There’s nothing worse than showing up for a trade show and realizing you forgot something you need. Showing up prepared also makes it easier to make friends right from the beginning because you can let them borrow your supplies! We’ve put together a list of must-have items for your trade show kit, many of which are easy to forget on your way out the door to capture those leads. Some of them might be lifesavers, and others just make the experience more enjoyable. Here is a great checklist to go through before every trade show.

1. Signage: make sure you have all the signage and promotional banners you will need. Nothing is worse than forgetting the sign with your company’s name on it!

2. Promo Items: brochures, postcards, flyers etc. get left behind more often than not. These promotional items, however, are often the most important way to connect with leads; so always be sure to pack these first.

3. Business Cards: hand out your contact information to as many qualified leads as you can. The original trade show sin is running out of business cards. Make sure you bring enough for the duration of the show; it’s always better to have too many than not enough.

4. Giveaway Prizes/Materials: pick something that makes sense for your goals. Many presenters use pens, notepads, or some other office material. Just don’t give it away for free and be sure to fend off the adult trick-or-treaters.

5. Name Tags: everyone wants to know your name, as well as what company you are with. This also adds a personal touch, which is essential to connect with your leads.

6. Presentation/Video/Media: have you ever gotten to a place and realized you’ve forgotten your PowerPoint? Always double check that you have all your marketing and presentation materials with you. Bring back up copies on thumb drives and also have copies in the cloud.

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7. First Aid Kit: trade shows and conferences have a lot of socializing and entertaining that go along with them. Drinks tend to flow, especially if there is an open bar, and events usually go late into the night. Dealing with jet lag, different time zones, overstimulation of a show floor and being in a new city can really start to affect the body. Aspirin and ibuprofen are a must, as well as Tums and cold / allergy medicine.

8. Office Supplies: pens, pencils, notepads, a stapler, scissors, tape, etc. These may seem unimportant, but with the number of paper material, you’ll likely have it’s always a good idea to have all of these on hand.

9. Computer/iPad/TV & Power Cords: if you’re presenting something on a big screen during the show, always make sure you have the appropriate power cords and extension cords.

10. Basic Toolkit: this comes in handy when you need to repair something, especially last-minute. Include a screwdriver, pliers, allen wrenches, and a hammer. Also, include extra extension cords and a sewing kit just in case.

11. Snacks and Water: nothing is more important than keeping up your energy and health during a trade show, especially as some can go on for a few days. Remember to include protein-packed snacks, such as dried fruit or nuts, and plenty of water (or a reusable container that you can fill up at the show).

12. Booth Extras: look at the little details that are enabling your booth to come to life – and bring more of them! These include things like bolts, screws, connectors, and even a multi-tool.

13. Hygiene Essentials: items like antibacterial hand wipes, hand sanitizer, breath mints, tissues, lip balm, Advil, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a hair comb, and Band-Aids. These little things can go unnoticed, but will always make you more comfortable and better able to present at the show.

14. Cleaning Supplies: glass cleaner, cleaning spray, paper towels, and trash bags will help keep your booth looking good.

15. Photos of Your Assembled Booth: this may not be necessary for everyone, but oftentimes having a photo or two of your assembled booth can come in handy when you are setting up at a trade show. It will help you remember where everything goes and help keep things looking orderly.

For other tricks and trade show marketing strategies, visit our blog or check out our trade show entertainment services.