Trade Show Booth Essentials For Success

You've probably been to a trade show before. Think back on some of the booths that really made an impact. Sure, some of the booths with huge fabricated or pop-up displays or hanging displays are hard to miss, but chances are you also visited booths that were fairly simple yet effective.

Some (if not most) of the booths I've visited to meet potential new vendors were extremely simple or basic; yet I visited these booths and on many occasions it resulted in doing business with these vendors for many years.

Your trade show booth set-up is vital to having a successful show. Whether you have a huge budget or are working on virtually no budget, you can do the little things to help generate leads or sales at your next marketing event.

Here are Five Trade Show Booth Essentials for helping make an impact at your next show.

1) Professional Branded Look

You can make your booth really "pop" even if you're on a tight budget. First, make sure you have a nice, clean, pressed table cover. If you can budget for a branded table cover or table throw, all the better. If not, just go with a solid color (preferably a dark color to hide spills and to make your literature stand-out.)

Place your literature or samples neatly on the table. Make sure you have plenty of collateral and business cards and leave-behinds on the table. Did you ever notice (especially when the show is kinda going slow,)  that often-times potential customers are willing to snoop-around booths where there aren't any "hovering" sales people? Make sure your table can act as a stand-alone sales person if you're not there.

2) Retractable or Stand-Up Banner(s)

Depending on your booth size, having a retractable "pull-up" banner or a banner displayed on an X or L stand is a simple and cost-effective way to brand your booth. If you're tight on booth space, you can even use a table-top retractable banner stand to display your brand and message.

3) Back-drop Banner or Horizontal Banner To Display On Your Booth Wall

Depending on your budget, consider displaying a back-drop banner behind your table. Back-drop banners can usually be displayed from 8 to 10 feet tall and many are adjustable to fit your booth. If you can't budget for a back-drop banner, a 3 foot tall or 4 foot tall by 8 to 10 foot wide banner can provide the impact you're looking for and can be mounted using different banner hangers to your wall.

Try to "tie-in" your back-drop banner, retractable banner, and table throw so that you have a consistent marketing brand. Having a mix of colors and themes can make your booth look chaotic.

4) "Gimmick" or Draw or Give-Away

Booths that offer a free drawing for a prize or give-away often attract more prospects!
Sure, you can offer a free product or service from your company, but you can offer almost anything that you think people will be interested in. We used to attend many athletic trade shows. We had huge success giving away gaming consoles. Any athletic director or coach could sign-up for the drawing, and we gave away the console at a specified time.  It pulled hundreds of people to our booth and created excitement during the give-away. It was a fun and inexpensive item to give-away and generated a lot of business for our company.

Give-aways are easy. Just use an old-fashion bowl for people to drop their business card into for the drawing, or scan their card for entry. Post the give-away time. It's a great conversation starter! "Everyone's excited about the chance to win an XYZ. By the way, lemme grab a catalog for you. Where are you from?"

5) Friendly "Out-Going" Sales Reps

No matter what your booth looks like, if you have one or two friendly, out-going sales reps working the show, it will make all the difference. (Here's a recent blog post on trade show teamwork.) Friendly, outgoing sales reps can draw people to the booth and they're willingness to initiate conversation is vital to generating leads. Having a sales rep who stands behind the table checking their smart phone the whole time will get you know where- in fact, you'd be better off leaving the table unattended than having a couple reps just standing their.

I've literally had trade show reps track me down to give me literature or information I was looking for that they didn't have at the time. They were friendly, not too aggressive, but it made an impact. And hopefully your company provides trade show goals and extra incentives for writing orders at the show!

Hopefully these ideas help. Even if you have a huge budget, the proper combination of branding, give-aways, and outgoing sales reps will help make each and every trade show a consistent, successful event.

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