The right trade show booth can catapult your business with a single activation. There are a myriad of factors that affect where or not that happens. A lot of pitfalls can be avoided to help reach your goals prior to hitting the trade show floor. Here’s how to make your booth stand out and convert potential clients.
Make sure your branding is consistent before you do anything booth-related
Before you even try to build a booth, give your brand a good once over. Make sure it’s up to snuff with your competitors. You want to ensure you stand out in the sea of logos and booth activations. Is your logo poor and your collateral incoherent? Does your brand look like a carbon copy of your competitors? If so, you are going to have a difficult time getting noticed or taken seriously. Hire a qualified designer or agency to assess your brand and help get your business in fighting shape. Remember, it’s all about consistency and simplicity. Once your style guide is set and the branding is solid, it’s time to show it off.
Pick the right event and the right spot
Location, location, location. It’s an old saying, but that is for a reason. You want to make sure you choose the right event to begin with. A huge deciding factor for people who frequent trade shows is where it is held. More people are likely to show up to a conference taking place at a touristy destination. Attendees are looking forward to whatever they can do after the conference. Keep that in mind. The better the location, the more likely you’ll be successful.
If you are lucky enough to score a spot at the conference, ensure it has lots of foot traffic. Potentially away from back walls or in the show of a mega booth. The most coveted spot is by the entrance, which will cost you a good chunk of change. Budget-minded businesses should think more strategically. Set up near the bathrooms. Yea. You will literally have all the eyeballs and foot traffic you can stomach. Ok, maybe on the way to the bathrooms. You get the point. Study the show floor and the booth lanes to find viable choke points. Find places where people will gather and set up shop there if possible.
Avoid “Science Fair” aesthetics and go for storytelling instead.
With your branding intact, you must create a modern trade show booth design. Contact the designer or agency who did your branding and have them design a beautiful booth for your activation. Try to avoid “Science Fair” aesthetics. You know, tri-fold standies stuffed with words and stats. You are competing on a show floor with a bunch of other booths. If you’re trying to draw folks in with heavy reading, you are going to fail.
Instead of blocks of copy and sales figures, try using your available space to tell a story. Build scenes, show the product in action via videos, or draw people in with engaging questions plastered across your booth. Let your design team get creative and produce a booth that engages attendees.
Invest in best-in-class User Experience.
User Experience isn’t only for apps. Make your trade show booth as user-friendly as possible. Everything should be easy and intuitive. Slap a big QR code on the booth to make engagement easy for passing attendees. Have your collateral easily available. Make your swag visible to grab attention. Dress brand-appropriate and be available for anyone to chat with.
Think of the Red and Blue shirts at Target and Best Buy, respectively. They do that for a reason, and so should you. Make sure your sales email, website, socials, or any other form of contact information is clear and within everyone’s eye line. Make sure your signage is free of jargon and easy to understand. If you are giving a demo, the sign should say “Would you like a demo?” versus “Experience the Next Generation of Proprietary User Engagement Software!” You get the idea.
Make moments with everyone you talk to
This is the hardest and most vital tip. You need to make connections. The trade show booth is just the attention grabber. You need to close the deal. That means making meaningful connections with everyone who engages with you. The key is being a regular human. People can see right through sales talk and insincere banter. You need to connect with folks the way you would a friend. Be genuine, ask questions, listen, and respond. Laugh with them, and show your passion for your business and product.
Be appreciative and ensure everyone leaves with a positive memory of you and your brand. I know that’s a lot. And it’s really difficult to do that all day, but that’s what you sign up for at these conferences. Success really does hinge on who you know. I have never seen a business deal made between people who don’t like each other. Be yourself, be attentive, and remember that every person drawn in by your well-designed trade show booth is a potential friend and colleague.
Now go make your trade show booth.
That’s all I have for you. Use these tips and stand out at your next trade show or conference. These tips are vertical agnostic, so whatever your business is, you can benefit from the list above. If you are in need of one of those designers or agencies to help with your trade show booth, branding, or any design deliverables, Doing is a great option. I mean, you are already here. Reach out to us and let us know your design problems. We can solve them.