Now

The biggest trade shows in the world can have thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors. Making the decision to showcase products and sell at a trade show is daunting. There, more so than any other venue, has competitors going head to head in real-time. 

To run a successful trade show booth, multiple factors need careful attention. 

Every booth at an event is going to go through similar challenges. Closing more deals than the competition require further development of useful habits. 

We’re going to review five unique tips and habits to make your next trade show event worthwhile. 

  1. Prepare to engage
  2. Design private spaces
  3. Know your audience
  4. Maintain strong records
  5. Incentivize your products

Regardless of what your product is or where an event is taking place, implementing these tips regularly can help you engage with trade show attendees on a meaningful and profitable level.   

trade show sales tips showing engagement between people with a smile and a handshake

1. Prepare to Engage

Any good sales pitch begins with engaging conversation. A great sales pitch starts with a compelling story and allows people to make a contribution to the outcome

There are a number of ways to introduce a product while getting people talking at the same time. 

If people are coming up to a booth only to be ignored, sales will remain stagnant. A simple greeting like ‘hello, how are you’ isn’t going to cut it when everyone around you says the same thing; it will be an excuse for someone to say ‘fine’ and keep right on walking. 

After over two years of remote meetings and virtual tours, people are eager to get back to trade shows. They crave meaningful and face-to-face interactions. With the right attitude and approach, a sales team can provide that and get the sale.   

For more in-depth information, check out our article on trade show lead generation

2. Design Private Spaces

Once people are listening and engaged, it’s time to actually start the sales part of the conversation. It can be hard to get into fine details out in the open, however; there are constant distractions from people walking by and conversation at nearby booths. 

Designing a private space within your booth where you can guide interested attendees for further conversation can minimize distractions. How private a space you can design depends on how much floor space you have to work with. 

Based on your circumstances, consider some of the following options:

If you really don’t have the space for such a setup, consider arranging for a meeting room at the convention center. To encourage people to set aside time, you can set up QR codes they can scan for reminder texts that let them know when such meetings are taking place. 

Check out these seven epic tactics for a trade booth design that can elevate your display to the next level

3. Know Your Audience

Many trade shows are open to the general public. This can sometimes make it difficult for sales teams to determine if the people approaching their booth are serious customers. Depending on the products or services offered, building an ideal customer profile before an event is helpful

Taking the time to look at recent statistics will reveal how important it is to create these profiles. 

Trade Show Attendance Statistics

Attendee DetailsAudience Percentage
Interested in finding new brands92%
Planning on making one or more purchases49%
Have buying power/represent executive and upper management82%
Aren’t current customers of companies displayed64%
Source: QualityLogoProducts

A sales team looking at these statistics needs to come up with a plan for weeding through interested individuals. Don’t be rude or ignore those that don’t match up, but carefully manage the time and attention given to them.  

If the goal is to secure sales at the event itself, long conversations should only happen with qualified prospects. A few specific questions during the initial engagement can reveal whether an individual is an actual decision maker or not. 

4. Maintain Strong Records

Someone who isn’t prepared to buy at the moment may still be persuaded to buy after a trade show has finished. After the trade show floor closes, the next phase of the sales plan kicks in. Anyone who approached your booth and provided contact information should be followed up with

Depending on what kind of contact information was collected, follow-up communication can consist of:

Trade show marketing is something that takes place before, during, and after an event. Keep track of how you’re reaching out to people and how people react to your display after a show. 

Track information such as social media joins and signups that occur right after an event. It provides yet another metric for how impactful a presentation or sales pitch was for attendees. 

View of a crowded trade show floor from high angle

5. Incentivize Your Products

Even if you have the most engaging and attentive sales team on the floor, they still need people to come up to them. The street vendor approach is effective but exhausting. You can make it a little easier on the team by providing the kind of incentives that make attendees take the first step instead. 

Common booth attractions include:

Make product incentives clear and simple. Keep offers within set parameters to avoid confusion and anger over small print details. Offers and incentives should align with your brand values. 

For example, if the company is touting itself as eco-friendly but is handing out folders with various sheets of printed information, the wrong message might come across. It may be preferable to display a QR code that links to the information or even provide a thumb drive with digital files pre-loaded. 

The same goes for selling prices. A competitor may be priced lower, but may not be able to offer the same kinds of support services or individualized deals. Incentivize the things about your product and company that make it stand out from the competition. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Trade Show Sales Pitch

Despite the wide popularity of trade shows, many companies still doubt how effective they are.  In tough economic times, strong return on investments are needed

On top of promoting good practices, it's important to avoid bad ones. Bad habits and poorly thought-out displays do considerable harm to a company’s long-term image and budget. 

Common mistakes to be avoided include:

Following the five trade show sales tips we already reviewed goes a long way in avoiding bad habits. If you’re new to trade shows or have a new team you aren’t familiar with, it doesn’t hurt to review a list of dos and don’ts. 

Finding a winning rhythm for shows takes time. If you feel that your booth is lacking in something, outsourcing could be the right solution. 

Don’t have a graphics designer on staff that can do the job? There are entire businesses dedicated to it. Struggling with how you’re going to ship and care for everything from show to show? Hire a logistics company with experience in trade show shipping services. 

You can have a successful trade show experience with the right attitude and the right partners by your side. 

Practice Success With USA Trade Show Shipping

Big and small events are the first step of a longer sales cycle. Let USA Trade Show Shipping help you take that first step. 

We’ve shipped displays and equipment for major distributors to trade shows all across the country. Our experienced crews can load up and set up displays to showcase your products in their best light. 

Ask how we can help with:

Call us today at (866) 415-8986 to speak with our expert staff. Shopping around for prices and services? Get a quote for your needs online today. 

USA Trade Show Shipping is ready to help you spread product awareness far and wide. Contact us today

Trade show messaging is most effective when it’s planned with a specific goal in mind. Messaging from a new company that’s just trying to get noticed is different from an established business looking for long-term customers. Having a clear target audience in mind is one way to start. 

Trade show messaging is a form of marketing that uses written, spoken, and visual communication to attract clients. Messaging begins before the trade show starts through press releases and other social announcements. Communication continues through the length of the show and even beyond with the use of post-show follow-ups. 

Find your target audience and see what trade show messaging practices best suit your business goals. 

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Trade Show Messaging For Marketing

As a marketing tool, informative messaging is needed if you want to attract the right kind of people to your trade show booth. Your message is a reflection of your brand, products, and services so you want to make sure it’s on point

Clear messaging begins with clear goals. Before any kind of trade show exhibit design is put together or an email template is drafted, you need to research your target audience.   

trade show messaging as attendees line up at a booth

Finding Your Target Audience

Trade shows can be fun events for both marketers and attendees, but the bottom line is that your company is there to generate leads for revenue. It pays to be selective when attracting trade show attendees to your booth.  

Ask your marketing team to consider the following questions during the planning phase.

The answers you come up with should directly impact not just your messaging choices, but your entire trade show booth design. Having the right look is just as important as having the right words. 

Timing Your Messages

You’ve likely heard the phrase - timing is everything, and as cliché as it is, it’s also very true. Send messages out too soon and the hype dies down before the show even begins. If you wait too long, you might not be noticed in time or lose out to a company that was more aggressive in its promoting strategies. 

Frequency also matters, so make sure messages for customers don’t get overwhelming or tedious. It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time how you plan on using messaging before, during, and after a trade show. 

Convention center lobby with people riding the escalator up and down the second floor


Failing to announce your presence at special events like trade shows means you’re missing out on the opportunity to attract attendees to your trade show display before they even see it. 

Simply announcing your presence, however, also isn’t enough to make you stand out. If you’re a start-up seeking angel investors, your brand means nothing without some information behind it. A cool logo will only attract so much attention. 

Information you put out before a trade show should include:

Large companies can also fall into the trap. Relying on past success is a great way for your hungrier competitors to swoop in with something new. Going into every trade show with something new - or at least newly marketed, will keep current clients interested and attract new potential leads. 

Established companies can still generate hype through the following practices: 

If you build up an email list, you can continue to send out information specific to your company and its presence at upcoming events. Something similar is possible through social media when you get people to follow or join your company’s social page. 


Once the trade show is underway, messaging efforts should ramp up. In many ways, everything you or your sales representatives do at a show should in some way relate to messaging. Effective trade show marketing is all about getting messaging right. 

Drafting a welcome message for a trade show combines all of your pre-show promotions with the events that will actually be taking place. Your message can be a banner displayed at your booth or something that goes out through SMS and email for attendees that might be participating virtually.

Messaging should be purposeful in all aspects of your setup, including:

Your marketing team should have established a clear call to action before the event began. With it, it's possible to design messaging custom to the trade show goals already established. Whether you’re heavily promoting a new product or looking to establish a new business with a strong brand message, trade show messaging matters. 


Your follow-up communication after a trade show event just might be the most important part of messaging. The entire purpose of participating in a trade show is to generate new business in some way. However, most trade show attendees don’t make deals or purchases at the event itself. 

In fact, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), it takes about three and a half meetings to officially close a sale that started with a lead at a trade show. If you generate enough leads during an event, that means your sales personnel should be very busy in the weeks following an event. 

Some of your messaging will depend on how you plan to follow up. While email is the most common, there are benefits to approaching leads from multiple angles. 

Follow-Up Methods by Popularity*

Direct Calling68%
Face-to-Face Meeting42%
Social Media27%
Direct Mail25%
Source: DisplayWizard / *Surveyed exhibitors could select multiple options

In the same survey, only 1% of exhibitors claimed they never followed up with leads after a trade show. If nothing else, that should convince you of how important messaging is after a show is over. 

How quickly you get in touch with the people you connected with during a trade show indicates your company also takes customer service seriously. Any information you gathered from the lead should be used when contact is made again. 

Even if you collected hundreds of emails, just taking the time to use the contact person’s name provides a personal touch. Even if you don’t think a lead has serious potential, something as simple as a thank you letter can make a surprising amount of difference. 

The rising popularity of face-to-face meetings also highlights that people are eager for interaction after being limited to virtual interactions for the better part of two years during the height of Covid-19. 

Large hallway with people walking back and forth

What are the Best Messaging Platforms For Trade Shows?

Deciding what platform to use when designing your messaging can be overwhelming because there are so many to choose from. The truth is that effective messaging uses multiple platforms. Trade shows actually highlight the importance of messaging variety. 

A quick look at almost any trade show reveals a wide variety of messaging methods being used at the same time. From video presentations to QR code displays, you’ll see it all being used in a variety of ways. 

Some of the most frequently employed messaging services include: 

Most likely, your company is going to use a combination of these messaging services. In any case, no platform should be used without proper development of the message itself. A showy display that provides no meaningful information isn’t worth the investment. 

Protect Your Displays With USA Trade Show Shipping

However you chose to display your company’s message, USA Trade Show Shipping is here to help. We have shipped displays of all shapes and sizes to conventions all across the United States. 

Looking for help with setup and breakdown services too? USA Trade Show Shipping offers customizable service packages to meet your needs. You can have peace of mind knowing that your investment is being taken care of. 

Call us today at (866) 415-8986 to speak directly with a representative who can recommend services based on your needs. 

Already know where you’re heading? Request an online quote and get your show on the road. Trust USA Trade Show Shipping to help you get your message to the world. 

Looking at trade show giveaways under $1 doesn’t make you cheap - it makes you thrifty and market conscious. Like many businesses dealing with the rapid rise in inflation, your marketing budget has probably been cut down. That means the money you do have for events like trade shows needs to stretch further than ever while remaining effective. 

The U.S. Department of Labor released the latest Consumer Price Index in July of 2022 which revealed the majority of items had increased 8.5% in price in the last year. With trade shows finally resuming, companies can stretch their marketing budget by focusing on choosing affordable promo items meant to suit the audience.

Find ways to stretch your spending budget for trade show needs and check out great giveaways for under $1 that can still get your brand noticed. 

sales representative reviewing brochure information with interested person

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Trade Show Giveaways Under $1: Why It’s Good for Business

There was a time you might have been able to roll out the red carpet of swag for trade show attendees. From mini desk vacuums to bamboo cheeseboards - your table had the best of the best. Well, times have changed and the fancy cheeseboard budget was slashed by rising inflation. 

Uncertain economic times call for ways to save money, but you still have an obligation to generate leads and bring in new business. Trade shows remain a great option for new and longstanding businesses to promote their brand and services. 

Whether by choice or need, refocusing your attention on inexpensive promotional items allows both money and focus to stay on developing your business services. When people do give you a call because they found that cheap bottle opener you handed out last show, you can have a quality product and service to show for it. 

How a company spends its budget is going to have a greater impact long term. Marketing is a must, but consider other important things your business needs to develop. 

Business Spending Statistics

Average percentage of revenue companies spend on marketing9.5%
Percentage of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who believe their teams lack sales closing skills58%
Average percentage of business revenue funneled back into employee wages and salaries40 - 80%
Estimated change in shipping costs since the beginning of the pandemic. 300%
Expected increase in IT spending for business costs, such as supporting remote workers8.6%

No matter how you look at business expenses, costs are on the rise for everything from benefits to keeping the lights on. Marketing is necessary, but with most company marketing budgets still at pre-pandemic levels, it’s important to put funds where they will do their best. 

Trade shows, while proven to be a good source for sales leads, can quickly become a money pit. With so many CMOs worried about the lack of closing skills within their marketing teams, the money from fancy swag might be better put to use in developing and training your sales and marketing force. 

No amount of fancy swag ever sold company product - your people need to be at their best to showcase the best to every customer that comes by.

Being able to start meaningful and engaging conversations is a skill all trade show reps should acquire.  

trade show giveaways under $1 mini magnet calendar on refrigerator

Can A $1 Item Really Help My Business?

If money is so tight, why not skip the cheap promotional items altogether and use the funds and production time for other things? You don’t skip the trade show because you don’t want to lose out on developing brand awareness and the potential profit that results. 

Used effectively, a promotional giveaway has the ability to generate leads both during and after a trade show. The trick is to know your audience and choose products accordingly. 

The goals associated with promotional products are the same regardless of how much it costs

Accomplishing these goals with items that cost less than a dollar is marketing at its finest.  

Good for the Show

Before you begin the order process for your budget-friendly customs print items, take a moment to consider the kind of trade show your company attends. Raising brand awareness with cheap promos is all about using the right promos with the right audience

Choosing well means knowing your location and your audience well. Details that you should examine more closely include:

A nail file and a mini tape measure can each be ordered in bulk for less than a dollar. However, you may not want to use them for the same industries. An expo of fashion and make-up might be a better place for the nail file versus some sort of construction or hardware industry show. 

The top list of trade shows by industry can be found here in our comprehensive guide. 

If you don’t want to focus on the industry so much, consider small items that meet attendee needs right there at the show. Attendees will have slightly different needs between summer and winter expos, even in the most temperate parts of the country. 

Likewise, shows that take place outdoors can put attendees at greater risk of weather changes. Something as simple as a hand fan can keep attendees comfortable enough to stay talking with engaging representatives. 

These may include items such as:

Some of these items may not last too far beyond the show itself, but if they are inexpensive and useful enough, you can easily flood the trade show floor with them and get more traffic directed your way. Traffic to your booth means your sales reps are kept busy talking with participants and generating leads

Check out our article on how to generate and manage leads to really get your investment back. 

Either way, always keep your Return on Investment (ROI) in mind. Whatever money you put in, you want to generate a realistic potential of earning it back. When everything costs more than it did a year ago, as revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, getting people to spend money on your company comes down to your people.   

Leads Beyond the Convention

Another common reason that attendees like swag at trade shows are for the overall usefulness of an item. Any item that survives the event itself and makes it into homes, cars, and offices has the potential to generate a lead even months or years after an event has taken place. 

While you may assume that a long-lasting item needs to be something more costly, like a ceramic mug or t-shirts, but that just isn’t the case. 

Simple but useful items that make their way home include:

While some of these items, like calendars and sticky note pads, do eventually outlive their usefulness, they tend to be in open places where they can be easily seen and accessed. 

Items like letter openers or webcam covers might stay in use for years so long as they continue to perform their basic functions. As long as the item is out there - so is your brand and with it, the potential to generate leads leading to income. 

USA Trade Show Shipping: A Swag Savvy Business Partner

Whatever your budget for the next trade show may be, you can choose to stretch it a little further with smart spending. Trade show giveaways under $1 can make just as big of an impact when it comes to getting your brand noticed. 

Of course, you still need to get there on time and with your merchandise intact - which is where USA Trade Show Shipping can help. No matter where your venue is taking place, from Vegas to Miami and beyond, we have the means and the expertise to get you and your items in place. 

Among our value added services we offer:

Get ready to showcase the best of your business and trust USA Truckload Shipping to get you there on time with everything you need. 

Just give us a call at (866) 415-8986 to speak with a representative directly or request an online quote today

Planning eco friendly trade show giveaways is easier than ever before. You don’t need a special promotion or even a company-wide green initiative measure. Just give trade show attendees what they want - quality products - and watch your brand name dominate at events. 

The goal of promotional giveaways at trade show events is to attract potential leads. The more people notice your booth, the more lead-generating power you are going to gain. Eco friendly trade show giveaways have become more popular as individuals and companies place more importance on sustainable products and lifestyles.  

Your company name and logo can be a part of green initiatives and earn you new clients. We discuss why offering an eco friendly item is important and offer a list of popular products.

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Eco Friendly Trade Show Giveaways: Rising Popularity

Giveaways and trade shows have always gone hand in hand. There are whole companies dedicated to producing high-quality swag that businesses can use to promote their brand and attract new customers

Does it really matter whether that product is eco friendly or not? It matters if you want to keep attracting consumers. 

A recent study from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) focused on the impact eco friendly promotional products had on consumers. They found that on average, 46% of people thought better of a company that provided environmentally friendly gear. 

For companies that try to reach specific audiences at trade shows, they also released which age groups were most influenced by eco friendly giveaways. 

Favorable Opinions of Eco Friendly Promo Options by Age Group*

18 - 35 45% 
35 - 54 40%
55+ 53%
*Source: ASI Research Group

Gaining favor as a company is an important part of marketing. The results also reveal that the 55 and up age group is the one most impacted by eco friendly products. Why is this significant?

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, that generation currently holds 51% of the nation’s wealth - which means they have the majority of the nation’s buying power. Even more important for companies still on the fence about eco friendly items, is how much that translates into actual purchases. 

A separate study found that 59% of that age group is willing to pay extra for sustainable products. It stands to reason that if they are willing to pay for it - they are going to be really happy to get it for free too. 

Eco friendly trade show giveaways external charger in a woman's hands

Types of Eco Friendly Promotional Products

Once you make the decision to invest in some eco friendly options for trade shows, you might be wondering what actually qualifies. Is it a plantable business card? A biodegradable stress ball?  

Yes, these things qualify, but the better news is that you don’t have to go to extremes to offer eco friendly options. Let’s consider a few different ways your swag can go green. 

Being Reusable

Providing an item that can be used more than once automatically makes it eco friendly. This can mean everything from tote bags to refillable water bottles. Not only are these items less likely to end up in the trash, but they also have the ability to provide promotional benefits long after a trade show is over. 

In fact, 57% of people asked said that they had held on to good promo products for more than five years

Top reusable promo products include: 

If increased visibility is one of your trade show goals, reusable products are a great way to achieve them. 

Made From Recycled or Sustainable Materials

This category of eco friendly products tends to fit more traditional green thinking. The environmental factor here is simply what it’s made out of. Within this category, there are both reusable and disposable items. 

Common materials for these products include:

These materials and others like them are now widely available and priced much like any other item. Aside from being sustainable, many are also biodegradable so when they do eventually get thrown out, they don’t negatively impact the environment.

Thanks to advances in technology, the list of quality products made from sustainable and recycled materials continues to grow. There also isn’t a need to sacrifice bright colors for earth tones. 

Full-color processes can be used to make recycled and wood-based products just as colorful as anything that came before.   

Digital and Virtual Giveaways

Even as events like trade shows and sports events become normal again, many lifestyles changed forever because of the widespread lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Despite the millions eager to mingle with fellow attendees at trade shows, there remain a number of individuals who still prefer to avoid larger crowds and attend events virtually

These attendees are no less important than those physically present. Digitally based or virtual giveaways benefit those remaining at home. Information based along via QR codes or downloadable PDFs is a good option. 

For those that are physically in attendance, there are digitally geared gifts that help reduce waste. 

At the end of the day, if it brings people to your booth and provides leads for future sales, it’s a good promo product. 

mason jar with stainless steel straws

10 Most Popular Sustainable Product Giveaways

To help you out, we’ve compiled a short list of 10 popular eco friendly trade show giveaway ideas that are both green and under $10. 

  1. Sunglasses: Can be made from recycled plastic, bamboo, and wheat straw
  2. Totes: Available in a variety of sizes and materials, even biodegradable
  3. Reusable sandwich and snack bags: Often made of recycled and laminated cloth
  4. Utensil kits: Never be without a fork, spoon, or knife again
  5. Fabric wristbands: As an alternative to rubber and molded plastic
  6. Stainless Steel straws: Rigid or collapsible and often coming with a cleaning brush
  7. Coasters: Made from everything from plantable paper to recycled tires
  8. Pens and Pencils: Made from bamboo, paper, and even recycled water bottles
  9. Notebooks: Made from recycled paper and often bringing an eco friendly pen
  10. Sports bottles: Made from recycled plastic and wheat straw

No matter what you’re promoting, or what your budget is, you can find eco friendly products that trade show attendees will love. Maximize your return on investment and give back to the environment. 

Move Your Green Gear With USA Trade Show Shipping

Getting ready for your next big trade show - or perhaps it’s your first? Don’t sweat the details and use USA Trade Show Shipping to deliver everything you need on time and in good shape.

With one of the best on-time delivery records in the industry, you can be sure your products will arrive with plenty of time for set up. 

We’ve assisted businesses participating in all the biggest trade shows, from the National Association of Builders (NAB) to SEMA. Our services beat the other guys every time. 

Save the foam stress relievers for the attendees. Partner with USA Trade Show Shipping today! Give us a call at (866) 415-8986 to speak directly with a representative or get an online quote now and start planning your event now.

Before you can learn how to make a trade show booth stand out, you need to grasp just who that booth is for. Trade show attendees can be a tough crowd. They’re surrounded by booths big and small, each one there to get their attention. Attendees know they are the ones with purchasing power, the ones the exhibitors are trying to woo and amaze. How could you hope to stand out in such a crowd? 

For a trade show booth to stand out, you need to mix things up a bit. These 7 epic tactics can bring attendees to you and away from the competition. 

  1. Building Up Hype 
  2. Invest in Smart Booth Design
  3. Creative Swag
  4. Immersive Experiences
  5. Video and Multimedia Use
  6. The Gimmick
  7. Meeting Attendee Needs

Bring the fun and see the magic happen.

Get the best exposure for your business by learning how to put these trade show tips into use for your exhibit.  

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Why You Want to Make Your Trade Show Booth Stand Out

Trade shows are well known for showcasing the latest and most innovative ideas within their respective fields. Whether it's the latest model electric vehicle or the latest ice cream flavor, trade shows can present it. 

According to the Display Wizard Trade Show Report of 2022, the lack of trade shows during the height of the pandemic caused companies to lose out on 55% of their standard new business sales

To make up for those losses, exhibitors need to attract the attention of attendees with buying power and take advantage of face-to-face networking. 

How much can an attractive booth really help with this compared to other trade show tools? Consider what attendees themselves had to say about what attracts them to a booth. 

Successful Methods for Attracting Booth Footfall*

MethodPercentage of Respondents 
Stand-Out Booth48%
Social Media Campaign31%
Exclusive Offers19%
* Sourced from Display Wizard Exhibitor Survey

Among various types of trade show attractions, an eye-catching booth was the number one thing that brought in initial foot traffic. 

Of course, once you get people you need to work on converting those conversations into leads and sales. A great booth is going to bring potential customers in and get them to stay long enough for you to make the best impression possible. 

how to make a trade show booth stand out showing main aisle of a trade show

How to Make a Trade Show Booth Stand Out

Making a booth stand out is about more than simply adding flashy lights or bright colors. You want to be inviting, not an eyesore that people in attendance would vote ‘Most Tacky’. While some argue there is no such thing as bad publicity - you are there to do business and generate leads, not win visual awards. 

We’ve got seven great tactics for your trade show exhibit that will help you reach your target audiences and get them interested in your products and services. 

1. Build Hype Ahead of Events

Getting people interested in your booth starts before anyone even steps foot on the trade show floor. You want people looking for you when they walk in because they’re already excited about what’s offered. 

This is where you can leverage your current network connections through 

Generally speaking, the more interactive your hype methods, the more vested attendees will become in your trade show display. If you are on social media, consider running a poll where future attendees can vote on what swag you should bring. You may also look into the possibility of allowing registered attendees to book appointment windows with your sales representatives. 

The good news here is that even if that person misses their appointment window, you still have contact information that you can follow up on. 

blurred images of lit up trade show booths

2. Invest in Smart Booth Design

In your efforts to bring attention to your booth, good design matters. Certain patterns and colors may draw the eyes’ attention, but be overwhelming enough to discourage someone from actually staying and chatting. 

The same goes for lighting and your use of space. Even if you only have a small spot available, you want to make it as inviting as possible. This may require you to go a bit beyond the standard brand tablecloth and office rack pamphlet display. 

Are such things useful? Of course, you need to get your brand name out there. The problem lies in that the majority of your competition may be doing the exact same thing. How do you stand out in that case?

Allocate some of your trade show budget into ramping up booth design. On the higher end are professionally made set-ups that can be installed for you and made unique for your specific needs. Even if you can’t go that far, consulting with a professional designer can get you on the right track. 

Smart booth designs have a few things in common. 

Other aspects of booth design, such as color schemes or the use of LED lighting, should all be carefully considered. Smart booth design has a purpose, and you want to make sure that it aligns with your trade show goals. 

3. Get Creative With Swag

The typical swag found at a trade show will include branded pens, maybe some coffee mugs, or the ever-favorite button pin. Now, consider what happens to these items. 

Everyone offers pens. These go home and end up in people’s junk drawers and then get lost at grocery stores - there is no lead-generating power here.

In choosing what swag to use as giveaways, quality over quantity is the better way to go. Make your swag unique and useful. The goal is to get people to see it and come to recognize your brand during and after a trade show. 

To choose the right things, you can take into consideration the time of year or geographic location. Consider some of these examples.

Make sure you get everything branded. If it's a slightly unusual item, like the mini-kits, consider stickers or stamps of your brand that can be added on without professional assistance. 

Also, be sure to hold back a few choice items for special visitors like long-standing clients that you want to keep happy. It could be for people who purchase or sign up for your service right away. 

booths being set up at a trade show

4. Provide an Immersive Experience

Creating an experience for people that visit your booth is going to help them remember your brand more easily. 

This can be done through interactive games such as live raffles or scavenger hunts. It can also be done via product demonstrations. If attendees are able to interact with the products during such demonstrations, even better. 

Immersive experiences can also be incorporated into trade show booth design. Is there a seating area where someone can speak directly with a sales rep? Is there space to walk around and perhaps see visuals of your product or service? 

Take advantage of face-to-face interactions and makes sure people’s first impressions are good ones. 

5. Press Play on Video and Multimedia Use

Like smart booth design, the use of video or other multimedia tools taps into using visual appeal. Now that live events are back, it’s become one of the big draws of trade show events. People can see for themselves how something works. 

However, the case may be that you have a product or service that can’t be easily demonstrated live. A video would then be the only way to bring that experience to potential clients. The other fun option could be a VR test run. 

Let’s say you’re at a trade show for building and construction. Your company is set to reveal its latest high-rise crane. You could provide a VR experience for clients who want to know what it’s like to sit in the operating chair of such a vehicle. 

This option can get costly, but it's important to choose video and multimedia options of high-quality images and sound. A well-produced video can also have a life beyond a trade show, so it’s a worthwhile investment.  

view of people walking towards lens in an aisle

6. Don’t be Above the Gimmick

Roll your eyes if you will, but gimmicks come into play for a reason - they work. The trick is to not overuse it or make it something overly serious. 

Presenting at a fashion and beauty show? Check into the local animal shelters to ‘borrow’ well-behaved pets available for adoption and kit them out with a company bandana for a photo booth. You’ll get people flocking to pet puppies and might even help someone find a new best friend while snagging yourself some new clients.  

Have a big booth at the Sweets & Snacks Expo? Have a blind taste test contest and get attendees to compete against each other. 

Medical Expo? Bust out the classic game of ‘Operation’ and let people play while telling them about the top-notch surgical tools provided by your company. 

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. 

7. Find Ways to Meet Attendee Needs

As fun and informative as trade shows can be, they can also be exhausting. Your sales reps might not have a choice but to grin and bear it, but tired attendees tend to disappear after a time. 

Having a space where an attendee can get their second wind provides an opening for sales reps to have meaningful conversations. 

Depending on how much booth space you have, there are a few options.

Meeting needs in practical and considerate ways can help people associate your company and brand with good emotions. Getting potential clients to feel good about your company is half the battle, especially if competition is fierce. 

Rule The Room With Help from Trade Show Shipping Services

Now you’ve got all these great ideas for your next trade show booth, but you still need to get there. Trade Show Shipping can get your whole booth and your swag to any show in the United States. 

We’ve helped freight ship and set up trade show booths in every industry, from bridal shows to heavy equipment and machinery. 

Our experienced consultants can provide you with advice on carriers, shipping methods, and more. As part of our value-added services, we also provide:

Call us today at (866) 415-8986 to speak with someone directly or get an online quote now. Make your next trade show a memorable one with Trade Show Shipping, powered by R+L Global Logistics. 

Trade show scavenger hunts can spice up your next business event and provide a little fun for everyone involved. Far from being just for kids, scavenger hunts can be used as booth promotional material, employee team-building activities, and more.  

A scavenger hunt suitable for a trade show environment should be flexible and provide a few different ways for people to participate. Rules that are too strict will discourage participants, and so will overly complex clues. Exclusive prizes are a must, so don’t award something people could get by going up to a random booth. 

Buckle up and get some great ideas you can incorporate from your booth location at the next trade show. 

Trade Show Scavenger Hunts: Fun For All

Trade show scavenger hunts - A man excitedly dances

Having fun activities at trade shows helps create a laid-back atmosphere and encourages active participation. Nothing brings out people’s competitive sides quite like it. In today’s contact-conscious world, it's necessary to find new and inclusive ways to incorporate the same amount of fun across live and virtual channels. 

As more places lift restrictions on gatherings, trade shows are once again being organized. As a business, you should be excited to get your brand out there. Activities such as scavenger hunts can get participants excited about your products just through the emotional connection. 

Why should attendee perception matter? Let’s check out some data about the average attendee and why you would want them at your booth. 

Trade Show Attendee Statistics*

QualitiesPercentage of Attendees
Executive and Management Employees46% 
Have Buying Authority82% 
Buy at least one product or service49% 
Visit a company’s website after a show38%
Executive attendees who find suppliers77%

*based on multiple research companies

Attracting the right people to your display or booth can have a major impact on your business long term. Even if they purchase nothing at that moment - getting them to revisit your business by web provides you with an additional opportunity. 

Be sure to have your team members on board as you plan out activities. Even if representatives on the show floor aren’t active participants, the act of organizing the scavenger hunt can be a team-building event in and of itself. 

Planning a Scavenger Hunt

Two people look over some forms and documents

There are many ways to put together a scavenger hunt to make it both fun and safe for all involved. Just remember, the point of a trade show is to expand brand awareness. Don’t get so caught up in the fun that you forget why you attended in the first place. 

Pick a Theme

Choosing a theme provides you with a chance to set a company vibe. It may also make it a little easier to plan out clues and challenges. Providing a creative and memorable theme makes it more likely that booth visitors will remember your product at the end of the show. 

As an added benefit, you can begin drawing people’s attention before the show even begins. Social media postings may promote your brand and remind viewers of upcoming events. 

When selecting a theme for your trade show scavenger hunt, be sure to keep it related to either the show itself or the product/service you are there to promote. If you are a jewelry sales representative attending JCK Las Vegas, you may have a theme focused on Weddings and Engagements. 

Set Clear Directions 

The point of most games is to have some kind of winner. Be sure to have simple but clear rules on how to win. Depending on the show, there are several possibilities. 

However you choose to run your scavenger hunt, keep it as accessible as possible. Challenges are fun, but being constantly confused isn’t.

Provide A Touchless Experience

A hand puts up a 'halt' sign to a pointing finger

Be aware that even as social restrictions in general for large gatherings and mask requirements are lessening, it remains a personal choice. There are individuals who still don’t feel comfortable with close personal contact or who may not want to pick up random items coming into contact with multiple people.  

With a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach, you can have people safely participate through native phone features or accessible mobile apps. 

Challenges and clues could include things like:

Keyword challenges are also a great way to involve participants who may be attending virtually if such an option is available. 

For instance, an organic dairy farm with an exhibit at the World Dairy Expo could have a challenge where participants search google images for ‘dairy cow besties’ and post a screenshot of their favorite result. (Spoiler: there are some adorable cow pictures out there).

Don’t Forget the Prizes

While there may be people who participate in interactive games like scavenger hunts for just the thrill of it - don’t rely on it. Remember, this is something you are doing to bring people’s attention to your product and brand. The more participants you attract, the better. 

From an attendee's perspective, high-quality swag and engaging exhibitors draw attention. Consider these statistics:

How you give out prizes will depend on the structure of your scavenger hunt. The key is to make it something they wouldn’t otherwise get by just walking up to the table. If you’re already handing out sunglasses or pens - don’t make that the prize. 

Digital prizes are a good option, especially so that it's easy to reward both in-person and virtual attendees. It might be a special coupon, digital gift cards to specific stores, or cash value gift cards that can be used anywhere. 

Let R+L Global Logistics Provide Your Trade Show Shipping Needs

Start enjoying trade shows again and get your brand out there for the world to see how great it is. Don’t stress about how to get everything there and choose the right shipping partner instead. 

Partner with R+L Global Logistics here at USA Trade Show Shipping to get everything you need delivered securely and on time so you can focus on what you do best. 

In addition to the shipping services we can assist with:

Give us a call today at (866) 415-8986 to speak with one of our knowledgeable transportation service experts or fill out an informational form online. Start planning for your next trade show and be ready to bring the fun. 

Start your engines: It’s time for SEMA Show exhibitors to begin preparation for the top trade show for auto equipment in the United States. Every year, SEMA brings the latest in automotive specialty products and technology to a massive gathering of industry leaders in Las Vegas. Because of the staggering foot traffic, it is crucial for exhibitors to know the ins and outs before hitting the trade show floor. 

SEMA Show exhibitors have the opportunity to present cutting-edge auto products to interested auto show buyers. For first-time SEMA show exhibitors, it’s important to plan for your appearance at a trade show. Put the pedal to the metal and start brushing up on useful tips for SEMA vendors. You will want to take note on how to attend, who will be there, what you will see, and why you should partake in this hectic event. 

Table of Contents

What is the SEMA Show?What is the SEMA Show

The name is short for Specialty Equipment Market Association. The trade show is the country’s leading showcase for auto equipment manufacturers to exhibit their newest offerings.

SEMA Show was first held in 1963 and gradually established a reputation as the biggest destination for leading automotive brands to debut hot products and new models. Companies such as Chevrolet, Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, and Dodge all take advantage of SEMA’s high-spending audience.

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Featured Products at SEMA

Products on display at SEMA are divided into 12 categories

When is the SEMA Show?

The SEMA Show takes place every fall, usually beginning in early November or late October. The event lasts from Tuesday through Friday. The SEMA Show usually takes place in November. 

What is SEMA360?

In 2020, because of the pandemic, the regular SEMA Show as we know it will not be held in Las Vegas as a live event. Welcome to SEMA360, where manufacturer participants can register on Sept. 3 at a cost of $495 for SEMA members and $1,495 for non-members.

Even better, SEMA attendee participation for SEMA 360 is free for SEMA members and only $25 for non-members. Registrations begins in mid-September for attendees.

Get registration info and updates on the virtual SEMA360 trade show today by filling out the simple SEMA360 form.

Where is the SEMA Show?Where is the SEMA Show

The SEMA Show takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the biggest expo venue in Nevada and one of the biggest in the country. The convention center is nearly 3.2 million square feet, though SEMA uses just about 1.2 million square feet for its exhibits. 

The Las Vegas Convention Center first opened in 1959, and today hosts 50 conventions per year, including nine of the top 20 trade shows in the country. It’s only getting bigger, with a major renovation and expansions underway that will add 600,000 square feet of space. The $860 million project is slated to complete in 2020.

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Who attends SEMA?

Over 2,400 exhibitors attend SEMA in Las Vegas and that number is expected to grow with about 400 additional booths added to the SEMA Show exhibitor list each year.A few of the most anticipated SEMA exhibitors are: 

  1. Chevrolet 
  2. SNAP-ON
  3. Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes 
  4. Rockford Fosgate 
  5. Harbor Freight Tools 
  6. Ford Collision 
  7. Nissan 
  8. Mopar/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 
  9. Truck Hero 
  10. Continental Tire -- Extreme Experience 

The SEMA exhibitor list constantly changes due to last-minute changes or companies opting-out the following year. Stay up to date on the floor plan changes, this will give you visual access to each booth. 

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Why You Should Attend the SEMA ShowWhy You Should Attend the SEMA Show

SEMA’s impact is not just about the number of attendees, exhibitors and visitors - it’s about their influence and buying power. Take a look at the numbers for SEMA’s attendees. Manufacturers flock to SEMA because of the assurance that the audience at the show will include people in positions of authority for leading brands

For a first-time SEMA Show vendor, it’s useful to learn why buyers attend the trade show. This allows you to cater to their priorities in your booth, offerings, and pitch. SEMA surveyed attendees directly to ask what they hope to get out of the event. 
The response: 

Who Can Attend the SEMA Show?

SEMA does not permit access to the general public, another reason being a part of this trade show is monumental for companies. The SEMA conference is a trade-only event, meaning attendance is limited to industry professionals. Only qualified and approved individuals who work in the automotive aftermarket industry can enter the convention center.

How to Register for SEMA

To be approved, prospective attendees must fill out a SEMA application and prove their current employment in the specialty-equipment aftermarket industry with the following documents:

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Are any SEMA Events Open to the Public?

While the main SEMA show is not open to the public, interested hobbyists and consumers aren’t totally out of luck. Those who are not employed in the automotive industry are allowed to attend SEMA Ignited, an afterparty where select SEMA Show vehicles and products will be on display. 

Along with customized vehicles, SEMA Ignited will feature food, music, and drift demonstrations. The event takes place on the Friday of SEMA in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s platinum lot. General admission tickets for SEMA Ignited cost $20.

Associated Costs for Exhibits at SEMAAssociated Costs for Exhibits at SEMA

The final SEMA booth costs will depend on a wide variety of factors, including costs for staffing, shipping your materials, travel, and lodging, designing your display and branded giveaway items. It’s important to evaluate all of these factors and prepare a budget before committing to exhibiting at SEMA.

While many of the costs will vary, the cost of exhibit space is something any vendor will have to calculate. At SEMA, a basic exhibit space costs $36.95 per square or $21.95 per square foot for members of SEMA or TIA (Tire Industry Association). 

Booth vendors must also pay for electrical service, material handling, furniture rental, and carpeting. At the SEMA show, Freeman Services is the official general contractor and provides these services and more for a fee.
Extra Booth Costs

Marketing strategies come with a cost -- an island exhibit booth, one with aisles and access on all four sides, costs an additional $3,990. A peninsula exhibit booth, one with aisles and access no three sides, cost $1,000 extra. To set up your exhibit, you must be fully paid on all money owed to the event and its partners.

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Does SEMA Offer Refunds

If you end up not being able to attend SEMA after reserving an exhibit space, depending on when you make the decision, you may be reimbursed a portion of your costs. The earlier you cancel your booking, the likelier it is that you can recoup some of your investment.

SEMA Show Exhibitor Booth ManualSEMA Show Exhibitor Booth Manual

How do you select the perfect booth, especially if you have never been to this trade show before? When it comes to booth space selection, newcomers typically have to go to the back of the line, because this event is so massive.

Members of the Specialty Equipment Market Association or the Tire Industry of America go first, in order of seniority. All members of these organizations select before the rest of the exhibitors, no matter how long the non-members have been showing at SEMA. Non-members then select in order of seniority. A business usually gets a seniority point for every year it has exhibited at SEMA in the past.

What Do SEMA Exhibitors Get with a Booth?

Reserving a space at SEMA gets you more than just square footage. SEMA provides some basic services and items to help exhibitors have a successful experience. Here’s what came with a booth rental at the most recent SEMA Show:

The trade show also offers a SEMA checklist to help vendors confirm they have indeed taken all of the necessary steps prior to showtime. Included in the list is the time frame all of the above materials should be ordered by. 

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What Are the Booth Restrictions at SEMA?

SEMA has no shortage of rules limiting your exhibit on the trade show floor. With such a massive, bustling event, organizers hope to keep things as orderly and appropriate as possible.
If you’re exhibiting at SEMA, be sure to read the show rules and display regulations to make sure your booth meets all of the standards. 
Here are a few of the most important rules to follow when exhibiting at the SEMA show:

How to Rent a Booth for the SEMA Show

If you’re exhibiting at SEMA for the first time, you probably shouldn’t purchase everything you need for your booth. Renting booth materials allow you to stock up your booth for less. After all, you want to see what works best before you commit to spending the big bucks. 

You can rent items from plenty of websites and Freeman Furnishing. These are a few of the most-requested rental items, according to the SEMA show exhibitor manual:

At the most recent SEMA Show, a basic booth rental package for a 10x10 foot space from Freeman Furnishing ran $397.30. However, stocking your exhibit with higher-end furnishings can run much more. Be sure to account for these costs in your budget.

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Dress Code for SEMA 

SEMA exhibitors need to balance competing goals when it comes to attire. You want to look professional, but also stay comfortable. SEMA recommends business or business casual attire.

Generally, it’s a good idea to have those working your booth to wear a coordinating color that represents your company’s branding. Comfortable shoes are a must for all exhibitors - between standing for hours at a booth, roaming the trade show floor and meeting with clients, you don’t want to be distracted by aching feet.

The show has limits on attire that seemed aimed at curbing the use of “booth babes” - i.e., attractive models meant to draw leering men to an exhibit. This once common practice has fallen out of favor and tends to attract negative press. SEMA does not permit exhibitors to wear bathing suits, thongs, lingerie, excessively short skirts, painted bodies or transparent apparel.
Don’t take that list as gospel, though. 

SEMA’s management has final say on whether an outfit is acceptable. If you’re wondering if a particular outfit breaks the rules, ask the show’s management before the event begins.

When is Move-In at SEMA?

One of the most tasking parts of exhibiting at SEMA is making sure your materials arrive at the Las Vegas Convention Center safely and on time. It’s essential for SEMA vendors to know when to load their materials into the venue.

Move-in at SEMA takes place over the course of the five days leading up to the start of the trade show. Exhibitors are assigned freight arrival times to begin moving in booth materials and setting up. Move-in times start at 7 a.m. each day and go into the evening. If you miss your assigned time, you may be issued a late fee.

Parking Information for SEMAParking Information for SEMA

Don’t count on waltzing over to the Las Vegas Convention Center right before showtime and expecting to find a parking space. In fact, you shouldn’t expect to park at the venue at all. With more than 100,000 people descending upon the event, spaces will most assuredly be scarce. Whenever possible, seek out alternative methods such as shuttles, taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft, or the Las Vegas Monorail.

For those who do decide to brave the parking lot, parking at the most recent SEMA cost $10 per day for regular vehicles. Vehicles that require more than one parking space will cost more. Re-entry is allowed - as long as space allows. Overnight parking is forbidden and SEMA will have any vehicles left on the premises towed.

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SEMA Show Phone Application

The SEMA Show is really many events under one name, between the educational sessions, networking opportunities, keynote addresses and thousands of exhibitors, keeping track of everything you want to see and do at SEMA can be a challenge. Thankfully, the trade show has introduced a handy smartphone app that makes the process easier.

Take a look at the features the SEMA application offers to attendees and exhibitors at the expo, including:

Trade Show Marketing Ideas - Social Media 

Social media is not just a great way to stay up to date on the latest SEMA news. It’s also an effective marketing strategy, allowing you to build awareness of your SEMA appearance and engage with other companies and prospective clients.

Before the show, social media can be a great way to see if potential customers are gearing up for SEMA. Search  #SEMA, and check the comments on posts from the official SEMA social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to find interested companies and buyers. Don’t be afraid to use your company’s accounts to chime in, share posts, and interact to establish your presence -- people respond to companies who use voice and personality on social media.

During the show, share photos of your exhibit, team, and products on social media, making sure to use the appropriate hashtags. It doesn’t hurt to tag companies who you hope to engage with. Showing off an eye-catching booth with a spirited team can draw new visitors to your exhibit.

Showing off your SEMA presence can be a strategy for even after the event has concluded, bringing potential clients to your website. Especially since it’s a closed trade show, potential consumers know exhibiting at SEMA Shows means you’re a serious player in the automotive industry.

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The Trade Show Floor Plan at SEMAThe Trade Show Floor Plan at SEMA

At 1.2 million square feet, the sprawling SEMA show floor plan is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Make sure you take a look at a map of the SEMA floor plan to familiarize yourself with the layout before the expo. This will allow you to plan how to make the most efficient use of your time when putting together a schedule for your SEMA experience.

Generally, the show floor is arranged by product category, plus special showcases for featured and first-time exhibitors. 
At the most recent show, this was the floor plan at the SEMA Show:

SEMA’s online floor plan lets you explore the venue down to each individual exhibitor. Search by exhibitor or product category to find the type of vendors you’re looking for. With SEMA’s planner service, you can mark down and save vendors. The online floorplan will let you plan ahead, while the SEMA mobile app, the pocket guide, show directory, and printed map will help you successfully get around as the event is going on.

Make a Schedule for SEMA

Preparing for this event far in advance is key to having a successful booth, creating a schedule will help guide your experience making the most of the varied lineup of events, speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits. Months prior to the show, sign up for SEMA Show exhibitor summits to get even more tips on navigating this process. 

In advance of the show, identify the events, educational sessions, and keynotes that are relevant to your business goals and priorities. Set aside specific times to visit different parts of the show floor, if you don’t lay this out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Every morning of the expo, event organizers will also post on the show’s website, recapping the previous day’s events and outlining highlights for the current day. You can use these to get a sense of the most prominent features each day.

Allocate specific periods for meeting with prospective clients, and don’t forget to allow time for lunch, coffee, hydration, and other breaks. It’s important to pace yourself after investing so much time and money in attending the show, you don’t want to be worn out on the first day. 

The schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s fine to diverge from the itinerary when other opportunities arise or different parts of the show catch your eye. Rather, treat the schedule as an outline that will keep you focused on what you hope to get out of the show.

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Networking Tips at SEMA

At an event packed with industry leaders from top brands, it’s important to be proactive about getting your name out there. You’ll rarely have a better opportunity to meet so many professionals in your field, so make the most of the opportunity. It’s tough to go far in business without making connections.

Make sure you’re stocked up on business cards, you don’t want to be empty-handed when you encounter the perfect potential business partner. If your booth does better than expected, there’s a business center near the Grand Lobby with printers available for use.

Don’t stop networking once the event ends - be sure to follow up with any connections with whom you hope to partner. Send your follow up message within a few days of SEMA’s close so that you’re still fresh in their mind.

Educate Yourself at SEMAEducate Yourself at SEMA

Don’t underestimate the value of the educational sessions at SEMA. It’s easy to get swept up in pitching to prospective clients, exploring the trade show floor, seeing new products, at networking with other industry professionals. Remember, the collective industry knowledge gathered at this major event can be a huge resource for your company’s long-term goals. It’s important to keep up with innovative new trends and strategies that can help your business grow.

With more than 70 educational seminars and speakers on the schedule, SEMA has a session for all sectors within the automotive products industry. Here are just a few of the subjects you can learn about at SEMA:

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Guest Speakers at SEMA 

Every year, exhibitors request celebrity guests with ties to the automotive industry to lend their names and faces, including car racers, TV personalities, athletes, musicians, artists and more. Past VIP’s:

This part of the trade show allows vendors to relax from the high-intensity stress levels and enjoy themselves. While these speakers can be a calming break, they can still be an informative asset for business techniques. If your business has the clout and budget to host a star at your exhibit, it could be a worthwhile addition to the booth.

Shipping Your Materials to SEMA

For first-time shipping to SEMA exhibitors, the last thing you want to worry about is your booth materials arriving at the trade show securely and at the right time. You have enough on your plate already. It’s best to leave it to the pros to take care of shipping your materials.

While the official show contractor, Freeman, takes care of receiving your shipment and setting up your booth at the site, a logistics company can take care of the process leading up to that point. R+L Global Logistics’ trade show shipping team has the experience and expertise necessary to get your shipment to SEMA without a hitch.

You can go about shipping your materials in one of two ways. In direct to site trade show booth shipping, your materials are sent straight to the SEMA site at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the designated move-in window in the days leading up to show. Or, you can go with advance warehouse shipping, where the materials are sent well ahead of time to a warehouse run by Freeman, who will then deliver your materials to the site.
SEMA Show exhibitors induce painstaking stress during the weeks leading up to this event. The last thing on your mind should be worrying over whether your materials made it on time and in good shape. Get the peace of mind of a professional shipping and logistics company by contacting an R+L Global representative today. We also offer shipping to IAAPA trade show needs and provide services for many other trade shows nationwide. Use the chat or call (866) 415-8986 to get in touch with us today!

Attending conferences is always an exciting time for those looking to learn new information and network with industry leaders. Many organizations are looking for effective ways of how to plan a virtual conference where attendees get the most out of the experience. There’s a lot of ground to cover in the virtual environment. The details of planning a virtual conference can be as overwhelming as if an on-site venue. There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to bringing any group of people together for a conference, trade show, expo or convention of any size. So while hosting these events virtually may be a different format, the overall logistics is top priority to ensure success.

Think of the virtual space just as you would the on-site venue when you are figuring out how to plan a virtual conference. Where will everything and everyone go? How to make the venue user-friendly for everyone? Is there enough time to get everything done virtually?

As technology advances and new platforms hit the market at the blink of an eye, there are a lot of options available for how to plan a virtual conference. In many instances, this is unchartered territory depending on the industry which means planning is key to the overall success. Take a few minutes to review this guide and obtain some great tips on how to plan a virtual conference.

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Table of Contents

The Task of How to Plan a Virtual Conference

Does it feel like you drew the short stick and now need to figure out how to bring all this together for a conference? Well, you don’t have any time to waste before the trade show goes live.

These are tough questions that must be addressed above or there will be problems along the way. The virtual aspect provides a few challenges but also offers a lot of advantages that can be maximized. The only thing that will really change is being face-to-face over the course of the conference. Everything else about an event of this size remains constant so let’s get to work.

Virtual Conference Planning Checklist

Technology makes virtual conferences possible in a variety of platforms. However, there may be a learning curve for attendees and exhibitors if the platform is not familiar to all. Therefore, the technology divide will have to be factored into planning an exhibition since it will greatly impact every facet of the event.

So let’s begin with the checklist to get planning underway.

1.     Select the virtual format

Thanks to technology, there are a ton of available formats to host a virtual event. Select which one will work best for the amount of people attending. Popular platforms like Zoom may work well while exhibitors may find Virtual Expo/Vendor Village as a way to engage with conference goers. 

2.     Select the date of the conference

While in-person conventions may have lasted up to a week, a virtual event may be hosted for a couple of hours or spread out over a few days depending on the timeline. However, it’s important to select an actual date early so attendees can adjust their schedule and block out the time.

3.     Share convention speakers and exhibitors

Just like with anything where there’s a choice, attendees want to know if it will be worth their time to log on or hear a speaker or chat with an exhibitor.

4.     Share information early and often

Things look different in the virtual world when it comes to engagement. Event planners will want to share the virtual platform, date and speakers early and often to help build excitement but also to give everyone time to register.

5.     Post the convention agenda

Similar to on-site conventions, attendees want to review the agenda to ensure they are maximizing their time. Posting the convention agenda gives everyone a chance to prioritize sessions and streamline networking opportunities.

6.     Prepare for questions

A virtual conference will likely come with a lot of questions ahead of time, during the event and after it closes. Face it, people want to know who they can talk to if something happens. Event planners need to make sure enough people are on hand to address questions.

7.     Provide a pre-expo testing session

So what is a testing session? Basically it is a session where upcoming attendees and exhibitors and speakers can test out the event platform to see how everything will work. There’s nothing worse than to be ready to sign on virtually and something goes wrong and you miss the information. Or worse, you are scheduled to present and there is a glitch in the system. A testing session will give everyone time to make sure they are ready to go.

 8.     Get creative with swag

Who does not like to get something free at a convention like a shiny new coffee mug, great writing pens, a nice portfolio or even T-shirts and the list goes one. In a virtual environment, these may not be practical. So here is an opportunity for event planners to find fun, creative ways to up the swag game. How about links to free consulting sessions, receive a box of gear or any number of other ideas. The sky is the limit virtually.

9.     Incentivize early registration

This may be a good idea for those looking to have additional folks participate in the event where in the past budgets only allowed for one person to attend. So why not give slight discounts to those who register before a certain date, or an organization has five or more people participating. It’s just one more way to increase engagement of the virtual conference.

10. Share. Share. Share.

Again, make sure to share information early that the conference will be virtual. Veteran attendees and exhibitors will have to shift a lot of their preparation logistics so make sure they have plenty of time to get this done without financial penalties.

This is just a beginning checklist to help get things started in planning a virtual conference. Remember, going virtual is a big shift so be prepared for something to pop up at the last minute.

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Virtual Event Planning Timeline

In planning a virtual conference, the timeline to get everything in place will depend on several factors. One thing a virtual event does not have to compete with on a large scale is date availability at a venue. So if there is a timeframe that may work better, go ahead and put it on the calendar.

The event planning timeline will be established when the date of the conference is publicized. It may be a few weeks to several months or longer to plan an event. The promotion of the event typically begins early in the process while the other details are finalized.

One of the biggest decisions to be made will be determining which platform to utilize and the level of functionality. It may take some extra time to figure out which option is best. The team working to plan the event will need to discuss a variety of other details to ensure a smooth transition with moving the expo online.

When it comes to planning a virtual conference, the matter of time is a huge element in the overall event. People attend conventions from all over the country and in many cases from around the globe. The designated times of conference events may need to take the time difference of attendees into account. If it’s mostly a domestic audience, consider beginning the conference day at 10 a.m. CST so it’s not too early for those on the West Coast and equally not too late on the East Coast.

So in planning the timeline of the virtual event, build in some flexibility for conference goers to pop in and out as needed based on their schedule. It will ease the stress of not being in person and help promote overall engagement.

Digital Tools & Technology

Perhaps the single most important aspect of how to plan a virtual conference centers around the digital tools and technology utilized to convey messages and connect everyone. It may start with the check-in process to gain access to the conference information sessions, keynote speakers, and the networking opportunities that many find invaluable.

While the event may be considered virtual, some aspects such as product displays that have to be set as if on-site and a live demonstration presented. In this case, additional equipment may be required to pull this off. The ability to bring all this together and bridge the distance can be a huge success because of technology.

Shipping equipment like cameras, lighting and other easy to use digital tools are critical in this process for those who will be presenters and exhibitors. So while exhibitors may not be in a booth space in the exhibit hall, they may still use technology to have a virtual booth to highlight products and services.

The behind the scene details of a virtual conference vary but the digital tools can enhance the experience beyond expectations. The right technology can add pizazz and flair to a presentation and keep attendees glued to their devices.

A lot of planning and organization must be in place to make a virtual conference seamless to attendees. While some miss packing up gear to have shipped to a venue, the travel involved and the set up and breakdown time; for others a virtual expo reduces that time and leaves more time for engaging potential buyers and following up on leads. So yes, some like the face-to-face approach that a traditional on-site event provides, however making the change to a virtual environment could open many other opportunities.

 Virtual Conference Networking

One of the fringe benefits of attending a convention of any category is networking with other industry leaders and decision makers for their company. The time on the trade show floor along with mingling between sessions can net valuable connections. The objective of course is to locate buyers for products and services. So exhibitors must think outside the box for ways to engage conference goers in a virtual setting.

Technology will allow exhibitors to make product demonstrations, answer questions and have one-on-one dialogue with attendees. It might be innovative to establish individual sessions for each exhibitor to conduct a variety of activities over a two or three-day period.

The schedule could look like this:

11 a.m. – Exhibitor product demonstration with time reserved for question and answers

1:30 p.m. – Networking session with exhibitors (general questions)

4 p.m. – Schedule one-on-one time discussion with exhibitors (30 minute sessions)

7 p.m. – Networking session with exhibitors (general questions)

First, the exhibitor can be flexible about the sessions and can offer any type of incentive. Everyone likes to get a little treat in exchange of their time and interest. The main goal is to get folks to connect virtually and have those leads turn into closed deals. The challenge for event hosts is how to plan a virtual conference and make activities like this work well for all involved.

It’s a good idea to talk to exhibitors well in advance to learn what may be most useful for them to connect virtually. Some exhibitors may expand their manpower and have additional staff on hand to help field the audience. Others may relish the one-on-one discussion sessions which helps them sort out the curious in order to reach the serious.

How all of this occurs will likely be different for each exhibitor just like their traditional expo booths may be the same size dimensions but the visuals are different. Attendees may want to gravitate to the general sessions so they can compare things before deciding to sign-up for a one-on-one time slot with a vendor. Again, with planning a virtual conference flexibility is key across the board.

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Virtual Trade Show Benefits

Some may be wondering what’s the big deal of planning a virtual conference, especially if they looked forward to the in-person events at venues around the country. One benefit may be the travel cost savings associated with on-site convention. Just that number alone can make a virtual conference more attractive. However, there is a list of other benefits to be realized by going virtual.

1.     Eliminate the crowds

Even if it’s a convention of a few hundred people, it can still seem crowded and unable to get close to the vendors or industry leaders you seek. A virtual conference eliminates the rush of everyone trying to get to the same place and allows for a relaxed atmosphere.

2.     Get a great seat

The early bird gets the good seat. But sometimes this can be difficult if fighting crowds in a large convention center. However, attending a virtual conference means you can sit anywhere you like with access to your device. Lounge in your man-cave or she-shed, tune in from your office or where ever you deem is a great seat.

3.     Execute networking plan

Often during large expos, it’s difficult at best to have a brief exchange with an industry leader or a vendor. In the virtual world, conference goers can snag times in various sessions that will allow them to ask questions of who they want and have a more dedicated exchange. This time will be valuable to those who want to maximize technology. This is a priceless benefit that will pay off in dividends.

4.     Save valuable time

While the travel time is eliminated with a virtual convention, so is the time of getting acclimated to the on-site venue and getting where you need to be on time. The benefit of a virtual conference is that by clicking a link attendees arrive in the right place and not wandering around trying to locate a vendor’s booth or a meeting room. It’s a simplified experience that makes an impact.

5.     Obtain answers to questions

Since the event is virtual, attendees can send a question via a chat function to a presenter, or even have a real-time dialogue during a vendor session or individual session. It’s almost like being there in person, but better.

Virtual Conference Vendors

In taking on the task of planning a virtual conference, vendors have a blank canvas for a booth online. In adjusting to a virtual venue, conference vendors should utilize a variety of tools to engage convention goers. Just because you are not in person does not mean scale back on planned activities at the booth. Find a way to be more purposeful in sessions with those looking for product demonstrations and asking questions.

Sure, set up that booth in a company warehouse or other location so it feels a bit normal for the representative. Have good camera angles to capture all the bells and whistles and to see the product up close. Also make reading material available on services and other product highlights so those interested have something to refer to, consider and ask questions.

Just because you are not in person does not mean you can’t still hand out great swag. You may have to follow up with obtaining shipping information to get gear distributed to lucky winners. It may not be feasible to send everyone a writing pen. But if you put together a couple of swag bags with several trade show giveaway items that may be received and easier to send out.

The big thing for vendors is to be available in the virtual space so attendees can connect with you. It’s disappointing to look forward to speaking to a vendor and they are not available for a session. So shift a bit, adjust the camera and be ready to chat with those attending the conference. It’s a good way to get a step ahead of the competition.

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Create a Virtual Conference Agenda

As with traditional conferences hosted in person, a printed agenda or one accessible in the event app, helps keep things moving smoothly. The same will be true for an online convention. Early in the planning process, event organizers should create a virtual conference agenda to outline the entire convention. While many may question why since the event will be virtual; that is the exact reason because it will be virtual.

While technology has connected groups of people like never before, in many regards virtual conventions are new on the scene. The challenge will be to get the buy in support early and overcome the learning curve.

By creating a virtual conference agenda, everyone who registers will have access to map out their individual itinerary and know just what to expect. In addition to setting the tone of the event, the agenda allows attendees to branch out beyond their comfort zones. In having a virtual conference agenda, it helps unite everyone planning to attend and provides other key details to login to hear other speakers and make other connections.

In some cases, a traditional convention has several challenges that prevents attendees from doing all they would like in the timeframe of the event. By having an agenda, the attendee can navigate the virtual conference better. There may also be an opportunity to have other colleagues register to obtain useful information for the organization. So where in the past, the company’s budget may allow only one or two members to attend, a virtual event will likely be less expensive making it possible for others to attend.

So in creating a virtual conference agenda, it helps in the overall planning for all involved. The overall focus of a virtual conference is to bring people together while not at an on-site venue. So every aspect of the virtual connection should be used to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Virtual Conference Best Practices

The mention of a virtual conference may for some be a welcomed change because it means they can login from anywhere. However, while a virtual conference may denote a more casual atmosphere for attendees, there are a few things to be mindful of prior to logging in, during the event and once adjourned.

1.     Remember you are logged in to a virtual conference

Be sure to mute yourself when not speaking during a session. You don’t want to be embarrassed by what others may hear in the background. Sometimes even the slightest background or environment noise is pickup by a sensitive microphone. Take a few moments before the conference begins to find a good location free of noise and interruptions.

2.     Eliminate Distractions

If you are distracted during a session it will show up on the camera for others to see. Now is not the time to conduct another meeting, have an ongoing phone call or any number of things. The conference should be a dedicated time to immerse yourself in new information and network. Be attentive. If you are able to set a one-one-one or small group discussion with a vendor or speaker, give them your full attention.

3.     What You Should Wear

Listen, this is not the time to wear your favorite T-shirt that has seen better days. While you don’t have to wear a full suit and tie, at least put on a nice top or polo to still appear business casual. Remember since the event is virtual, everyone will be paying attention to little details like attire.

4.     Speak Clearly and Listen Carefully

Be mindful that not all internet speeds are the same. So while you may have a fast, high speed network, others may not be as fortunate and struggling to keep up. During a presentation or even during a general question and answer segment, try to speak in a moderate tone and speed so you are not garbled or something is missed if waiting for network speed to catch up. And in the reverse, once an answer is being given, listen carefully. The person is taking time to address a question, be respectful enough to listen to what they have to say.

5.     Technical Problems Happen

During the virtual conference, there is bound to be some technical difficulties somewhere in the connection. It’s par the course when dealing with technology. It’s a good rule of thumb to have patience while the situation is resolved either on your end or with the event organizers.

Virtual Conference Software

As more and more organizations turn to virtual conferences in lieu of on-site events, the planning committee will need to find the right software that works best for the masses. A word of advice here, there are a number of software products that can be used to integrate various aspects of the convention from registration to networking.

However, it will depend on what each group will need to accomplish when deciding on a software suite which is also determined by budget. If there is time, conduct test sessions with several different software options versus just finding what everyone else is using. Not all software works the same for every setting. One program may work best for keynote presentations for large attendance availability, however, it may not perform well during a one-on-one session. These will be things that have to be worked out before the information is distributed to conference goers.

Although there are software options that are in wide use like Zoom, there are others like Hubb or Pathable that are gaining traction as more groups take events virtual. If time allows, explore other options to discover the functionality and ask questions. And be prepared there will be somewhat of a learning curve among those who will use the software during the conference so be prepared for lots and lots of questions from everyone. Consider creating a dedicated team for the convention to just answer technical questions as they interact with the software.

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Time to Hit the Virtual Trade Show Floor

Once all the planning and promotion is done, it will be time to open the convention including the virtual trade show floor. Conference goers will adapt to the new environment and find their way around.

The biggest thing will be that everyone is connected in the same space to share the latest information, preview advancement in products or a host of other activities. The virtual trade show can be just as interactive as in person, it will require planning some engaging presentations beyond the normal PowerPoint presentations. It’s time to take it up several notches on the virtual trade show floor.

Exhibitors still have a big job ahead of them to make the trade show floor effective for them and the convention goer. So when attendees enter the virtual trade show booth, be ready to greet them enthusiastically and give them a tour. It may be a longtime conference attendee who has had to make the adjustment to the virtual trade show or it could be someone new to the event in either format but tech-savvy to navigating the virtual environment.

The virtual trade show floor will be void of the normal hustle and bustle typically associated with on-site venues. So this is where exhibitors will need to make sure their trade show booth bridges the distance to draw folks in. The goal, whether in person or virtually is the same, is for attendees to walk away with information that could translate into a sales lead.

Planning a Virtual Conference with R+L Global Logistics Trade Show Experts

All the details are in place and the countdown has begun for the virtual conference going live for all to enter. Whether it’s equipment that needs to be shipped to convention presenters or trade show booths that have to be set up in a warehouse space to do product demonstrations or more, R+L Global Logistics is flexible to get everything delivered.

R+L Global Logistics has the ability to handle product and material distribution to virtual conference attendees. It’s just one example of how we handle the logistics associated with trade shows. In addition, our team offers a full array of supply chain logistics including pick and pack along with fulfillment services.

Our team is well versed in dealing with short deadlines and can offer expedited service to meet the need of shifting to a virtual environment. R+L Global Logistics has a 99.5 percent delivery rate so shippers can rest assured their trade show freight is handled by professionals.

By working with a trusted team of carriers, R+L Global Logistics delivers trade show freight from coast to coast. Excellent customer service is our trademark and shippers have access to track freight each mile of the journey. Delegate the shipping aspect of planning a virtual conference to R+L Global Logistics. Call (866) 415-8986 to obtain a free quote and ask questions. 

With so many different conferences one can attend, it’s not an easy task to really laser focus on the ones that will give you or your business the most value for your time. In these uncertain times, it becomes all the more important to not invest resources into a conference — likely virtual at this point — that doesn’t meet this simple objective. Yet, it leaves a crucial question unanswered: how do you know which of the virtual conferences is the right one to pick? 

Luckily, for those looking for virtual conferences in 2020, there are no shortage of quality options. While the way they’re run and attended have certainly changed, quality networking and exchange of information can still occur. Whether presenting or attending, the subsequent bump in the status of your enterprise can be well worth it.

There is a lot to cover on the many facets that go into putting on or attending a virtual conference. So read on to get a better grasp of what to expect and the best conferences for the rest of 2020.

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Table of Contents

The Benefits of Attending Virtual Conferences


When a huge conference like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — annually hosted in Las Vegas for over 180,000 attendees — has already announced it will be held virtually starting in 2021, it’s not hard to see that virtual conferences will be a part of the future for an indeterminable amount of time. 

One of the biggest and most important aspects of attending a virtual conference is the opportunity to learn more about how to navigate your specific business world. While there are certain tenets of being professionally successful across the board, it wouldn’t make much sense to attend a virtual conference wildly outside of what you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re in the medical field, you very well might get little to no benefit from a professional standpoint to log online to participate in a conference about the hospitality industry.

While it won’t be the same as attending an in-person conference, you can still meet like-minded professionals in your trade to network with. Conversely, you may also connect with a person or people who have new or different ideas than yours that you can incorporate into how you run your business or department. 

Other factors for benefitting from being in a virtual conference are finding out what your competitors are doing and finding ways to innovate or adapt how you approach things based on that. Being more creative to adapt to a virtual conference will only help once things move back to physical locations, especially in putting on a successful exhibition

Another obvious benefit is keeping yourself as risk-free as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending a virtual conference from the comfort of your office or home might feel weird or different at first, especially for those who’ve frequented in-person conferences. However, further eliminating another source where you can transmit or contract coronavirus hopefully puts your mind at ease.  

What Virtual Conferences Should I Attend?

Even in these virtual times, there are still plenty of conferences to choose from and they all have different positives and negatives associated with them. It is not a limitless amount of events, but it can sure feel like that when attempting to sort through them all. 

You should pick a conference or multiple conferences that will give you the most value for your time and money.

Narrowing down your search even further, figure out which ones the best in your particular industry are. As an example, if you were in a field that dealt with consumer electronics, then CES is one you’d definitely want to attend. It is large, has something for everyone in the field, is long-running, has keynote speakers that are among the giants in their industry and leave plenty of time and people to network.

Basically, you’re looking for highly-rated conferences that are well-regarded in your particular industry or general business-focused conferences that might not touch on a specific industry but help you communicate in or understand the business world better.

As you read on, we will list the best remaining conferences you can attend in 2020 broken down by category. As you will see, there is literally something for everyone.

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Advantages of a Virtual Conference


The most apparent initial advantage to attend or host a virtual conference should be the reduced cost. Compared to a physical conference, there are no lodging or transportation costs for attendees of a virtual conference. With the need for just an internet connection and the base cost of the conference, it becomes a much easier decision for a business to allow employees to participate or an individual on the fence about attending to make the choice to partake.

A virtual conference in general is also easier to attend from a crowd perspective. Mentioned earlier, CES has nearly 200,000 attendees. Even though Las Vegas can handle that amount of people, it’s still a nightmare from a conference goer’s perspective since it can be difficult to find a hotel near the venue, or an Uber during busy times when everyone else is active. That’s not even accounting for the fact that an absolutely enormous place to host the conference can be a huge challenge to navigate.

Meanwhile, a virtual conference allows you to be in any space you want from the comfort of your home or office and allows you to log in just minutes prior to a keynote speaker presenting. You still receive high quality interactions where you can continue learning or sharing ideas. For the entity hosting the conference, that also means being able to more easily measure data from a virtual conference and having a more gentle impact on the environment.

Challenges of a Virtual Conference

While virtual conferences can be outstanding experiences and a necessity in the current landscape, there are still some challenges in several areas that will have to be addressed or navigated in order for you to be able to offer or receive the most out of them.

Networking is one of the biggest selling points for going to a huge conference or trade show. There won’t be those dedicated happy hours to mingle with people or other in person events that some people completely thrive in. While it could be easier in some regards to get 1-on-1 face time with a person you’d like to interact with, there is some of that personal touch lost in translation over a computer or smartphone.

Another important selling point, both for demonstrators and attendees at a conference, is being able to get products or even swag (complimentary items for attendees that are branded) in front of those present. With this type of virtual event, you’ll be forced to get creative. 

For product demonstrations, you can always broadcast them over the internet. While it might not replicate conference-goers being able to touch and see the items in person, it is still much better than not getting the products in front of people at all. On the other hand, you can still send swag or product samples directly to anyone enrolled in the online conferences, either to their place of business or directly to their homes. While this presents additional planning and careful coordination, it could turn into a benefit if done correctly.

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What Do Top Virtual Conferences Have In Common?


While the theme or subjects differ, there are some common threads that the best virtual conferences all share:

Keynote speakers: The biggest and most well-regarded conference, virtual or otherwise, are able to convince experts of the particular industry to keep an audience in a world full of distractions enthralled by being both interesting and informative. If that person is also either famous in his or her own right, or works for a notable company, that will also attract people.

Motivated guests: The conference is only going to be as good as the people attending it. Holding a virtual conference might not have the “in-person” component everyone is used to, but there might be even more networking and exchanging of ideas going on than usual. A big selling point of a lot of attendees is being able to socially share new ideas, make contacts and possibly even stay in touch long after the conference is over. So while you want to engage an attendee, you also want to have an engaging attendee at your conference.

Singular focus: So while it’s nice to have an excuse to get a bunch of like-minded professionals together to share info about a product you sell or exchange ideas, there should still be a goal, purpose or focus for undergoing the huge process of putting on such an event. It could be something as simple as “Innovation” or something more specific like “Selling In A Digital Era”. Regardless of what the focus is, make sure it is laser-focused and able to be communicated in a clear, concise manner.

Networking abilities: While this one was touched upon briefly under motivated guests, no one wants to attend a physical or virtual conference and just listen to speakers talk for days on end. Make it easy for attendees to have time and interaction with one another. Having smaller breakout sessions during virtual meetings can help in that regard. Some conferences provide a free smartphone app for physical conferences and have continued the practice for their virtual counterparts. This is a great way to allow conference-goers to communicate with each other directly.

Value for time and money: People have a finite amount of time, so you have to make your conference worth their while. Having great information, engagement and focus is one part of that equation. The other is the cost. Nearly every conference that has moved from a physical to virtual format should be overall cheaper because attendees (or their companies) don’t have to pay for flights and hotel rooms.

Still the base cost of admission to attend a conference can vary wildly, from completely free to thousands of dollars. No matter how much you charge, your job as the person providing the event is to convince people what they are receiving from you is worth their effort to attend.

Ideas to Enhance Virtual Conferences

There will be some thinking outside the box required but there are ways you can make a successful virtual conference feel a bit more like its physical counterpart.

Top Marketing Conferences


Marketing is an important part to virtually any business or organization. Whether you’re trying to sell a product or just the virtues of your non-profit, reaching people has never been more important. The following marketing conferences are considered the best around and ones you should definitely make plans to attend.

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Inbound, hosted by HubSpot, is one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the world. When hosted as a regular conference, the annual event has taken place in Boston. However, the 2020 edition is being hosted virtually in September to allow people looking to sharpen their skills in this arena.

This conference has a limited access feature that is free for those who sign up. However, those who want access to everything Inbound has to offer can find a paid option that is less than $100. Inbound has live streaming, video and audio content available from some of the world’s biggest business leaders.


Another favored option for digital marketing conferences is DigiMarCon. Through Sept. 11, people who want to attend can get the three-day package for $147, which is $150 off the regular price. This is a world conference that usually takes place several times a year at different locations around the world but is holding a giant virtual conference.

It offers keynote speakers featuring senior management from Facebook, IBM, SEMrush, SparkToro, Atlassian and others. There is a load of additional content available and the ability to interact with peers to see what they’re doing.

SaaStr Annual

SaaStr Annual is similar to Inbound in that it offers a limited free pass to its online conference, with passes for purchase to unlock all the content. This event will offer a plethora of live content, which includes speakers from Shopify to Zoom. Networking and mentorship are also on tap with a paid pass, with the idea of hopefully learning how to scale your venture more quickly.

Digital Summit

Digital Summit was scheduled to take place in Raleigh, N.C. But like many other conferences, it has moved exclusively online.

Digital Summit touts its in-depth content, top-line speakers, connections made and continued learning options as differentiators.

Content Marketing World 2020

One of the most expensive options to make this list, Content Marketing World 2020 takes place over the course of four days in October. This conference is supposed to be a top option for anything involving content marketing, and it is the largest. It generally has a top-notch rotation of speakers, numbering in the hundreds, and is up on the latest trends.

Leadership Conferences


For people already in leadership roles or who want to transition into leadership, there are conferences designed for that too.

International Project Management Day 2020

International Project Management Day 2020 Online Conference is unique this year in that you’ll sign online to attend the Keynote Q&A in November but then have access through February 2021. Even a November Q&A can be accessed later if you can’t make it.

This conference is geared toward project managers from around the world. This conference has a lobby area that you enter after logging in that then allows you access to what you’re specifically looking for. This can be the Keynote speakers, exhibits, videos, resources and even a lounge to network with other attendees.

Leadership and Innovation 2020 Online Conference

In a similar vein, the Leadership and Innovation 2020 Online Conference is in March and runs through December. Individuals cost $189 to register and have keynote speakers and information on tap. The focus this year for this virtual event is on the event’s four themes: Purpose, Impact, Innovation and Intrapreneurship.

Sales Conferences

a hand pointing at a pie chart

Not everyone is trying to become a CEO or marketing guru. There are those who want to sell products, improve their sales output or see leads generated. If you’re one of those people, the following conferences are for you.

Sales Growth Virtual Summit

In November, The Sales Growth Virtual Summit is open to anyone free of charge. This virtual conference has five confirmed keynote speakers and promises more than 40 sales experts to share insights for anyone involved in sales.

Sales Hacker Success Summit

Another completely free conference destined for the online world is the Sales Hacker Success Summit. This focuses on all aspects of how to thrive in business-to-business (B2B) sales. There are four confirmed keynote speakers and eight categories explored during this virtual conference. Each talk has the added benefit of offering a checklist, script, template or worksheet to help absorb the lessons better.

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Consumer Electronics and Technology Conferences


Between electronics built for consumers and new technological advances being created in Silicon Valley and beyond, these two industries feature a ton of innovation. They also are the grounds to show the world what you or your company have been working on and what to expect in the future.


TechCrunch in general is known as one of the top places for startup companies to be seen and holds several events each year. It has several different price points to attend and the price rises the closer it gets to the conference’s start.

During this conference, you’ll hear from heavyweights in Silicon Valley, including some of the very people who helped build it or are currently thriving in the area. This will come in the form of advice, Q&As and presentations.

Web Summit

It’s also impossible to mention a technology conference without including Web Summit. This conference, going virtual this year after originally being tapped to happen physically in Lisbon, Portugal, is touted as the world’s largest technology conference.

Past speakers include former United States Vice President Al Gore, Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Hawking and Seth Rogen. The conference is usually held in November.

Consumer Electronic Show

While it was mentioned early as an illustrative example and is not actually taking place in 2020, you should still put CES on your map if you are interested at all in consumer electronics. They’ve already made the decision to have the “all-digital” event in January.

The beauty of CES is you’ll see new products launched at the event and also see what the near future holds across more than 30 different categories. These categories include health, sports, autonomous vehicles, new cell phone/computer/TV technologies, gaming, artificial intelligence and a lot more.

Other Conferences


There are some conferences that are in a category all their own. They still have massive value to a certain group of people but are a little more niche. Some of these are free of charge, though, so if you think you’d be interested, it could still be worth signing up for.

Accounting & Finance Show

The Accounting & Finance Show was originally slated to be held in New York City but will have a virtual home in October. This event is completely free and geared toward accountants, bookkeepers, chief financial officers and really anyone in the financial industry.

You do have to register in order to attend but, for no cost, a guest will receive 150 speakers over seven different categories, exhibitors, CPE-accredited sessions and even the ability to download an app to network with other event-goers.


You might also want to mark your calendar for August so you can attend Invention-Con 2020 online for free. With this year’s theme of “Your IP: A power tool for building success”, you can learn how to turn your Intellectual Property (IP) into a success. The conference will take place via Cisco WebEx.

This event is for IP holders or professionals, inventors or other business owners and entrepreneurs. There are a host of keynote speakers during the 5 hours of sessions each day.

RELIT! 2020

If your interest is in child development as a teacher or otherwise, RELIT! 2020 could be the spark you’re looking for. Priced anywhere from $49 to $229, this one-day event in August each year pushes forward with the theme “Bring Your Brave”.

The full slate will include multiple guest speakers and even a session-ending Q&A for those who secure the VIP package. Originally planned across three Canadian cities, this is now completely virtual and features experts in the field of education — both traditional and non-traditional.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

FTWeekend Festival

If you’d truly like a bit of everything in one three-day conference, the 5th annual FTWeekend Festival might be just what you’re looking for. Occurring in September, there are more than 100 speakers including Dr. Anthony Fauci. But the topics are varied, as social issues will be discussed, wine tasting and cocktail making classes will be offered and even poetry readings and performances given.

The prices for this event are in British pounds, but the currently U.S. dollar price equivalent is about $45 to $60 to attend based on whether you’re a Financial Times subscriber or not. Depending on the prevailing conversion rate when you purchase, the price may be higher or lower.


LaterCon is a completely free social media conference. It touts its zero cost by saying all an attendee needs to be granted access is a first name, email address and an internet connection.

It starts in September and promises to help interested people grow their presence on social media. This can be for someone who wants to become an Instagram model or expand the reach of their business in order to make more money.

LaterCon has always been fully virtual and if you can’t make it for some reason, they’ll send you the recorded sessions to watch later — provided you did sign up ahead of time.  

Shipping to Virtual Conferences with R+L Global Logistics

If you’re a host or presenter at a virtual conference and need to get your setup to the main site, you don’t need to look any further than R+L Global Logistics to handle your shipping needs. We are well-versed in how to navigate the shipping associated with conferences. Even with the shift to virtual conferences for the foreseeable future, we can assist you in your goals.

This assistance would come in the form of being able to freight ship products to your attendees. R+L Global Logistics offers supply chain logistics, which means we can pick up your products on our trucks, store them in our warehouses and then fulfill the orders via pick and pack when you’re ready for your attendees to receive them. All of this is done in a knowledgeable and efficient manner that is also reasonably priced to provide great value for your money when shipping to a trade show.

So when you’re ready to start shipping goods from your virtual conferences to the attendees, call the experts at R+L Global Logistics at (866) 415-8986 for a free quote today.

You’re at a trade show and are possibly unsure about what would be appropriate to offer to patrons to draw them to your booth. Frequently asked questions about trade show giveaways are not as uncommon as you might think. 

But if you still have reservations about how to proceed, you’re not alone. Here are some frequently asked questions about trade show giveaways and corresponding answers that should help your business decide what would best help represent the company. 

Table of Contents

Why Are Trade Show Giveaways a Good Idea?

Why Are Trade Show Giveaways a Good IdeaYou’re setting up a booth at a trade show. That in itself can be an expensive endeavor considering the rental of the space, and delivery and setup of the items. Yet you might still wonder what you can do to further draw potential customers in to talk to you.

Promotional products can be an effective way to accomplish this for a variety of reasons: 

These are just some of the ways that putting real thought into trade show giveaways can really give you an upper-hand over the competition. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

What Are Some Good Ideas For Tradeshow Giveaways?

The idea is for the show attendees to associate your company with positive attributes such as excellent work or products produced, trustworthiness, great value and reliability. So your aim should be to get products that are useful in some regard and preferably an item that is not of a one-time use variety or a product that is likely to get thrown into a drawer or cabinet somewhere and never looked at again.

One additional thing to keep in mind is that buying in bulk will almost certainly be cheaper per unit than buying in single or smaller quantities.

Some examples of items that fit into this category for your target market include:

Water bottle: This is a good two-fold promotional giveaway. First, everyone needs to drink water, so it is a gift that should be extremely useful. Also your company will be viewed in a positive light for gifting an eco-friendly and more sustainable gift than if you got bottled water with your company printed on it. The latter are extremely disposable and might be in a trash can within minutes. A water bottle likely won’t.

Coffee mug: In 2017, a survey by the National Coffee Association said that 64 percent of Americans 18 years and older have at least one cup of coffee per day. So there’s nearly a 2 out of 3 chance that the person sidling up to your booth drinks the beverage either hot or cold. A nice ceramic mug with your company’s branding on the side

USB drive: Not everyone wants to store their valuable information on the cloud, and it’s always good to have a backup even if you do. Giving this to those who stop by your booth will be an opportunity for them to see your company’s name and/or logo every time they access their stored memory on the stick. 

Mouse pad: You want the promo items you give out to be something omnipresent if possible. Many businesses still use desktops, which all include a mouse. Also, many laptop users add a bluetooth mouse for easier use, so you’d be covering most people who use a computer.

A tablet or laptop bag or sleeve: Although a cell phone case sounds like a good idea in theory, the sheer quantity of different phones would make giving those out completely impractical. However, laptops or tablets generally come in 2 to 3 standard sizes and most white collar businesses issue one or both to employees. You could get a 16-inch laptop sleeve, or 10-inch tablet sleeve and cover a plethora of devices, literally and figuratively.

Pens of good quality: To get nicer pens, it might cost more money upfront but the thinking is a better made pen will last longer, therefore stretching out the length of time your brand’s name is in front of a customer. A pen that can be reused and have its ink replaced is perfect as a promotional item.

Also this is not an end-all list. Depending on your business, some of these items might not be as impactful. Knowing your customer base will go a long way toward deciding on what to give out.

Did you know another way to attract customers to your booth is with food? Check out our list of 3 Trade Show Snack Ideas that Attendees with Love

How Should I Distribute My Trade Show Giveaways?

How Should I Distribute My Trade Show GiveawaysSome of the item ideas listed in the previous section might not be financially feasible to hand out to every single person who strolls by the booth. You might set up games, raffle drawings or reserve higher-end giveaways for patrons identified as current important or potential important clients.

You can also have a tiered system where certain potential customers get certain gifts. A good way to do this is if you send out invitations of some sort, you can color code them as an easy visual cue for the people working your booth to quickly know what to give out. If you expect to encounter casual passersby to the booth, a much cheaper item would be warranted for them.

Either way, it stands to reason that each individual person who visits your booth would be limited to a single item, mostly to try to keep down your own cost of how much you spend on giveaways. You want to limit or not make some costly trade show mistakes.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

Ship Your Trade Show Giveaways With R+L Global Logistics

Now that you’d zeroed in on what you’d like your trade show giveaways to be, let R+L Global Logistics ship all your items to the next event. We can help load all your items at the point of origin and get them to the trade show with no fuss at all.

R+L Global Logistics will make sure everything for your trade show freight gets there on time and we have the 99.5 percent on-time rate to prove it. Also we partner with freight haulers all over the world to ensure we have a driver ready to ship your full truckload.

You’ll receive access to a team who’s done this work many times over and will do it right. We also have a great customer service team on call and real-time freight visibility to put your mind at ease through every step of the journey.

If you’re ready to have your trade show giveaways and booth materials shipped, start today by getting a free quote or calling us at 866-415-8986.

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