If your company is in an industry that relies on trade shows to promote goods and find new customers, you know that you can't skip too many shows to save money. But if you're on a budget, those shows can get expensive fast. Planning carefully is key, but it's not just the hotel reservations and food per diems you need to think about. Certain aspects of preparing for the trade show can also help save you money.
When you have your signs created for the trade show, make them something that you can use for multiple shows over multiple years. If you change your logo a lot, for example, or if you know you have a rebranding coming up, have signs made that feature information that isn't going to change so quickly. It may mean not having too many fancy signs, but if designing the signs carefully means you can attend another trade show, it may be worth it.
However, don't assume you have to stick with plain signs that won't capture attention from potential customers. Sign companies often have graphic designers as part of the staff who can help you figure out what lasting symbols would be representative of your company. To contact a sign company, check out a site like http://www.divinesignsinc.com.
Space You Truly Need
One instinctive move when trying to save money at a trade show is to limit the floor space you rent, and that's a good move, but it can go too far. Ensure you have enough space for people to move around freely in (or relatively freely, if you're at a trade show that doesn't offer a lot of space to begin with). If your booth looks too crowded or too awkwardly small, people might avoid it. You need to find that happy medium that has enough space.
You'd be kidding yourself if you thought no one showed up at your booth because of any freebies you were handing out, but that's part of the fun of attending trade shows, really. Have goodies that people will continue to use, like little pocket calculators (even in the era of the smartphone, sometimes you just need a tiny calculator), LED flashlights, and more. Cute freebies that aren't really useful will gather dust on most desks. Goodies people use over and over again keep your name in view.
You'll eventually get more business from trade shows, making your budget a little easier to deal with. Until then, reusable signs and efficient planning are your best friends. Start planning your booth and signs now.