10 Inexpensive & Easy to Follow Tips for Trade Show Success

Trade shows are often times a necessity for many industries, but can be a daunting task to plan and implement. The upside to doing a trade show is that it is the most cost effective approach to market to a huge crowd. There are many social media and viral efforts for marketing, but trades shows are the only face-to-face marketing today. If you market wisely, trade shows can bring hundreds of motivated potential customers to you. Unfortunately, many exhibitors don’t make the most of their trade show participation because they don’t adhere to these simple rules:

Consult an exhibit or display expert

Believe it or not, there are some cost effective services that assist exhibitors in creating a relatively inexpensive display while increasing marketing potential and getting the message to people passing by. Reputable exhibit firms offer free design consultation and will create the right display while staying within your targeted budget. Don’t spend too much on design. Trim the fat to save money. Sometimes less is more.

Study the Floor Plan

You don’t have to make use of the premium spaces. They are typically at the entrance, expensive and unavailable. Choose areas that can be just as effective. Areas near restrooms, business centers, or food and beverages make awesome locations and are easier on the pockets.

See the Light.

Lighting is very important. Most venues offer booths with electricity. Pay the extra fees for a well-lit display to draw more attention.

Spit Out the Gum!

Train your staff on booth etiquette. Attendees are priority and should be approached and treated in a professional manner. Have the trade show giveaways ready in hand to distribute once a potential customer approaches the exhibit. No gum chewing, eating, sitting, relaxing or personal conversations at the booth. Most of all, NO Texting!

Get Leads & Follow Up

Take advantage of the tracking system that trade shows often have. If they don’t have one, create a system to capture leads. Offer free products through a sweepstakes. Get potential customers to enter to win the product or service you’re offering, by filling out cards with their contact information. Then follow up!

Invest in Great Marketing Materials.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Make use of great graphics to get your point across and put it on durable materials. One large image targeted to how your business can help the customer can say a thousand words. It can cost less, but say a lot more.

Dress for Success

Everyone recognizes a clean and professional look. A small investment in logoed apparel for your team can create a nice uniform company image. Printed or embroidered polo shirts, t-shirts or aprons etc. create a polished look.

Roll Out the Carpet

Rent or buy carpet with comfortable padding. Trade show venues usually get rid of carpet remnants after a huge show. This would be a good time to negotiate good carpet to secure for upcoming trade shows.

Leah Fairman

Leah is a promotional consultant for CorporateSNOBS.com, a leader in quality promotional products ,brand apparel and incentive programs for all industries.She has helped many small business, Fortune 500 and government agencies achieve their promotional goals.

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  1. Leah you brought me back to a place a long time ago talking about trade shows! When I was in college, I was part of a team who got hired to simply hand out samples at trade shows for an international FMCG company. We were always briefed and warned about looking and behaving our best and never to leave the booth unattended that kind of stuff (or we’d lose our check! It was a part time gig).

    So as you can imagine, we were. But I can’t say the same for some of the employees at the other booths. Some were more interested in chatting up the ladies and I noticed they missed potential leads while they were ‘away’.

    • Oh yes, I agree. It just kills me to see the exotic exhibits that companies have poured time and money into just to see their staff, as my grandmother would say “acting ugly”. Poor booth etiquette defeats the purpose of making a strong positive presentation.

  2. Dress for Success I think is one of the most important in the list above. When I go to a trade show, I prefer to see a guy in a suit/tie or business casual vs. jeans a t-shirt. A nice appearance shows me that the person cares enough about personal hygiene to look nice which means they probably also care about the product.

  3. Nice tips..Where else could I find article written in such incite full way. I love every bit of it especially the points that you expressed and I love to come back in a regular basis. So I hope to look forward to your informative blog post!!!

  4. Great tips, Leah! We find -and constantly hear from our customers -that a small promo. item goes a long way in creating a long lasting relationship. According, the number one item used is business card magnets -a cost effective, fun item that’ll literally stick around for the long run.

  5. A very good set of basic tips — just using these will get people ahead of the pack!

    Re: “Consult an exhibit or display expert”, feel free to take a look at our Tradeshow Tips page and Exhibiting Success blog for more in-depth hints — click on my name and I believe you will get there.