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9 Tips for Creating a Remarkable Trade Show Booth

Posted by: Alexandra Heseltine - Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Recently we worked with a small business to design their trade show booth, which was a “stepping out of the box” experience for this company.

While their staff had attended trade shows before, they were unsure of the preparation needed for creating a memorable trade show experience for visitors and how to continue conversations with attendees long after the show was over.

Like any other marketing effort, a successful trade booth takes some planning, a reasonable budget, organization and enough time to pull all the elements together. Below are some easy to follow tips for an unforgettable trade show booth:

Define the Goals for Your Trade Show Booth

Are you attending the trade show as a public relations effort, show community support or is it to generate leads for future business? Describe the audience you anticipate for the event and what outcomes would you like to see from participating in the event. Defining your goals up front will determine the size, budget and feel of your booth.

Develop a Realistic Budget

Consider all the elements needed to make your booth remarkable from signage, interactive presentations and artwork, audio/video, handouts, promo items, electricity, drawings and more. Factor in the cost of the show, transportation, meals and miscellaneous expenses when calculating your budget.

What do you want attendees to do at your booth?

How do you plan to engage with visitors? Will there be product demonstrations or samples? Do attendees enter your booth for an experience or to talk about your product/service? Will there be audio/video presentations or games?

What do you want your booth visitor to take-away?

If you are planning to give out brochures or other marketing collateral, make sure the information is current and created specifically for the attending audience. Promotional items should represent your company well, thematically connecting to the booth and have long term usage (more than 6 months).

Plan your Booth Space

Now that you know how your booth is going to function, plan your space. Most often trade show booths come with a 6 or 8 ft. table with a cloth drape. Electricity is often a few dollars more but is worth the expense if it helps bring your booth to life via video, lighted signage or other sensory devices. An easy way to plan your booth is to draw the outline of your booth on graph paper or use a digital version and arrange all the elements within the allotted space. Will the table be at the front of the booth, the back with signage on top or perhaps on the side for handouts? How do you plan to interact with visitors?

Signage and Displays

Booths come in many sizes and shapes so signage or displays take a little forethought. If the display is going to be used more than once, then plan a display that can be adjusted for different size booths and events. Will the display be full size and rest on the floor? Will it be a table-top display that pulls up? Will an 8 ft. wide booth use four 2 ft. wide displays as a back drop which can be adjusted for a 6 ft. wide booth later? Consider also portability of the display unit and the amount of work needed to assemble the display.

Booth Coverage and Sales

Trade shows are often day long events and some last several days. Usually staff members who manage the booth are on their feet all day. Plan a rotation schedule for lunch, breaks and rest so that staff members are as fresh as possible during the entire event.

Transporting the Display

How do you plan to transport your booth, marketing collateral and other materials to the trade show? If shipping the trade show display and materials, build in a couple of extra days for shipping delays.

Allow Plenty of Time for Preparation

Allow plenty of time for sign, display and promo items to be printed, assembled and shipped to your location. Add a few extra days to your schedule to allow for mishaps in the process.

Continue the Conversation

Continuing the conversation long after the event takes a little effort and planning. Be creative. Do something usual and fun. Often a contest or drawing is used to encourage attendees to leave their name and email address behind. A low key follow up email can be sent to attendees thanking them for visiting your booth an asking them to follow your blog or on social media. As an alternative, a stronger sales oriented email could be sent to attendees with a special offer, link to a landing page or other Call to Action to develop long-term engagement.

Trade shows are a lot of work but, if well planned, can be a lot of fun and highly profitable. If we can assist you with your trade show booth planning or design, give us a call. We’d love to help you create a successful trade show experience!

 Alexandra Heseltine | Marketing pro and creative director with over 25 years experience working with mid-sized to larger businesses and non-profits with experience in the construction, legal, banking and B2B sectors.

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