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Make Your Booth Stand Out at a Trade Show

14 July 2010 41 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

Deciding to do a trade show is a HUGE decision……big exposure and big bucks!  Everyone wants to make the most of it each time and come out on top for the huge effort you put into it.

I loved doing trade shows when I first started my handbag line.  I faithfully went to NYC 5 times a year for various accessory shows, schmoozed to the max, got lots of orders, stayed for a few extra days going to appointments my superstar PR sister set up for me with editors and went home exhausted ……..but happy!

Have you tried one yet? Thinking about it?   This is a great list of ideas from my Experts and ways to make the most of your booth and bring home the bacon!

1. Mail Them a Pineapple

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: People attending trade shows will often buzz through and then take off for the hotel pool. Get their attention before they ever arrive so that they seek YOU out. We had a client whose trade show theme was Hawaii. We packaged up pineapples in bags with their logo screened on it. We attached a funny little brochure about the "Ten Things to do with Your Pineapple" and mailed them off in advance of the show. They had NEVER before received so many visitors to their booth. The feedback was fantastic.
Thanks to: Jen sterling of Red Thinking.

2. Tips for Trade Show Booth

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. Great lighting. This could be repeated 5 times and make the list complete!
2. Don't put your table across the entry making people reluctant to pass by to enter your booth.
3. Have a sign announcing a "show special" on some item which is offered at a significant discount.
4. Have "New Item" signs on new products or "Best Seller" signs.
5. Now that you've attracted lookers, make certain your booth number on EVERY page of everything you hand out.
Thanks to: Marguerite Swope of Ivy Reed.

3. Social Networking For Booths

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: A super tip that drives traffic & builds connections at the same time: Create a scavenger hunt with several other vendors you know will be at the show. Make a map or "passport" that booth visitors to get stamped at each booth on the treasure map -- each person that submits a completed map (w/ contact info & short survey) gets into a drawing for an iPad. If you pick partners with target audiences are complimentary, but not direct competitors, your booth traffic will explode. Try it & see!

Thanks to: Kenny Jahng of Big Click Syndicate Marketing.

4. STAND OUT At A Trade Show

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Standing out at a trade show is paramount to the success one will achieve at a trade show. How can a business stand out and be re-coup it's investment? (1) Color & Chrome it BABY! Color and shiny things strategically placed can be a draw. (2) Good Guest Service! Always a plus..be on your toes...interaction is a MUST! (3) Pre-Show marketing...send flyers and invitations, make calls and meet people before you head into strange territory. (4) Cultivate and maintain good energy!
Thanks to: Mary Winkenwerder.

5. SELL SELL SELL at tradeshows

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: With 125 tradeshows and counting, I've honed presentations, stepped up branding, and increased sales with these tips:
1) Booth location. Select to avoid dead zones on the floor. 2) Booth back drop. Spend as much as you can to look as professional as possible. 3) Corner space. These can cost more but traffic increases. 4) No bags. If everyone sees your sold product in everyone's hands they'll want it because everyone has one. 5) Put your product in as many hands as possible. You'll sell more!
Thanks to: Spring Faussett of Tiger Tail USA.

6. What IS that??

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Trade shows are, by nature, huge, overwhelming and exhausting. For buyers, walking up and down aisles bathed in flourescent lighting, bleary-eyed ennui can easily set in. Their heads turn from side to side, glancing for a split second at each booth. What stops them? A clear message! So your signage better be front and center, the less words the better. Don't make them figure out what you are selling. If they can't figure it out in the time it takes to glance at your booth, they'll keep walking.
Thanks to: Kelly Lester of EasyLunchboxes.com.

7. Death by Table @ Shows

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Have an open booth, that means NO table across the front unless your 20 foot wide! Show booths need to be open and inviting so get rid of the barriers, such as tables across the front! Reserve this are for a fantastic interactive display they have to stop and see, or leave it OPEN! Second, get rid of chairs! If you have chairs or meeting tables, make them HIGH so others can see you and you them. Now you can sit, smile and still bring em in. Oh yes, even after 10 hours, SMILE, tough but necessary
Thanks to: Harlan Goerger of AskHG.com.

8. Position yourself in front.

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: The first thing we learned when going to shows was to push our table/set in back and position ourselves in front of our products with our products high on the table behind us. Often, you see people sitting in chairs behind their products. We never sit down and we always stay infront of the table/set. We showcase our aprons high on the table so everyone can see them behind us and from a distance. Also, keep your sign from overpowering your table. Save the room for your products!
Thanks to: Peg Mischler of TAYGA Cooking Aprons.

9. Catching Attention. 7 Tips...

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: First Impression is the last impression. You can catch their eye by:
1. Displaying prominently "A new innovative Product".
2. Old Product at Innovative Prices.
3. Highlighting uniqueness of your product.
4. Wide angel display. Buyer should catch details at one scan....art of decorating.
5. Having few items but significantly different from each other.
6. Avoiding over crowding- Trade fair is not a shop or showroom.
7. being personally attentive to answer any query.
Good Luck!
Thanks to: Naresh Vij of Kaveri Consultants, India.

10. Show Your Credentials

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Make it loud and clear who you are to show you are worth seeing.
Note any big recent and past media coverage.
Highlight the best things you are showcasing.
Highlight why they should choose you.
Let an expert tell them what to think.
Thanks to: Danny Wong of Custom Men's Dress Shirts | BL.

11. Mardi Gras!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: The inspiration for my Handcrafted Jewelry Boutique is Mardi Gras. The 5 things that make my booth stand out at a tradeshow are as follows: 1) the booth decor is festive like carnivale. 2) The Handcrafted Jewelry collection is unique and colorful to capture the eye 3) The event is promoted through email marketing, social media, and my personal blog, 4) A special promotion is offered, and 5)Customer Service with a smile.
Thanks to: LaNorma Huggins-Hopes of Signature Designs by LaNorma .

12. Attract kids--parents follow

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: These strategies worked well for a recent Baby and Kids expo:

Bring along a child-sized table and chairs.

Set a basket of Hershey's chocolate miniatures on it.

Set out a basket of crayons and some coloring pages.

Display books upright on clear plastic display stands.

Don't be afraid to step outside of the booth to greet people.
Thanks to: Jennifer Reich of The Mommy MD Guides.

13. Be Dynamic and Engage!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1) Personal Story. People relate to compelling stories. It could be yours as founder or one of your clients.

2) People. What makes your booth special is the dynamism of the people. Are they up and engaged, or sitting absorbed in their computer?

3) Words. If a word is important to your brand, post it up under your logo, in 6 inch letters.

4) Simplicity. Pick 1-3 points to communicate.

5) Self-demonstration. Let people take a demonstration, to experience your service firsthand!
Thanks to: Pamela Hawley of UniversalGiving.

14. Trade Show Display Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: -Signage is key to attracting attention & drawing people in. Make sure the lettering is clear & printed in red, black or blue (avoid yellow, brown or orange)
-Mirrors always catch people's eyes...everyone likes to check out their own reflection!
-A raffle jar or bucket with the offer of winning a prize will capture people's attention (& their email address!)
-Bright carpeting at entrance of booth
-Large, attractive images of your products
Thanks to: Ann Marie Popko of Ann Marie Popko.

15. KISS - The Old Saying IS True

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Keep It Simple******! Our Creative Director compared numerous booths at Intn'l Toy Fair and determined what stood out consistently were certain characteristics. Bright Colors, Simple Design, Eliminate Clutter, Eliminate the "Must put everything we do" on the banners.

Let your design attract people to your booth and then you can sell them on your concept. No Shelves of Product.I am proud to offer pics of our booth design for anyone interested 8X18' for under $4,000 and sets up in 10 minutes.
Thanks to: Carl Restivo of Innovative Toys, Inc..

16. Booth Design to Attract Sales!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Four years ago, as a new author and a first-time vendor, I was excited. However, my excitement soon diminished as did sales. A marketing expert with design talent, suggested:
1. Place books in a spiral stack to catch attention
2. Purchase a PopUpStand.com with my logo & company info
3. Obtain plastic business card, book & flyer holders to stand upright (book goes on top of spiral stack)
4. Create professional takeaways
5. Have "Call Me" sheet to follow-up

Sales have since soared!
Thanks to: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale, LLC.

17. Best Booth...ALWAYS!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Want to attract the most show goers? Get only qualified leads? SIMPLE! Education! Set up a speaker system. Have a 6 min educational presentation every 20 mins on the hour. DO NOT SELL educate. Tell them something they NEED to know before doing business with you. Give tickets for “the next show”. The people who stay and listen to your talk can enter a draw and you let them know that you WILL CALL THEM. The “draw” form is a survey they must fill out. Only the SERIOUS will do ALL that.
Thanks to: Barbilee Hemmings of Are You For Real?.

18. Do Unexpected Well

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. staff wears a uniform look: white shirts + black pants + printed name tags
2. cost effective give aways: custom printed water bottles + snacks
3. unexpected stylish touches: fresh flowers add a natural element
4. offer calm booth design: use soothing spa colors for backdrops and simple modern fonts in darker colors to contrast
5. banners with clear signage: state your irresistible offer for a bundle of your goods/services at a sale price available only for the show's duration
Thanks to: Cassandra Russell of Creativity Prescriptions ~ Coaching.

19. Location, Location, Location

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: My 5 Tips to stand out at a tradeshow

1. Location - Put my booth in an area that has a lot of foot traffic. Most people are right handed they will go to the right side of venue first. Best place to put your booth.
2. Bright color banners on the booth. People respond to color.
3. Bright Balloons - children will pull their parents to the booth.
4. Laptop with video, people will stop to watch a video - Short commercials or teasers.
5. Give Aways, people love free stuff.
Thanks to: Derrick M. Guest of Griot's Roll Film Production.

20. Stand up and Stand out!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. One of the most important things you can do at a trade show is stand in front of your table and not sit behind it! Greet people who are walking by with a small and hand them a brochure.
2. Use a colored table cloth that matches your "business colors"
3. Don't have to much clutter on your table
4. Use stand up props, so everything is not laying flat on your table
5. Have high quality candy and samples that are different maybe rulers, sticky note pads, notebooks, or coffee mugs
Thanks to: Michelle Dunn of Michelle Dunn, columnist, author.

21. Travel in Groups

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: People are attracted to booths that already have people in them, so hire a couple of friends for the day to stop by your booth and look engaged in your products or service. Ask other booth members to pay you a visit during their breaks. It's amazing how warm bodies will attract more warm bodies!
Thanks to: Carolyn Goodwin of Cake Communications.

22. Have fun!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Tradeshows allow us to interact with our customers; promote new products; network with colleagues; get the latest updates on industry trends & stay on top of our competition. So how do you stand out at a tradeshow...creative contests! Attendees remember fun events, so promote a putting contest or a wheel of chance that allows your attendees to have fun & win a prize. Give away practical prizes that promote your company’s name, website & phone # and these prizes will keep you top of mind.
Thanks to: Joel Rudy of Photographic Solutions, Inc. .

23. Keep it simple.

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: We focus on one main message or theme, and create our booth display and collateral around that. If you can’t be clear or you say too much about your company, you’ll have trouble selling your product or service to your customers. Pick a compact and cohesive sales and marketing strategy and communicate it through your booth design, printed materials, sales pitch; everything. Oh, and put out some fresh flowers; they look great.

Thanks to: Caryn Paradis of Roundhouse Design Collaborative.

24. Go for a Wider Booth

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Most trade shows price booths by the square foot, and usually in a 10x10 or 9x10 ft. dimension. However sometimes one can get a wider, but not so deep a booth, there might a structural column taking up some space, for the same price.

Why this is desirable? When buyers are walking down the aisles, they tend to look one way, take 3 or 4 steps and then turn to look the other way. They are almost always past the booth that was across the aisle from the first booth.
Thanks to: Andy Mathis of Andy Mathis Art Co..

25. Attract the Crows

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: As a travel consultant, I do a lot of booths and in my former life as a hand bag designer too. 1) Always wear a sporty looking hat--even people who would never wear a cute hat like it if you do. 2) Get a crowd of your friends to walk around with your giveaway bag, a matching hat if possible, and a shirt with your logo on it. 3) Get people you know to stand in your booth and look interested 4) Have scrapbooks with real people using your stuff 5) Smile until your teeth hurt!
Thanks to: Sandy Wheeler of Sandy Wheeler Travel Specialties.

26. Stand out at a trade show!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Of course you need a beautifully designed booth that is uncluttered, well-merchandised & shows off your products to their best advantage. But what really makes a booth stand out is the attitude of the personnel - customer service is everything! Don't stand around with arms crossed - it looks closed off and unwelcoming. Uncross your arms, look relaxed and happy - and come up with a genuine smile. Believe me, it goes a long way. Another thing is - don't eat in the booth! It's totally off-putting.
Thanks to: Lizzy Shaw of Lizzy Shaw Public Relations.

27. Tool Box for Tradeshows

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: I once was a Trade Show Junkie! After each show I would make a list of items that I didn't have and items that I took that I didn't need. So here are my tips:
1. Small Tool box with duct tape, masking tape, a Leatherman, small hammer, bottle of advill, a needle & thread, band-aids and breath mints!
2. Enough Business cards for all staff manning the booth
3. Divide give aways into daily batches
4. Write down on the back of BCs something about the person that you will remember them by.
Thanks to: Shari Wright Pilo of The Friendship Stone.

28. We work all the angles

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: We work all the angles, new product and unique packaging,a new booth design for each season, but retaining a flavor of last season's booth in order for our existing customers to recognize us. The new flair, is for attracting new customers and we work in the 'who, what, why and how' scenario when attempting to meet this criteria. Are we trying to attract a new demographic? Yes! Large format black and white photographs, to catch the eye of the ever fleeting buyer.
And it works.
Thanks to: michel stong of Clay Company.

29. Making B2B Software Exciting

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1) Eliminate the "us vs. them" set up at most trade show booths. Nobody wants to be separated from the person they're talking to by a table.
2) Make your booth a place people want to hang out: decor matters
3) Wear fun costumes! No more lame branded t-shirts and hats
4) Take off your salesperson hat. Ask for a business card and you can make your sales pitch later.
5) Cool swag: screen cleaners, lip balm, something useful. Paper handouts will get tossed.
Thanks to: Meg Sinclair of Syncapse.

30. Bring the Other Vendors To You

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Our goal is to get all the other booth owners to visit us. Before the show we print postcards that say, "You'll be shaking a ton of hands today. Go back to your office with a lot of leads, but not a cold. Stop by the ResuMAYDAY booth and get a free bottle of hand sanitizer!"

We always get a great response, and their contact information is collected for follow-up. This extra stream of potential clients keep us so busy that we rarely get a chance to walk around to the other booths ourselves!
Thanks to: Lauren Milligan of ResuMAYDAY.

31. Smile with Purpose

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Your trade show booth doesn't have to be large and elaborate, it still be successful by following a few simple rules. Know your purpose and have specific goals. Keep the space open instead of blocking it off with a table, this keeps people from wanting to enter. Do not sit in a chair all day, stand at the front of the space and greet those that come by with a smile. Banners are great to get alot of information in a small space but use the lights, it makes everything stand out.
Thanks to: Kay Wade Wade of Closet Factory.

32. Magical Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Have a live entertainer who is an expert at gathering large crowds at your booth
Make sure that the key 3 - 5 marketing and sales slogans that separate your company / product are incorporated into the live entertainment.
Make sure that the entertainers / show qualifies leads throughout the show and tells them who the proper contacts are in your booth to follow up with
Part of the presentation should include a high energy and fun section where the attendees share their informatio
Thanks to: Paul Draper of Paul Draper's Mental Mysteries.

33. Invoke the Five Senses

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1) Select your exhibit booth early so that you can have one of the more prominent places on the trade show floor. Consider a corner booth near the entrance and exits. 2) Make sure your trade show booth is designed with clean, simple and bold elements that will draw one's attention. 3) Incorporate a scent machine that not only brands your product and services, but one that will attract attendees. 4) Make it interactive and experiential. 5) Be proactive and wrangle attendees to your booth.

Thanks to: Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions.

34. Make it easy to stop

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. Extra chairs. Conference attendees walk around all day. Provide a place to relax and the attendees will appreciate it & stop

2. Easy to read signs ith catch phrases. Even on plain poster board, people will stop to read it - giving you time to chat

3. Do homework. Send out letters before hand to attendees and call them. Build relationships before you walk in the door

4. Have fun. Have a good time and be attentive to those you are speaking to - others notice it and stop.
Thanks to: Matt Bruno of Payment Logistics.

35. Tradeshow Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: * Stand in front of the table, engage people - smile, exude lots of energy
* Give something away - eg a pen with your company's name & website
* People love videos - great when you are away from your booth
* Create a game or a demonstration about something even if it has nothing to do with your company - eg a ball maze - people love to watch the balls go through the maze. It creates "buzz".
* Create fun and energy around your booth - a mascot, a clown, give away great fake tattoos,etc
Thanks to: Lorraine Arams of Wize Time Management.

36. Tempting Treats

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Most show attendees have been sitting in seminars prior to their arrival on the show floor. Offer a selection of sweet or salty treats to get their energy going.

Make your selections self- serve, with small to-go bags. This way attendees have to stop and engage with a company representative while they are scooping up their favorite treats. Enjoy!

Thanks to: Jeanette Elliott of Ooyala.

37. Your Company In One Blink

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: The top of your booth signage should have your company name and the handful of words someone would type into a search engine to find your products.

Attendees are dodging the crowds and trying to give your signage at least one blink. At the next trade show go to all the other booths and at each, blink your eyes open and then closed. Ask yourself if you have a clue what each company is selling.

Finally blink at your booth. You will know if your signage is pointless or on target.
Thanks to: Kee Nethery of Kagi.

38. Terrific Tips for Trade Shows

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1.Make a lighted sign. Drill holes in a board and insert Christmas lights from the back. "Write" your name with lights. Flashing lights grab attention.
2.Hand outs (candy) are a great ice breaker and conversation starter. Put name/ phone# on them.
3.Drawings are a great way to collect contact info for future sales.
4.Demonstrate your product. People will stop to watch and ask questions.
5.DO NOT sit back. Stand up front so you will appear approachable. SMILE, be friendly, and have FUN.
Thanks to: SuZann Lund of Miche Bag of South East Idaho.

39. Unique Booth Drawing Item

Tradeshow Booth Secrets:  Offer “sugar free” candy. Or opt for anything healthy, individually wrapped.
 NEVER point with ONE finger-ALWAYS use at least two fingers (held together) or all fingers (like an open hand). One finger pointing is very offensive to some cultures.
 Make points with parents, be certain to acknowledge their child. Get down on their level, don’t stand towering over them.
 Research the demographics of the “expected” attendees; disabilities, cultures, and prepare for them.
Thanks to: Shirley Green of Personal Records Organizer, LLC.

40. Capture Qualified Leads

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: The trade shows we do have scanners available for a $250 fee. We ask permission to scan the bar code on the badge of each interested prospect. We also code the product(s) in which the person is interested. An Excel spreadsheet is e-mailed to us with complete contact information and interests of all qualified prospects. The scanner is much faster and easier than getting business cards (if available) and making written notes. Just one extra sale more than covers the scanner fee!
Thanks to: Chuck McCabe of The Income Tax School.

41. My BEST Tradeshow Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: These ALWAYS work for me:

1) A bright, colorful poster.
2) Product review, promotional literature.
3) Sample pages, sample product.
4) Giveaway bowl where you collect business cards
5) Interactive demos.

Thanks to: Eugenia Francis of TeaCHildMath.

42. Bring them into your world

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: (1) Break the grid. Lay out your booth on an angle. (2) Say one thing and say it well. Eliminate everything in your booth that does not present the same simple message -- that includes posters, people and products. (3) Give 'em a seat. We like to offer bar stools and a counter. (4) Ask a leading question -- unexpectedly start a conversation. (5) Lose the clutter. These poor attendees are visually exhausted. Give them an island of calm - they'll thank you!
Thanks to: Tim Heitzman of VOXUS PR.

43. Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Invite Influencers and Press to Your Booth for Special Previews - Don't brief people over the whole show in the press room alone, invite them to an announcement at a known peak time early on the first day. Everyone will wonder what all these important people were doing there!

Never Leave Your Booth Unattended - Sounds obvious, but you wouldn't believe how often I see an empty booth at the show hours before the closing of the expo hall for a day. Nothing looks worse than an empty booth!
Thanks to: David Dalka of Dalka Business Strategy Consulting .

44. Too tall to ignore!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Hire a professional stilt performer! Their first goal is to stop traffic! Nothing does that better than a nine foot stilt performer! Your second goal is to keep traffic moving . . . can't block the aisle! Give them one or two qualifying questions to ask, and after stopping traffic, they can direct folks to the experts in your booth. The rest of the folks will continue on their way. Use a theme to get your message. "Thrive, not just survive" works well. Use Survivor costuming and props.
Thanks to: Bill Coleman of Bill Coleman Entertainment.

45. Top Three Tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Let them play! Offering a game always draws a crowd. Proven ideas include: Wii consoles, hole-in-one golf contests and scavenger hunts.

Eat, drink and be merry! Offering refreshments is a welcome reprieve for walking-weary attendees. You never know who might stop in for a cup of coffee.

Get the word out! Pre-show e-mails can result in high quality visitors - especially when the messaging can pique the curiosity of prospects about what they will experience in your booth.
Thanks to: Tami Bentz of Tecore Networks.


Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 5) Go green! It may be cliche, but attendees & organizers notice if you are ecologically conscience. 4) Keep clutter to a minimum & do not over pack the booth with items & staff. 3) A smile goes a long way! Friendly & informative booth staff are inviting & make a lasting impression. 2) Being able to interact & physically see or work with products & services are always a crowd pleaser. 1) Conduct preshow/event buzz with direct & indirect marketing efforts to help drive traffic & peak interest
Thanks to: Brian Lew of Inline Connection, Inc..

47. Woo the Senses

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Woo your prospects with an an assault on the senses. Emotion - set a scene to say who you are without saying a word. Keep it simple, lead with your core truth/strength with bold graphics. Don't forget music and lighting to set the mood and flooring will make you stand apart from the rest. Fun - everyone loves to play, use a game and offer prizes to capture leads. Motion - use video or projected PowerPoint to attract attention. Smell & Taste - nothing better than popcorn popping to draw a crowd.
Thanks to: Jeanne Frazer of vitalink & marketing author speaker.

48. Experientialize your booth

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Use experiential marketing to bring a booth and its products to life. Lighting, music, graphics are inviting, but the products you sell need to be presented in experiential ways too.

Leverage technology that lets prospects interact with features they want. Interactive 3D, for example, lets customers rotate, zoom, see internal mechanics, even learn of product maintenance.

With experiential efforts, a sales process is turned from a passive one, to an active, dynamic one at the booth.

Thanks to: Dana Drissel of Kaon Interactive.

49. Tradeshows, easier than dating

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Look good. Like your momma always said, first impressions are crucial. Your booth must not only stand out, but also present your company in a professional, distinctive way. It needs to stand out for the right reasons. You don’t want your booth to be voted worst dressed.

Flirt. Don’t give it all away up front. Lure your clients to your booth with just enough information to get them to come to you. If your booth says it all, you lose the opportunity to sell on a personal level.
Thanks to: Augustine Bille of THE ENGINE IS RED.

50. Relationships RULE!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: • Meet the person running the exhibit hall and ask if there is anything you can do to help them.
• Make sure you meet and look at the booths of those who are not in competition with you.
• Don’t close down early, unless there is absolutely nobody there!
• Connect your product with the geographical area the participants are coming from.
• Giveaway something weird or worthy! Give away a dinner with the President, an alligator or a trip!

Thanks to: Brian Brandt of Summit Solution Group.

51. Tradeshow 101

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. Place out going people in heavy traffic areas.
2. Have unique giveaways but also have vaulable drawings for trendy items (our latest trade show we had a drawing for an iPad).
3. Have a stategic plan. Our main goal is to capture attendess contact info. We want to do more than hand out our info.
4. Quality over quantity. While traffic is important, most attendees are not interested in your product. It's vital to seperate quality leads.
5. Fill your booth with experts who know their stuff.
Thanks to: Marcus Elwell of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

52. Engage with Touch Screens

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: A well placed and designed touch screen with great content can be used as a tool for your sales team to demonstrate, highlight product features, provide technical information and more. The intuitive technology amazes the attendees, drawing them further into the booth, and encourages them to learn more. If you can't afford to buy, some places offer rentals. Showing a movie/powerpoint isn't enough anymore. Why watch a looping sales pitch when you can pick and choose what you want to learn about?
Thanks to: Natalie Miller of Spyeglass.

53. Promotions with Big Impact

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Top Trade Show Promotions:
1. A financial institution used a carpenter to craft a guitar. People returned to check his progress.
2. A truck rack manufacturer sponsored the World's Strongest Man competition to show the rack's strength. We had demo's and the crowd loved it.
3. Bake cookies - the scent will carry 4 aisles away.
4. Break through email noise by using SendOutCards to personalize invitations to your booth.
5. Set up a counter where you serve food so that prospects sit down.
Thanks to: Roberta Cohen of Vector Expo Group.

54. Easy, Eye-Catching and Fun!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1.Think outside the box. Find an aesthetic that represents you & articulate it through design
2.If hiring a designer isn’t an option, friends & fam are a great resource for ideas
3.Utilize color in a unique way. My palette is warm, but I call attention by throwing in unexpected accents
4.Fresh flowers make your space feel more luxurious. Buy at the flower district and arrange yourself
3. Use items that are easy to break down & you can still have a fantastic looking booth sans headache!
Thanks to: Monique Malkowski of Silent Gypsy Jewelry.

55. Big Details Matter

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: After making lots of rookie mistakes, I wrote down my lessons learned. I review the list prior to trade events since it is easy to forget. 1.Wear a name tag: people like knowing who you are, especially if you are the inventor. 2.Have shopping bags available for any on the spot purchases. 3.Provide a fun promotional item (include your website information). 4.Make sure your prices are easy to find. 5.Posters and pictures should be super-sized so people can actually see them in a large hall.
Thanks to: Veronica Mayo of Vemayca Cosmetic Bags.

56. Stop Traffic!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: A trade booth is like a billboard or stop sign. You’ll have less than 5 seconds to grab a prospect's attention. Use minimal text--under 20 words). Use males and females; ensure staff is well versed in selling points. Avoid sitting and eating. Offer an incentive such as a raffle to increase traffic and build a database. Use only well-branded giveaways. What Smarti did: 1) Limited text/quick booth takeaway; 2) Engaging personnel; 3) Branded pocket giveaway 4) Beer keg; 5) Superhero character
Thanks to: Michele Harris of Smarti Solutions.

57. 5 trade show booth tips

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Tips for a successful trade show booth
1. Messaging –Attendees are bombarded by messages at a show, limit the messages given at your booth.
2. Interactive –Have something for people to do, touch, smell or even taste.
3. Movement –Feature a presentation or demo on a wide-screen.
4. Lighting –Creative illumination creatively to attract visitors to your booth.
5. Color – Use splashes of coordinated colors to create a professional eye-catching look.
Thanks to: Andrea Pickett of i4 Marketing.

58. ROI is More Than Booth Bunnies

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: There are 5 steps to seeing ROI on the expensive tradeshow floor real estate you just purchased:

1. Tout Your Services- your signage should communicate the services you offer
2. Have an Educated Greeter- make eye contact & schedule meetings
3. Provide Meeting Space- sit down and conduct business meetings at your booth
4. Add Credibility- Show recent positive media coverage your company has received
5. Collect Business Cards- Make detailed notes, get a follow up meeting on the calendar!
Thanks to: Lindsey Carnett of Marketing Maven Public Relations.

59. brand thy booth!

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 5 tips so tradeshows translate to sales:
1)from booth imagery to giveaways, ensure booth presence is consistent with your website so customers immediately recognize the brand.
2)match your energy to the target audience. fitness industry? be alive! corporate clients? go professional.
3)give creative, yet useful giveaways that have a lasting impression.[body tape measure]
4)provide valuable offer to draw people in.[free personal trainer assessment]
5)never underestimate the power of a smile!
Thanks to: angela manzanares of fitlosophy, inc..

60. Tradeshow Managers' Advice

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: Have an ice sculpture made at your booth. Network and interact with the crowd that gathers to watch.

Give a sapling or seed packet. The growing plant will always provide the memory and link to the exhibitor.

Visit other areas of the exhibit floor. Attend sessions and get involved.

Identify who your ideal prospect is before attending the conference, review the attendee list, and then be proactive in pursuing them.

Raffles, contests, and bright colors attract foot traffic.
Thanks to: Tradeshow Department Tradeshow Department of Association Headquarters, Inc..

61. B to B Trade Show Secrets

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. Raffle: Everyone likes free stuff and they won’t mind stopping by and dropping off a business card
2. Visuals: Fancy booth or not, effectively placed colorful visuals help you stand out
3. Freebees: Cool giveaways create buzz during an event, but functional ones make you memorable even after the trade show
4. Less is more: Bring only the most essential collateral
5. Pre-show: Find the trade show’s social media vehicles (linkedin group/blog) and become an active participant
Thanks to: Jennifer Wang of futurethink.

62. Openess Has - A Big impact !

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: eSutras Organics belives in simplicity in presentation at every level. Make your booth a 'sanctuary' at the trade show, with an open feel. People remember it when surrounded by activity. I always keep things to an absolute minimum..inside my booth, but have a nice banners, info material and a nice layout samples for trial and takeaway. In addition depending on the season I have FREE unique drinks (cold coffee, herbal tea etc) available. They linger at the booth and talk about it to others...!
Thanks to: Aisha Bauer of eSutras Organics.

63. Exhibit Consultant

Tradeshow Booth Secrets: 1. Think "Billboard" -- fast, positive, simple impression
2. Use lighting -- provides focus, delivers "drama"
3. Floor standing displays dominate table top displays
4. No chais/no sitting -- be ready to greet each attendee
5. Smile! Look and sound like you are eager to meet attendees
Thanks to: Mary Jean Young of Nutmeg Exhibit Co., Inc..



  • Lorraine Arams said:

    Very good compilation of tips for anyone attending tradeshows – so many great ideas here!

  • Heather Allard said:

    These are fantastic tips!

    My former sales rep always had a bowl of CANDY at trade shows that buyers just could NOT resist. :D

    Simple, but effective.

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

  • grace wieber said:

    Wow, wow and wow ~ What an incredible resource of powerhouse ideas. Thank you one and all for your contributions. Special thanks to you, Sarah, for this special compilation. ~ Gracie

  • alissa said:

    I enjoyed reading these ideas! I have the NYIGF coming up and can’t wait to re-read this list and use what I can! ~Alissa

  • Ben Luck said:

    BY FAR the best draw we ever had at a trade show booth was the CHAP handwriting analysis program by Graphologyconsulting.com. People had to write about 35 words that contained the core message of the product (it was a pharmaceutical for Pfizer) and that message was analyzed by a graphologist assisted by computer and gotten back to the potential customer within a few moments. It was a three-to-five page report on that person (in this case mostly doctors) and it was awesome. The booth did record business and detailing was doubled: the writing of the corfe message was self-detailing, and the reps got two shots at potential customers, when they came to give a sample and when they came to pick up the report. The report was so accurate that people were ecstatic, and that’s not too strong a word. If you have a booth that needs a lot of people to come through to make it work, give graphologyconsulting.com a look. Ben Luck

  • EC (Lisa) Stewart said:

    These are all great tips. One that I remember is that because everyone is so tired walking, they want someplace to stand comfortably. So, we installed the jigsaw rubber mats to keep them hanging around to ease them into conversation and demonstrations.


  • Malorie said:

    WOW!!! i didnt think the tips would come to an end!! loved every single one! thanks!

  • Jay said:

    Nice site & I love the pineapple.
    Even your advertisers with the little circle pop up add is a nice touch, allows one to click out without any BS.
    I am very impressed…
    Thanks, Jay

  • Shawn said:

    Great post!! Thanks for compiling and sharing!

  • Paige said:

    This was sent to me by my PR, so impressed with all of the insightful tips! Rearranged my booth design a bit after this. Thanks Sarah!!

  • Patriot Tax Solutions Inc. said:

    So many beautiful Ideas. I can really use them when I am on a trade show. Thank You So Much!Especially mail the pineapple it is brilliant!

  • Moses Muriithi said:

    Great tips and generously given.
    Due to participate in my second homes expo in Kenya.
    Will use these tips to train my team.
    I am sure to blow the attendants socks off!
    Thanx.Moses.C.E.O. Proxima Properties LImited

  • Angela Boschee said:

    Great article! Thank you so much! If you have a newsletter please sign me up ;)

  • Reuel Smith said:

    Awesome article! There are so many tips and tricks that will be helpful the next trade show I do for ThunderKid! I especially love the notion of opening up your booth, it makes so much sense! In conventions past I had it set up with a table dividing me from the customer. I even had a tiny hut of a shelter table at one time! It makes sense now that opening things up will make the people feel welcome! I wish that artist alley table staff would realize though that they are limiting their buyers by only giving them a table. I’ll definitely think twice before buying a simple table again. Thanks for sharing all of this!

    -Reuel Smith

  • Christina said:

    Great info! I’m going to be a vendor at a local pet event. Lots of great tips!!

  • Shawnee said:

    Very good site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?

    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:


    Be sure to stay tuned for an announcement coming from me about this very topic


  • Zeynep said:

    I love these ideas!

    Read through each and every experts tips!

    I especially love the pineapple idea and plan to use that next week to get grab some attention for our upcoming tradeshow attendance! I also love that ice sculptor idea, I wonder if I can find one.

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  • steven said:

    I have started giving out usbs and it has been well worth it. I use http://www.galleonusb.com as they are the cheapest I have seen as I am not a tech guy their website is easy to navigate and easy to order

  • Linda Barnby said:

    I searched all over the internet for tips like these! Thanks so much for collecting them all in one place – and from a variety of experienced exhibitors too! I have my first big convention in a month. I’ll be using these tips!

    Linda Barnby

  • http://www.dailymotion.com/ said:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.

    I am quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

  • Amin Karimi said:

    It is a great collection of ideas, I've just joint a company as an intern and they've asked me to prepare some ideas for their next trade exhibition in 2014. I have enough ideas to impress them and credit goes to you all putting these available. I love the tag name idea and you don't get to see many of them in exhibitions now adays and it is true that people like to know who they talk to and I personally prefer people calling by their names and majority of people here might share the same idea.

    Thanks :)

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  • Rick B said:

    I'm a little late to the draw here, but this is a great list of tips. Thanks for putting these together! 

  • Angeli Yuson said:

    Excellent compilation and very useful tips. My company is doing our first show in Australia at the Fitness Show and we will utilise the tips listed here.

    Thanks for great article

  • Michael Kimbley said:

    Great article, for real! I agree with you that good things happen to those who work and know how to advertise their product very well. For me, maybe the best way to advertise is by using Exhibition displays and banner stands(and things like them). I searched a lot about this kind of stuff and I finally found very good site. It is http://www.vividads.com.au/ and it has some great things and quality works! Strongly recommend it!

  • Jessica Anderson said:

    Great job with presenting useful information about booths.  This is a big help!  Something that we've run into as a startup company is that booth visitors expect giveaways.  A $1 koozie is not expensive but when we're passing them out by the hundreds it gets expensive, quickly.  Any suggestions for how to market our company effectively, get our name out but keep the expenses under control? 

  • Jules Sowder said:

    What an excellent list of creative and innovative ideas for trade show marketing and sales.  Plus, this list offers tips that accommodates different sized budgets. 

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  • Mira Displays said:

    Thanks to share with us this innovative ideas for trade show marketing. This list is really helpfull. Thanks once again.

  • Domonique said:

    This is very insightful! Thank you for posting. 

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  • Stacy Singh said:

    How wonderful it was to run across this! Thank you everyone for your input.

  • Gia Tedeman said:

    Wow, great tips ! My first show is coming up and i'm very exited. 

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