Successful Trade Show Strategies

MAY 27, 2019| SpeedPro

Trade shows generate about $13 billion in revenue annually. Across a wide array of industries, companies recognize the value of face-to-face interactions with other businesses and consumers, and they understand that trade shows provide an excellent avenue for this. You can talk one-on-one with people, give product demonstrations and get people interested in what your company has to offer. Of course, attending a trade show costs your company time, effort and money, so you want to make it count.

Just being there isn’t enough. You have to find a way to stand out so you don’t become just another booth for people to walk past. You want your booth to grab people’s attention so you get the chance to show them how your business can improve their lives. You know what’s valuable about your company, but they don’t. An effective trade show display will help you tell that story. A dull display will fall flat and will easily get lost amongst the sea of other exhibitors.

Effective trade show booths don’t happen by accident. You need to plan and strategize if you want to make your trade show experience a success. In this post, we’ll look at some tips for trade show booths and, more specifically, some tips for trade show displays that will help you bring your A-game when you show up at your next trade show.

Set Goals For The Trade Show

Set Goals for the Trade Show

Before you can worry about how to have a successful trade show booth, your first step as a company should be determining what your goals are for the trade show. What is your purpose in attending this trade show? What do you hope to gain or accomplish? Don’t just assume that everyone is on the same page or that you don’t need to articulate your goals. This is a critical step if you want to approach a trade show strategically. For example, your primary goal could be to:

  • Increase awareness of your brand
  • Generate leads
  • Introduce a new service
  • Launch a new product or product line
  • Recruit new employees

Try to be as specific as you can when you formulate your goals. For instance, if your goal is to generate leads, try to quantify how many leads you hope to generate.

Once you know what your goals are, you can be more laser-focused in your approach to designing your displays. Effective trade show displays align with your goals for the trade show. A display intended to help you launch a new product shouldn’t look the same as a display intended to help you recruit new employees.

Prominently Display Your Company's Name

Prominently Display Your Company’s Name

No matter what your goals for a trade show are, one thing is sure — you want people to know your name. This may seem obvious, but many companies make the mistake of not making their company name a prominent part of their display. It can be easy to forget your company name since you’re already so familiar with your name and brand.

You may be able to get away with not prominently displaying your name if you’re a company like Apple whose logo is instantly recognizable by the vast majority of the public. If you’re not a multinational trillion-dollar company, however, you need to make sure trade show attendees who pass by your booth can’t miss your name.

If you’re incorporating multiple displays in your booth, you don’t need to put your company name and logo on everything. If you’re afraid it may detract from the graphics or photos on some of your displays, then you don’t have to include it. Just make sure your name is prominently visible in a central location in your booth where everyone will see it, such as on a banner or a table covering. You don’t want people to have to search for your name or to miss it altogether.

Incorporate Your Online Presence

Your company name isn’t the only information people should see on your displays right away. Your website address and social media accounts should also be prominently displayed. Attendees at your booth may want to visit these sites right away to learn more about your products or services, and you don’t want them to have to search.

You could even go a step further by creating a landing page specifically for trade show attendees. On this page, you would include the essential information you want attendees to know, based on your goals for the trade show. Of course, from there, visitors to your website could explore other pages on your site and learn more. If you create a special landing page, use the URL for that page on your booth display. Try to use a generic extension like “tradeshow” so you can update it and reuse it at future trade shows.

For social media marketing, list the icons for any social media sites where your company has a presence, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. You should also consider creating a hashtag and including it in your display to encourage people to post about their experience at your booth using the hashtag.

Diversify Your Display Formats

When you’re creating displays for your trade show booth, try to think outside the box. There’s nothing wrong with traditional formats, like banners, for example, but you don’t want to rely on just one banner to get your brand out there. The answer isn’t necessarily to get rid of the banner. It’s to add other types of displays.

One format that will instantly give a sleek and professional appearance to your booth is a pop-up display. These displays feature your graphics on a fabric surface that can be mounted on a straight or curved frame. Imagine a large pop-up display that spans the back of your booth. This way, it’s impossible for attendees who pass by your booth to miss being exposed to your brand. Another advantage of these displays is that they’re lightweight and easy to assemble.

Another way you can make your booth more creative and eye-catching is by incorporating backlit graphics. These displays are often called lightboxes because they are often three-dimensional rectangular signs containing lights that illuminate the graphic on the outside. Backlit displays can also take a variety of forms. For instance, pop-up fabric displays can be backlit with LED lights. In some cases, your backlit display could be a three-dimensional acrylic cutout of your company name or logo.

Diversifying your display formats to include more creative and attention-getting displays is a fantastic way to bring your trade show booth to the next level. Don’t just settle for ordinary.

Make People Feel Comfortable

Not all trade show success strategies need to be about innovation. It’s a mistake to focus solely on projecting an ultramodern image and forget about the power of good-old-fashioned hospitality. You want people to stick around at your booth. Otherwise, they won’t see all your displays, flip through your portfolio or give you their email addresses. One way you can encourage people to spend some time at your booth is simply by being hospitable.

When we want to be hospitable in our homes, we often do this by offering someone a drink. You can do this in your trade show booth, as well. Keep a carafe of coffee or a dispenser of lemonade on your table so people feel comfortable and at home. Especially if they’re getting tired of walking around a large gymnasium or convention center, your booth can provide some respite and encourage them to take a pause to learn more about your company.

You can also offer a warm and welcoming presence by having your staff greet people and engage them in friendly conversation first rather than diving straight into a sales pitch. Sales pitches should be focused on how you can help people and serve their needs.

Project Energy and Enthusiasm

Staff members at your booth should also appear energetic. An enthusiastic attitude is contagious — if you’re excited about your company, then you may influence others to be excited as well. Keep smiling, and pump up your energy by thinking about how much your company could benefit from this trade show if you make the most of it.

At most booths, you’ll probably see people sitting behind their table. You can stand out just by standing. Get out in front of your table so you don’t look like you’re just waiting for people to come to you. Instead, you can appear more energetic and engage right away with passers-by.

You want your displays to project energy, as well. Use vibrant colors and active language in the text you include. Try to get people intrigued about the uniqueness of your company so they’ll want to learn more. Keep in mind that people may be on sensory overload and have tired feet by the time they get to your booth, but if they encounter an eye-catching display and an exceptional level of enthusiasm from your staff, that is likely to get their attention.

Offer a Special Promotion

Offering an exclusive discount to trade show attendees is a tried-and-true strategy if you want to encourage people to make a purchase or sign up for your services right then and there. Here are a few examples of discounts for some different types of businesses:

  • Health Spa/Gym: Eliminate the initial membership fee if attendees commit to a year-long membership.
  • Software: Offer the first month for free if attendees purchase a six-month software subscription.
  • Music: Include a free pair of high-tech noise-canceling headphones to attendees who purchase your newest amplifier model.
  • Event Planning: Offer a more high-end package for the same price as the package one step down.
  • Photography: Offer a free photo book for anyone who purchases a particular photo shoot package.

You can use your display to let people know about the discount or giveaway. That said, don’t include the discount on all of your displays or your large popup display. If you do this, it won’t appear temporary and exclusive to this particular group. It could also get lost amongst the other information on the display.

You’re better off to include the information about the special promotion on just one or two signs that appear more temporary and are solely dedicated to featuring the promotion. A retractable banner or table topper is perfect for this.

Tell a Story With Your Display

Tell A Story With Your Display

You don’t just want your display to expose people to your brand in a basic, static way. You want your display to tell a story. Consider the difference in a display that merely tells trade show attendees what your company is called and your slogan and a display that tells them specifically what you can do for them.

If you’re at a trade show with other companies in your same industry, you need to tell attendees what makes your company unique. Use language focused on the customer and what you can do for them. Consider including facts and figures to provide evidence for how you have helped previous clients and customers.

You can only include so much on your display without it getting over-crowded, so you may also want to bring along a portfolio of your past work in the form of a binder or photo book. This is especially a good idea for companies that offer services, such as interior design, web design or landscaping, where visual examples of your work speak for themselves.

No matter what industry you’re in, you have a story to tell, and you want your display to help you tell it. Visually compelling graphics and photos along with succinct and informative text can quickly draw in people and get them interested in your business.

Partner With SpeedPro for Trade Show Displays That Attract a Crowd

To create trade show displays that are visually striking and made from high-quality materials, call on the experts at SpeedPro. We’re a national brand that specializes in large-format graphics, and we can work with you to design unique displays that will attract attention and help you meet your goals for a trade show.

Our dedication to promptness and excellence in all we do has led to many satisfied clients. For more inspiration for how you can wow at your next trade show, check out these three trade show display booths from SpeedPro clients who stood out at the trade shows they attended. If you want to get noticed, don’t compromise when it comes to your graphic displays. SpeedPro has print studios all over the country, so the best way to get started is by finding a studio near you and requesting a quote. We’re here to help make your next trade show a success.

Back to Blog