View of busy trade show with a large crowd.

Top 10 Must-Haves for Your Next Trade Show

Read time: 6 minutes  |  Author: PRI Graphics  |  Posted: September 19th, 2022

The Print Essentials for Trade Shows and Expos

No matter the size or location of the event, these top 10 must-haves are important to keep in mind for that next trade show or expo. Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a large corporation, print displays and signage will help you stand out from the crowd. For more of a personal touch, business cards, marketing collateral, and promo gifts will give you that icebreaker to begin conversations with your audience.

In this article, we have listed out our top 10 must-haves for your next trade show that is sure to get you noticed.

1. Business Cards

It is the classic piece of collateral and something every salesperson should always have on them. A business card is the essential piece of print you should be sure to have at trade shows or events. Great for displaying at your table for people to grab while walking by. Perfect as a throw-in for bags with other promo products. Or the proper way, which is to hand them off in person while you start an engaging conversation. Here are some tips on designing a business card.

Samples of Tyler Rittenhouse business cards.

2. Marketing/Sales Collateral

Wanting an easy and tangible way of educating your next customer? Marketing or sales collateral works great to educate, feature products, or show off successful projects from the past. From flyers, brochures, packets, or booklets, sales collateral covers most small format print products. A beneficial tactic to utilize while at trade shows and expos.

Edkey color brochure

3. Table Throw

You don’t want to be that business showing up to an event with a fold-out table and nothing to cover it with. Table throws are almost a must when putting together a booth display or exhibit table. They are a great way to show off your brand, and messaging, and attract attendees to your booth. It not only exhibits your brand but legitimizes your organization in a professional manner.

Printed trade show table cloth for Hitch & Bouque

4. Retractable Banner

Portable and easy to set up. Retractable (or pull-up) banners work extremely well for trade shows and expos. They are versatile, being easily placed anywhere you’re needing. The display area also allows for a very large space for graphics or messaging of your brand. The reusability works out very well too, giving your team the option to remove and install new banner graphics into the stand for future events.

Samples of trade show standee displays.

5. Sample of Your Product, Service, or Demo

There’s no better way to sell a product or service than to show it off live. Being sure to have sample products or demos of your services is a great way to persuade your audience. Sure, handouts and collateral will help to sell them in the future, but why not close the sale today by featuring a product live? Studies show that 82% of consumers want something tangible to experience in person before committing to any sort of purchase.

Woman talking to a man at her trade show booth.

6. Backdrop Display

Backdrop displays can be used in a number of ways. Most commonly, backdrops will be seen as a branding display either in the back of the booth or possibly on the side walls. Another way you can use a backdrop can be by setting up a display as a step-and-repeat for people to take pictures with. This option not only allows for a branding opportunity with free press (people posting to social media) but also by showcasing specific messaging or products.

Trade show booth for Integrative Health.

7. Tabletop Displays

Tabletop Displays come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials. From simple acrylic displays to feature a flyer or hold business cards, to something more elaborate like POP displays. These POP displays can be custom designed and routed to any specification of product or branding need. Trade show attendees end up always hovering around your tables, so you want to be sure you have displays to educate and engage with them.

Trade show 3D standing brochure sample.

8. Canopy Tent

Trade shows, expos, and events aren’t always held indoors and that is where a canopy tent works extremely well. Though you can utilize canopy tents indoors as well, they work great for outdoor events. These tents allow for great branding ability and can easily be seen from far distances. Tents can be built out much more than just a topper too. By adding side walls and backdrop displays, canopy tents can easily be transformed into mini booth setups.

Printed trade show shade tent with backdrop banner.

9. Custom Booth or Modular Display

If your business plans to attend multiple trade shows and events throughout the year, then a custom booth or modular display may be your best option. With a variety of display options, modular booths are perfect for showcasing your brand in a much grander way. From displays ranging from 10’ x 10’ and up to 30’ x 30’ and even bigger if needed, you have options galore to choose from. If expense isn’t an issue, then these custom booths will be the best way to show off your brand.

Sample of Trade Show booth design with display stands.

10. Promotional Products (Gifts)

Why else do you attend trade shows? Sure, the education and new product showings are great. But we all know, IT’S THE FREE STUFF! Promotional products work perfectly to bring attendees to your booth and start up conversations. But they also leave with the audience, allowing for your brand and its messaging to leave with them. This could be something as simple as branded pens, tumblers, or even small demo products. Just be sure everything is branded with the business and its call to action.  A great final touchpoint for a potential future customer.

Your Design Here trade show sample products.

Do You Have a Trade Show Coming Up?

As a family-owned and operated commercial printer in Phoenix, Arizona for over 20 years, PRI Graphics & Signs takes great pride in ensuring that your final printed product is always produced with the highest quality and consistency to your needs and your budget. Check out this article on more ideas for trade show graphics.

If you still have questions or would like more information about trade show graphics or event displays or any other managed print services, please call Toll-Free 1-877-409-8889 or email PRI Graphics & Signs.

About the Author

PRI Graphics headshot

PRI Graphics – Director, Marketing & Brand Management

PRI Graphics is a marketing and design expert who is passionate about new emerging trends in digital media and business strategy. A member of AMA with a PCM® in marketing management, he continues to strengthen his knowledge and skill sets in the marketing ecosystem. Prior to joining PRI, he pursued a career in filmmaking and carries on the passion for brand development.