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Published September 25th 2014

10 Top Tips for a Successful Trade Show Booth

If your company spends the money, time, and effort to display a booth at an event, it is vital to make the best of it. Here's 10 successful trade show tips

When your company spends the money, time, and effort to display a booth at a trade show, it is vital to make the best of it.

Careful planning and research can go a long way towards ensuring a successful showing at your next trade show.

This article will highlight ways to attract visitors to your booth, detail ways to plan out a successful trade show exhibition, and explore some of the best ideas for trade show giveaways.

Attracting prospects to your booth

A trade show is a place where buyers and sellers meet. The benefit is that buyers come to a trade show looking to buy and wanting to learn about the latest and greatest that you have to offer.

The problem is the amount of competition you have in the direct vicinity. The way to overcome the problem is to take steps to ensure that buyers won’t miss your booth.

Here are 10 successful trade show tips to make visitors stop at your booth

1. Booth location

Of course, the old business adage “location, location, location” stands here just like anywhere else. Most trade shows will offer prime location booths for an extra charge.

If you are willing to pay extra, look into this early. Most trade show’s prime locations sell out fast; some prime locations are even grandfathered in, so you may need to think even further in advance, like next year.

It also is something to consider when negotiating your contract. If you plan on attending a trade show long term, year after year, prime location is something you can try to leverage at that time.

2. Get the look

Buyers are attracted to good looking booths. Use bright colors and put effort into the design of your booth. It will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by.

Make your messaging clear and able to be seen from every direction as well as near and far. Use clear signs and optimum lighting.

3. Make your booth approachable

In addition to having that ‘right look’ and appealing design, your booth should be approachable. Smiling faces of professional booth attendants are important.

Have a variety of different display options to appeal to different people. Some people like flyers, pamphlets, and reading materials.

Other attendees are visual and would like to see a video demo on an HD screen or tablet.

Many will want to engage with the booth staff and ask questions. Make sure that plenty of booth staff are available at all times.

4. Booth hosts

Consider having a booth host who is trained to answer some simple questions and direct buyers to the appropriate staff member in the booth.

You could try using entertainers such as a model, a magician, singer, or other type of entertainer that goes along with your company persona or theme of the booth or trade show.

5. Offer show specials

Make sure to highlight your show specials so that buyers know that they need to buy at the show in order to receive the discount or special offer. Make sure your show special is posted and very clear.

6. Contests and promotions

Everyone likes to win something and contests, special promotions, or prize drawings will attract people to your booth.

Be sure that you require something of attendees in order to enter the drawing or qualify to win a prize such as a business card, or filling out a contact form or questionnaire.

7. Snacks and drinks

Trade show attendees are usually not used to all the walking around.

Offering snacks and drinks will be much appreciated. Your drinks or snack offer should be in line with your company culture or theme. Water bottles and any packaging should come with your branding or business card attached to help remind them where they received it from.

8. Show your expertise

Offer something of value to trade show attendees. This can be something like a white paper on the state of the industry, top 10 lists of products, newest trends. If most people who attend a particular trade show are from out of the area, you can offer information about the local area, such as top places for dinner.

9. Reach out on social media

You should already have a social media marketing plan in place for your trade show. One way to use social media is to engage with people who have checked in at the venue or mentioned the trade show on social media. Invite them to your booth and offer a special incentive through social channels.

10. Promotional products

Promotional products and branded gift giveaways are a staple at trade shows.

However, choosing the right promotional products to giveaway will ensure that your investment is worthwhile.

Make sure that the promotional product giveaway that you choose is something that is relevant to your brand and useful to the consumer. That is the best combination to ensure that they are kept for long periods of time.

Some of the most popular promotional products for trade shows include:

  • Pens: A good old standby. They may be a bit mundane, but everyone still needs a pen to have handy. Pens are kept for a long period of time and even have a transfer value since recipients might give them to others.
  • Bags: Everyone always needs something to carry all that stuff they pick up at a trade show. Reusable bags are kept much more often now than in the past for their environmental benefits.
  • Electronic Gadgets: USB or thumb drives always rank among the type of promotional item that people would like to receive. Mobile device cases are also always well received.
  • Cups & Mugs: Cups and mugs are kept for long periods of time and get a lot of use. For the trade show attending crowd, though travel mugs are probably a better choice for usability.
  • Badge Holders: Even though some might only be used during the trade show, handy ones with extra pockets will often be kept and reused at other events.
  • Folders, Binders, Notepads: These come in handy both during the trade show and after, they will often make it back to the office for use by the receiver and other staff members.

To sum up

Carrying off a successful trade show involves a great deal of planning. Since trade shows are often a risk because of the cost involved and the short term, one shot deal nature of them, it is imperative to do enough to ensure their success.

Many of the 10 points we illustrated to attract buyers require research and planning ahead of time. If you regularly attend trade shows, you will form a routine; but even if you have a routine, be sure to constantly continue to innovate and improve it.

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