Trade shows can sometimes feel like more play than work. It’s time away from the office, you get to meet so many new people, and you can go discover the town’s nightlife every night you’re there.
But you’re there to work. After a few hours of standing, your feet and back are killing you, and your smile starts to feel passed on. You’re in the middle of a row of competing booths, feeling insignificant and invisible. The floor is littered with the flyers you carefully designed and eagerly handed out.
Your prospects whizz by you, staring straight ahead as you lurk at the edge of your booth like a mugger in a dark alley.
“Was it worth all that money just for this?” you wonder.
But, by implementing the right trade show booth tips, you can have a very fruitful outing. Many business people consider trade shows worth an entire month of cold calling and pitching.
Why You Should Have A Booth At A Trade Show
- Trade shows are the perfect opportunity for generating leads and even closing a deal or two. Almost all the people you see at that show are in effective demand. They have spent money and time to come and see what you have on offer.
There is no more accessible target customer base to work with. With the right strategy and personnel, you can get precious leads.
- You get a unique opportunity to put your brand out there at trade shows. Large companies in your industry have the means to promote their brands constantly. Soon everyone assumes they are the only players in that field.
You want prospective customers to know you exist and that your product can change their lives in a way product x from a big name brand will not.
The best place to do that is at trade shows.
- You can never be on top of your game without understanding your industry and competition. Trade shows bring all these factors under one roof. You can take the occasion to discover what products and technologies are new in your industry.
You can also survey your competitor’s features during trade shows- their prices, strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. You can evaluate these against your own and know how to elevate your own game.
- Trade shows are a perfect place to network. You get to meet a variety of industry players both on your own and others. Business and professional connections, as well as personal ties, can be forged during this period.
You can still count the venture a huge success even if all you walk away with are networks.
- Unless you run your business on the smallest scale, chances are you are missing out on invaluable face-to-face engagements with your customers. Trade fairs personalize contact with customers.
It is a wonderful opportunity to get feedback from your customers and assuage their concerns in real time.
- Many people go to trade fairs for offers and to see what’s new on the market. If you have any new products, the fair is a fantastic platform to introduce that to your customers.
More people are willing to stop to hear about a new product or offer than they are interested in what has been on the market.
Here are tried and tested trade show booth tips recommended by hardened exhibitors to turn likely failure into success.
Trade Show Booth Tips
- Preparation is the key to success.
As in everything else, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Your booth has a greater chance of succeeding when you lay out everything in advance. Planning makes sure you do not overlook anything essential. Also, it empowers you to better deal with contingencies.
Your preparation should specifically focus on the following areas before the exhibition opens:
- Your gudget and goals
Having a booth at a trade show does not come cheap, especially for a small business. Figures over $ 10,000 are considered normal. Depending on the nature of the show and the venue, 10 grand could even be cheap.
Know what you are paying for and how much. Find out what is compulsory and what you can leave out or bring yourself. And while at it, pay for everything you need to avoid last-minute rushes and shortages.
Measure this against what you expect to gain and decide if it makes sense.
- Availability of space
Ideal real estate is often in high demand at trade shows. Find out well in advance if your ideal spot is available and book it, even if you have to pull a few strings. The right spot will make attracting visitors to your booth so much easier.
- Your staff
Trade fairs are a salesperson’s job. Plan to have your best sales staff at hand. Train them if they are new at exhibitions.
- Everything else
Ensure you have all the products, samples, freebies, badge scanners, and literature you need in sufficient quantities before you are ready to open.
- Be comfortable
Of all the trade show booth tips here, you can least afford to ignore this one. Most exhibition gurus put this at the top of their pro tips.
You will spend a lot of time on your feet, and you want to be comfortable. Otherwise, nothing else on this least will help you. You will attract prospects, yes, but will be too unsettled to engage them. We can intuitively know when the person addressing us is in discomfort. We then focus on whether they are okay rather than on their message.
Flat, well-padded shoes are the best for carrying your weight all day. Have a seat at hand so you can take the weight off your feet occasionally. If you can get your visitors to sit down, it is an opportunity to take a breather yourself.
- Be visible
You attend a trade show primarily to be seen. Unfortunately, all the other attendees are competing for the same attention. It is best to design your booth to stand out.
These tips will help you stand out from the crowd:
- Locate your booth strategically. There are places on the floor at which visitors can’t stop and engage. Avoid those.
Avoid the entrance, but don’t stray too far from it. Intersections are the best place to be. You can tap in on the traffic flow here when visitors slow down to decide where to turn.
Being close to such amenities as the restroom or restaurant has its perks. The visitors can see you as they go in or come out.
You can also sponge off the marketing efforts of big brand names and your competitors. Have your booth close to theirs so you can woo the traffic they attract.
- Design your booth to be visible from a distance. You have a twinkle of an eye to make an impression. Keep your messaging simple. Your text should be large enough to read from far.
Be consistent in your design; stick to a few colors and typefaces. Have enough while space in your signs to make your message prominent.
- Place the most crucial information at the focal points of your booth. The back of your booth is the best as it is directly in front of your visitors’ eyes.
Make sure to check our trade show booth design offer to get inspired.
- Fashion a unique experience
Make your booth visibly attractive to attract visitors. Offer them something to solve a pressing need they are likely to have. A place to relax (if space allows), free wifi, and a place to recharge a phone never fail to attract visitors.
Once in, you can keep your visitors engaged by showing them demos of your products. This is better than launching a dry pitch of what your products are.
Interactive games are also effective in keeping your visitors long enough to convert them. Offer prizes to go with the games. Just make sure you incorporate your brand story into the whole experience.
- Think outside your booth
The trade show booth is the focal point of your exhibition endeavors, but they can’t be limited to that space alone.
These trade show booth tips will help you engage beyond the confines of your booth:
A successful trade show booth experience begins before the exhibition and lasts after it. It also goes beyond the physical realm into the digital world.
- Please do your research to find out likely visitors to the trade show and the interests they represent. Engage them beforehand and ask them to drop by your booth for an offer that will change their life. Let them know exactly where your booth is situated.
- You can also generate hype around your booth and brand on social media to direct more deliberate traffic to your booth.
- During the trade show itself, position yourself on the edge of your booth rather than inside. Feel free to move around too to invite potential visitors to your booth.
- Don’t stop looking for clients just because you have closed for the day. You have paid a lot of money to be there, so look for the people wherever they are. Never eat alone. Join others at the table and talk to them.
- Don’t be too salesy. Keep to the cardinal rule of engagement and listen more than you talk. As soon as an opportunity presents itself, grab it.
- The main conference hall and the bar are also good hunting grounds for leads and network contacts.
- Reach out soon after the encounter while it is fresh in their mind. It’s not a good idea to go beyond 48 hours. Calling is the best option. Your email is likely to be ignored as it will be competing for attention with more important mail.
- Form a crowd outside your booth.
Social proof is a powerful motivator to action. When we see many people do something, we assume it is good. As a result, we are less resistant to trying it out. This works for your booth too. A crowd makes passers-by curious about what is going on.
More people stop by, and soon you have a crowd that will make your competitors green with envy.
You can use these pro trade show booth tips to generate that crowd:
- You can use some of your staff or friends to mill around your booth and show plenty of interest in your products. This should be enough to make others curious and even make three or four people stop and see.
- Use a game to entice people to come and stay. As has been noted, this is a sure crowd puller.
- Use bloggers and online influencers to invite people to your booth.
- Generate buzz around your brand to draw crowds. You can make an important announcement or launch a new product. Controversies also work wonderfully if you can manage the engagement around them.
- Plan for contingencies
The success of your trade show booth cannot be guaranteed if you have not accounted for contingencies. Unforeseen circumstances have the power to cut short your exhibition at a high cost to yourself.
Have a backup plan to protect yourself, your staff, and your property. Take out whatever insurance you need. Maintain lines of communication between various elements of the trade show. When you need a rapid response to save your show from being derailed, that line of communication comes in handy.
If your exhibition depends on a power source, as it most certainly does, plan for an alternative source in case of an unexpected power outage.
Plan against delayed delivery of the items you need for your trade show booth by shipping early to give yourself plenty of allowances.
The COVID 19 pandemic has taught us to leverage the internet to carry on business in the face of unexpected lockdown. It is advisable to create a virtual extension of your physical booth for events such as these.
Trade Show Booth Tips: Conclusion
Trade shows have an indisputable place in promoting your brand. If you are a small business, it presents a unique opportunity. It is not cheap though. If you do not carry it out properly, you risk losing your money and wasting your time.
The trade show booth tips outlined in this article can help you optimize your booth for success.
It’s in the name! Everything Tradeshows is your one-stop shop for all things trade shows, including booth purchases, booth rentals, and complete brand management services. Ready to get started? Have questions? Get in touch by calling us at (954) 791-8882 or by filling out the form below. We can’t wait to hear from you!