9 Tips for Running a Successful Trade Show Booth

Packing up your truck and driving to the trade show should involve as much planning and preparation as possible. After all, you’re going there to promote your product and stand out from the hundreds of other companies whose sole purpose is to outshine you. But the trade show isn’t just about attracting potential customers — it’s also about establishing a relationship with them and collecting data regarding how well your product may do in the market.

With that said, here are nine tips to consider when setting up your trade show booth. Following these could mean the difference between failing and succeeding.

Try to Get a Booth Close to the Main Walkway

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Image via Flickr by Incase.

Showing up at the trade show without a plan in place can lead to regrettable results, so it’s important to make sure you prepare beforehand. When choosing a spot on the trade show floor (or reserving one), try to get a booth as close to the main walkway as possible (if not on it). As obvious as it sounds, many people who devote their time and energy to attending these trade shows to promote their product often forget that more people walking by their booth means increased odds of them stopping at it.

Focus on the Quality of Your Display

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Image via Flickr by Pop Culture Geek

A great way to start building a strong and practical layout is to use grids, making it easier for people to view your display. This will ensure that your display design is neat and organized. If possible, consider having a white Masonite floor as opposed to carpeting. This will help reflect light on your merchandise, allowing you to showcase your products and providing you with a clear advantage. Additionally, remember to place your logo in a recognizable spot (preferably high) and that it’s large enough to see.

Use Social Media to Spread the News

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Image via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Whether it’s providing updates during the trade show or inviting existing clients to it, using social media to your advantage is essential in spreading awareness about your brand and product. Trade shows are the perfect time to introduce new products and services, which will encourage your target audience to attend the show if they know about it. Also, it never hurts to have a crowd around your booth that attracts more people out of curiosity. The more people who know about your booth, the better.

Showcase Your New Stuff

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Image via Flickr by Tilemahos Efhimiadis

Speaking of new products and services; showcasing something new and fresh to existing or potential customers at a trade show is an easy to succeed. Although trade shows aren’t exactly the best way to launch your new product or service (because of the timing), there are ways to use the opportunity to your advantage. Whether it’s promoting a product you’ve never featured or unveiling a new prototype, gauge the timing of the trade show and how it’ll impact your presentation.

Don’t Restrict Prying Customers

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Image via Flickr by Dell’s Official Flickr Page

Customers who attend a trade show are like kids at a candy store; they want to touch everything. If you have models of the product you’re promoting on display, let your customers pick them up and play around with them. Also, keep your booth clean so customers can focus on what’s important – your product. Having a cluttered booth or placing restrictions on customers and how they handle your product is a sure way to push them away.

Practice Your Customer Service Skills

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Image via Flickr by laerte

While you may think that graphics and colorful displays are the thing people who visit your booth will remember most about it, it’s not. How you greet your potential customers and interact with them is more important than anything else. After all, you’re the direct representative of your product.

If people can’t seem to like you after their first impression, then chances are they won’t stick around to see how well your product stacks up against the rest. It’s important for you to smile, interact pleasantly with every customer, and know everything possible about your product so you can answer any questions they may have about it.

Give Away Free Swag

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Image via Flickr by Philip Taylor PT

Whether it’s stress balls or logo pens, it’s important to create a game or gimmick that gets people talking about your booth and attracts them to it. When choosing the product you want to give away for free, think about its use and where it’ll end up. Giving away free stuff that customers will keep means that it’ll leave an impression every time they pick it up and use it. Remember that the free products have your company name, address, phone number, and website link on them.

Don’t Pack Until Everyone Has Left the Building

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Image via Flickr by 8one6

As the trade show winds down, you’ll notice that the crowds have dispersed and the energy that was once there is now gone. You may even start to pack your booth up and begin to run for the exit yourself. As tempting as this may sound, it’s a mistake that could cost you a potential client or customer.

The serious trade show attendees tend to stick around to the end, which means they want more time to talk with you about your product. Stay energized and engaged, showing anyone that’s left in the building that you’re committed to the trade show, their business, and your product.

Collect and Analyze Data

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Image via Flickr by katerha

Technology has made it easier than ever to collect contact information from everyone that has visited your trade show booth. Additionally, you can take personal notes during the trade show and keep them for future examination. Once the trade show is over, you’ve packed up, and headed back to your offices, analyze all the information you’ve collected and find a way to use it to your advantage. Whether that means following up with your potential clients and customers or making your product better.

Booking a booth at a trade show and attending it is easy. But succeeding at interacting with customers and promoting your product is the real trick. Keep these tips in mind when striving to do so.  

Author Bio
Author Jane is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything from tech to mommy stuff. She is featured in many blogs as a guest writer, and can write with authority on any niche or subject.

This is a guest post.

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About Shawn Hartley

Creative technologist by day. Bowling instructor at night. VP at Corporate 3 Design in Omaha. Proud father and husband.

  • Laura

    All great tips. Another tip is to consider hiring a corporate magician or other talent to draw qualified leads to your booth and keep them there long enough to engage with you (e.g., I work with AlexanderMagic in Las Vegas).

  • Kelly Rogers

    Don’t restrict customers? Haha! Some staff don’t know about this. I think some of the products are “for your eyes only” and not to be touched. Too bad. They should know that some booth visitors would order now if they like the product. Oh well.