What to Bring to a Conference: Your Print Guide
When deciding which print items to bring to a conference, there’s a lot to consider. Will you need to hand out product sheets? Do all your employees have business cards? Are your brochures conference-ready?
What’s more, you need to figure all this out in the midst of preparing for meetings, getting your digital assets ready, and doing your day-to-day job activities. Don’t risk forgetting something important and let us be your guide as you figure out which print items to bring to your conference.
Set the Stage (or Booth)
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you need to make it count. Most attendees probably don’t know who you are or what you do, but you can get them to your booth if it’s unique or interesting. While flashy displays are common for large brands, you can attract an audience with a few simple and cost-effective printed materials.
Banners and Posters
A large popup and hanging banners are essential to introduce attendees to your brand. Make the most of all the space you have to create a unique design, but don’t go overboard. Alex Virvo offers this advice:
“Simple, bold and clear images are the most effective in creating a memorable canvas for your selling story. Ornate, involved, mysterious, and confusing art and graphics may be great to look at but can be distracting and much less effective as a backdrop for your trade show message.”
Keep your logo visible and highlight your messaging with compelling graphics that complement your brand. Check out this minimalist banner template that allows you to share your message and brand with a clean and concise design.
To create a space that draws people in, don’t forget about your table. A tablecloth is an easy way to promote your brand, while maintaining a clean image at your booth. Simply print your logo on the tablecloth so it hangs front and center, visible to all attendees as they walk by. This also allows you to put backpacks and other bags underneath and out of sight to keep a clean space.
Promote Your Business
When attendees come over, you need to be prepared with printed materials that explain what you do and why they should care about you. There are dozens of print items you can use to promote your business, so we’ll help you decide between three common options: brochures, flyers, and postcards
All of these products can help you promote your business, but each one has its own unique benefits to consider as you choose where to place your print dollars.
With plenty of canvas to work with, brochures are best used as a text-heavy promotional material. Both bi-fold and tri-fold brochures provide multiple panels, along with space on the front and back, allowing you to include more text, along with images.
Brochure resources: How to Make Your Brochure Stand Out 13 Unique Brochure Designs How to Drive More Leads With Conference Brochures
Flyers are perfect for your one-pagers. The key when designing this print material is directing your reader’s eye to avoid overwhelming them. Too much clutter will render your flyer useless, so remember to break up the page with:
- Section headers
- Images and graphics
Don’t forget to order branded pocket folders that can hold all your one-pagers.
Flyer resources: 15 Small Business Flyer Ideas for Better Marketing How to Choose the Best Images for Your Flyer Design How to Make a Great Flyer: A Guide for Beginners
Postcards are small, and therefore easier to hold and carry around. This convenience factor makes them a great print material for conferences. Use postcards for simple marketing messages that don’t require a lot of text space. Better yet, turn postcards into coupons, incentivizing attendees to take an action.
Tip: Try and create a postcard that would work for you as a handout or in the mail. That flexibility will allow you to repurpose unused postcards after the conference to follow up with leads you acquired via direct mail.
Postcard resources: 3 Ways to Make Your Postcards Stand Out How to Make a Postcard: A Guide for Business Owners 9 Fresh Ideas for Real Estate Postcard Marketing
Don’t Forget Business Cards
It almost goes without saying that you’ll have a stack of business cards to hand out to people you speak with at the conference. Remember, attendees will be collecting business cards from dozens of people at the event, so take extra time to print high-quality business cards, using unique features to make them stand out better than the generic white cards that most businesses use.
If you’re feeling uninspired, here are some business card ideas to consider:
- Change the shape: A square business card will literally stand out in a stack of other business cards.
- Include a discount or coupon: If your business provides some value, attendees are more likely to keep it.
- Make it clear: Use transparent plastic material, like this business card, instead of regular gloss or cardstock.
Drive WOM Marketing With Swag
Don’t underestimate the power of swag. Research from the Advertising Specialty Institute shows that 85 percent of people will remember the name of a company that has given them a promotional item. What’s more, a tote bag, sticker, koozie or coaster are all constant reminders of your brand—both for the person who got the swag and anyone who sees it—which encourages word of mouth (WOM) marketing.
When choosing your swag, remember that functional items will stick around longer. Here are some giveaways that attendees might actually use:
- Water bottle
- Tote bag
- Bottle opener
- USB drive
What to Bring to a Conference: Print Edition
It’s easy to get lost in the flurry of to-do’s as you prepare for an upcoming conference. Use this guide to get your print assets in order so you can plan ahead, print what you need, and pack or ship early. When the conference floor opens, you’ll be ready to make a lasting impression.