The coronavirus pandemic has turned the exhibition and trade show industry on its head. But what exactly does the future look like for the events industry? And can it ever get back to where it was?

Although restrictions have been lifted across most parts of the UK, large scale trade shows and exhibitions still need to be reorganised, reevaluated, and revitalised. 

Before these events make a comeback, however, what can you do to get your business exhibition-ready in a post-pandemic world? We’ve provided some advice and guidance below.

Why trade shows are still important in 2021 and beyond

Many industries thrive and flourish within trade shows and exhibitions. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase their products and services, mingle with potential customers, and network like there’s no tomorrow. 

Although networking has still been possible during the pandemic (think endless Zoom calls…), it’s simply not the same and relationships are far more difficult to develop and feed, if you’ve never met that person face-to-face.

Investing time in relationships is essential for many industries and these relationships tend to develop before, during, and after a trade show or exhibition. In a post-pandemic world, knowing the importance of each stage is crucial.

Although many companies and individuals have embraced new communication technology and online events, COVID-19 has most definitely not reduced the impact that in-person events have. Sure, these events might look different – fewer attendees for instance – but they’re still an imperative part of networking for many businesses.

Why printed materials will be important in a post-pandemic world

exhibition leaflets

As we mentioned just before, the stages of building relationships for trade shows and exhibitions is essential – and investing in an appropriate strategy and printed marketing materials can help greatly with this.

Pre-promotion is key, especially if you’re preparing for your first trade show back after COVID-19. Most individuals will plan their exhibition visit around who they want to meet or see – promoting yourself successfully before the event can ensure you gain the attention of the right people.

Don’t just rely on digital marketing and advertising for this, however. Printed, physical materials can have a much higher impact than an email or social media post. Remember, many people have spent the last 18 months stuck inside, looking at their phones or laptop screens. Give them something they can touch and feel, with a physical reminder of who you and your company are. This could be a postcard invite or something more exciting, like a free pen and notebook to use on the day of the event – whatever it is, it will have far more impact.

Engaging with attendees at the actual event is a lot easier when you have a plethora of information available to them – in a printed format. Product information sheets are a great way to showcase your new outputs and provide interested parties with physical information that they can take home and pick up again later.

And let’s not forget the power of a freebie. However you choose to promote your company on the day, a freebie can go a long way to ensure you’re memorable beyond the doors of the exhibition space. This could include:

Unique exhibition freebies
  • Branded travel mugs or cups
  • Tote bags
  • Power bank chargers
  • T-shirts and other clothing
  • Notepads / books
  • Umbrellas
  • And never forget, the beloved stress ball

exhibition materials 2021

Investing in COVID-19 protected printed materials

Of course, even with event safety measures in place, exhibition attendees will still be cautious. Having antibacterial coatings on your leaflets, menus, posters, and any other printed materials, will provide attendees with that extra protection – and make you stand out.

You can find out more about our COVID-19 print packages here for your next exhibition.

Which printed materials do you need?

Preparing for an event or exhibition needs to start early, as you should have a lot of collateral to organise. But which printed materials do you need most when it comes to making the best impact?

  • Business cards

Connect with your potential customers by ensuring they have all your contact information. Instead of simply putting your number into someone’s phone, a business card will physically remind that individual to contact you at a later date – instead of just ghosting you.

  • Product information sheets

If you have new products in the pipeline, trade shows and exhibitions are the places to get these out there. Being well-stocked up on product sheets and information, means you can send attendees away with everything they need to make a decision.

  • Special offers

Provide exhibition attendees with a unique code or special offer. Not only does this get their attention, it may also make them more likely to place an order or purchase in the future. That additional discount could just push your company up in their estimations.

  • Postcards

Easily digestible content, postcards are a great way to showcase your company and information, as well as being a handy way to send invites to potential attendees before the event begins.

  • Signage

You need to attract attendees at the event too. Having bright, engaging, and exciting signage will give you that edge you need to pull the people in and then your products / services can do the talking.

  • Freebies!

We all love a freebie – and no one loves a freebie more than the average exhibition attendee. They’re there to network, find out about new products and services, but there’s no harm in giving them something extra too. Get an edge over your competitors with unique freebies and giveaways, including branded power banks and umbrellas.

exhibition freebies

For more information on how BD Print can help you prepare for your upcoming exhibitions and events, contact us today.

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