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Any tips / hacks on decorating an exhibition booth very cost-effectively? / Folsom Street Fair

First of all, thanks for all here for the great discussions and participation! This is my first active post but I've learned a lot from previous posts and answers. So Danke Schoen!

Here is my question. I'm going to be at the Folsom Street Fair with BeforeWeDo.com to promote my startup but also do some sexual health education. Now, we are still bootstrapped / self-funded so we want to get the most bang out of the buck.

Of those of you who have exhibited at street fairs before or other Expos. Any tips / hacks you want to share on great ideas for decoration and drawing attention to the booth?

We are currently planning the following:
- Printing Banners and papers to decorate the booth with < 100 USD in total
- Having people in the booth and actual physical products to demonstrate / talk
- have an Asus pad to take down peoples' names and email addresses if they are more interested
- have shifts of volunteers that roam around the fair and talk to random folks about BeforeWeDo.com

Any suggestions? More tips? Would really appreciate further input!

8 Replies

Juston Brommel
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Juston Brommel Entrepreneur • Advisor
Growth Strategist & Advisor to CEOs
Can you get a beverage sponsor to have cold/free drinks? Since ANYTHING GOES at Folsom St. fair - the more fun you have the better. Get some craigslist couches, bean bags, etc. and provide a chill zone. Even just having carpet, pillows & shade (MANDATORY) will help you get people chillin'. Also - don't wear a tie... unless it's all you wear, then you're golden. :0)
Jason Oliver
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Jason Oliver Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder and Technology & Product Executive
A good visual effect is if all your team wears the same bright colored t-shirt - most likely with your logo and/or slogan. Have a good number of people, even if they don't "work" for you - it creates a crowd and all you need are some printed t-shirts.


Marc DeWalle
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Marc DeWalle Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurial MBA with extensive experience in development and management of sales channels, partnerships and alliance
Its hard to give you suggestions since you don't say who you're trying to engage with. Are you trying to get the attention of customers, investors, doctors? Are you trying to create awareness among the general public? Maybe you're trying to attract media attention?

Knowing who you want to engage with (or who you want to get your message to) needs to drive your actions. You don't measure the success of exhibiting at a trade show by the number of people in your booth, but by some other measurement (depending on your goal), maybe: sales leads, media stories, customers signed up, units sold, etc.
Stefan Broda
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Stefan Broda Entrepreneur
Partner Program Manager at Atlassian
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions!

T-Shirt - Check. We will all wear the same T-Shirt inside and outside the booth. But great point, Jason!

@Juston, Craigslist couches! Great idea! I'll look into that :)

Marc, I'm targeting sexually active individuals that are not locked down to one partner for the next decade. Particular men who have sex with men and women as they are most affected by the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.

So main goal for the booth is customer development, invite them to come over or just chat them up at the fair and talk about their pain points / wishes in the sexual health space.
Metrics: Email sign ups / conversations had (feedback / idea validation)

A secondary goal would be potential non-profit / sexual health partner organization who might develop more trust in BeforeWeDo as a legit institution and be more open about joint projects / marketing in the future.

And of course... if any angel investor dressed in leather walks by... :)

Marc DeWalle
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0
Marc DeWalle Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurial MBA with extensive experience in development and management of sales channels, partnerships and alliance
So although you're targeting individuals (potential customers?), you might still try to get some media attention. It helps spread the word for people who don't attend the fair and reiterates the message for people that were there. It sounds like will be a difficult environment to get media attention by doing anything shocking or non-traditional, but if you go for something creative that is visually interesting it will encourage media coverage.
Stefan Broda
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Stefan Broda Entrepreneur
Partner Program Manager at Atlassian
Alright, thanks Marc! And if any of you guys come to the Fair, please stop by and say 'Hi'. We are on Folsom between 7th and 8th. Best regards, Stefan PS: We are gaining momentum! First we won Startup Weekend SF, then the 14th Founder Showcase in Mountain View and now we were invited to present at the upcoming Health2.0 Conference in San Francisco. As a thank you, we now help everyone to find *FREE HIV/STD Testing Resources* near them. Founder/CEO http://www.BeforeWeDo.com STDs are scary! Testing doesn't have to be. Manage your sexual health from home P - +[removed to protect privacy] / Skype - stefanbroda
Rob Gropper
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0
Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
Be careful not to appear intimidating. A booth with a bunch of people all dressed the same standing behind a table waiting to pounce (from the visitor's perspective) can be intimidating. Open the place up as much as possible - round tables and chairs rather than the typical Costco folding table (looks to much like a barrier) so people feel comfortable just wandering in and hanging out. if it's outdoor i'd look at having a few laid-back dogs or puppies milling around - who can resist that!...
Stefan Broda
0
0
Stefan Broda Entrepreneur
Partner Program Manager at Atlassian
Oh, we will actually be all in the same T-Shirts. Thanks for the note, i'll try to get some puppies :)
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