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May 31, 2015

Tips for exhibiting at a trade show

Successful trade show marketing requires time, energy, creativity, and money. Far too often, companies think “showing up” is the same as “showing off.” To reach your trade show goals, consider these critical exhibit design and marketing tips.

1 Branding.
Does the exhibit match your marketing materials? Too many mixed messages or images, no matter how creative, creates confusion, so be true to your brand and create greater recognition and memorability by integrating your exhibit design with your other marketing channels, such as web, brochures, email, print ads and direct mail.

2 Traffic Flow.
From what direction do delegates enter the show hall? Is there a natural traffic flow? If possible, position your exhibit to take advantage of the traffic flow. Consider taking a stand next to a coffee shop; delegates will have time to look at your stand while they queue for a drink.

3 The Three Second Look.
Does your exhibit communicate your key message(s) within three seconds? After three seconds, a delegate will move on to the next exhibit if your message does not capture his or her attention. Consider simple, declarative text and bold, relevant graphics. And PLEASE do not put your website address at floor level!

4 Design.
Design your trade show space so it best fits your specific marketing objectives – spaces for brand-building graphics, lead stations, demo areas, meetings, etc. While many exhibitors find they get more leads with an open and inviting space, others find they need more mass for impact or walls for meeting areas. Just focus on your top objectives, because you don’t have room for all of them!

5 Safety.
Is your exhibit structurally stable when filled with attendees? One small disaster can ruin a well-planned and potentially successful show.

6 Storage.
Do you have adequate storage for literature, electronics, promotional incentives, briefcases etc? Do you require secure storage for valuables during and throughout the show? You don’t want purses, briefcases or tablet cases cluttering the stand.

7 Finish.
Is your exhibit worn or dated from one too many shows? Plan ahead before you purchase your next exhibit. Light colours show seams and damage more easily than dark coloors or patterns. Glosses scratch easier than matte laminates.

8 Promotional Items.
Giveaway gifts should pertain to your business and appeal to the target market, and imprint them with your company’s logo and contact information. If possible hand out useful, high quality gifts – they’re more memorable and more likely to be used after the show. Choose a trade show gift that you can keep giving after the event, in case you have some left over. Make sure you have plenty of business cards. More are handed out at a tradeshow than any other item.

9 Budget.
Does the exhibit fit your short and long-term budget? If you spend too little, you may not reach all your marketing/sales goals. If you spend too much, you may be forced to curtail your trade show program just when it is making a difference.

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Business, Marketing