September 14, 2017 – One of the most nerve-racking experiences for any company and its higher-level employees is attending a trade show for the first time. It’s a huge undertaking, the costs are substantial, and there are a lot of things which could potentially go wrong.
So we wanted to make a quick guide covering the basics!
We’ll go ahead and assume you already have a specific trade show in mind. If you’re still choosing between shows, we’ve covered that in another blog about how to pick the right trade show.
Creating a Great Trade Show Booth, Step By Step
- Research the show and its audience.
Like any form of marketing outreach, a trade show booth should be as well-targeted as possible. This is true even within a niche market. For example, when we worked with Nikon at Profusion 2016, we knew they were at a show that would have a lot of buyers, so we helped them integrate a large sales display straight into the booth.
On the other hand, Xinbeir Inc. was less concerned with direct sales and more focused on announcing their presence. So we helped them make a more eye-catching and informational booth.
Aligning your goals with the audience expected at the trade show will make success a lot easier to achieve.
- Read your exhibitors contract\manual.
We’ve mentioned this before, so we won’t belabor the point but… always read the manual. There is no quicker and easier way to mess up a trade show appearance than to break the rules lay down by the exhibition space.
- Get help with the design.
Unless you truly have design experts in-house, you’re not going to want to totally “DIY” your booth design. You can pretty much always tell the difference between an amateur design and one created by professionals. A good trade show booth design company can work with you, taking your ideas, sketches, and layout ideas and turning them into something truly special.
- Customize your booth.
These goes along with the basic design, but always remember that one of the most important aspects of a trade show display is standing out from the crowd. A seemingly-generic booth will go overlooked and unvisited. Customize your booth, add extra appeal, do whatever you can to make it interesting and inviting.
- Train and practice with the employees who will be attending.
Another common mistake is thinking their sales staff can just “wing it” in a trade show environment. Old hands might be able to, but staff that is experiencing their first show is likely to get overwhelmed. Build plenty of practice and training into your schedule leading up to the event, with lots of role-playing and other activities aimed at improving their impromptu face-to-face skills.
It’s not a good idea to have your staff memorize scripts. They need to be able to think on their feet (while literally being on their feet all day) and that’s a skill which requires practice.
- Set up logistics and other services ASAP.
Never wait to the last minute when hiring movers, reserving hotel rooms, and dealing with other logistical matters. Getting them set up early will save you a lot of headaches, and potentially save you quite a bit of money too. Remember, reservations will start filling up quickly when there’s a big show in town.
Or, look for an all-in-one trade show service that can handle all those details on your behalf! They can often get you some good deals.
- Promote early, promote often.
Drawing attention to yourself doesn’t just happen at the show, it happens before the show as well. Be sure to make plenty of announcements of your upcoming trade show appearance. These should go out to all your regular customers, all your (qualified) leads, and onto your social media as well. Make it sound fun and exciting. Make people want to go visit.
You might even think about offering small rewards for those who RSVP, to encourage attendance.
- Make connections before, during, and after.
Very often, the real value in a trade show appearance isn’t in sales made at the show or even leads cultivated – it’s in the industry contacts you make. Always look for opportunities to make new connections, shake new hands, and increase overall awareness of yourself and your company.
Best Displays Can Make Your Trade Show Dreams a Reality
We are a turnkey service, capable of handling all the details of your appearance from booth design to logistics. Contact us today for a consultation!