How to Make the Most of Your Trade Show Investment

Trade Show Marketing Best Practices

While business-to-business marketers often question the value of exhibiting at trade shows due to expanding opportunities in online marketing, there is no substitute for the value of face-to-face interaction with clients as well as other key business contacts. Though the cost per lead generated from a trade show contact can be higher than other marketing methods, trade show leads tend to be more qualified leads. For these reasons, many marketers still consider investing a good amount of their marketing dollars toward participation in trade show events.

One of the biggest challenges when preparing for a trade show is developing an overall presence for your brand that will stand out in a large mass of competition. This includes everything from banners and signage to the design and layout of your booth, marketing materials, giveaways, demos, etc.

Below are some helpful guidelines you can follow to ensure that you attract the kind of attention that will make your trade show investment worthwhile for your company.

  1. Consider booth size, layout, and position. If your booth is located in the center of a crowded trade show floor, you may want to use a hanging sign above your booth to attract attendees. Venues are thousands of square feet with hundreds or thousands of competing companies all vying for attention. The more you can make your booth visible from a distance, the more visitors you can attract. Banners that float above your booth or flag stands can be a great way to increase your visibility. These graphics should be bold and eye-catching, with branding and messaging to help attendees spot you among all the competition.
  1. Keep your key message simple. Focus on your unique value proposition—what makes you different from your competitors? This is what must be conveyed on your displays. If you have more than one key message, try to narrow your focus and select the most important elements. Your booth should be very concise and convey enough information to leave customers intrigued enough to find out more. The objective is to encourage a conversation with your staff, get your marketing materials in front of visitors, and give them a more comprehensive overview of your company’s offerings. If your booth has a table, all display messaging should be above the level of the tabletop. This will ensure that visitors can see your messaging without obstruction. Your messaging should use words that give attendees a good reason to stop and visit. Avoid overused phrases, and present your products as a solution for a problem the customer has.
  1. Be consistent. Consistent branding across your marketing elements increases the trust that attendees will have in your brand. Signs, collateral, and your overall booth design should all use consistent colors and design elements to project a cohesive message and solid offering.
  1. Design for long-term use. Displays can be very expensive, so it’s important to make sure you get the most mileage out of your more permanent booth materials. Using the same display hardware for multiple years, across several trade shows, helps keep your per-show cost down. Having your more permanent display signage relay more generally about what your company provides, without excess emphasis on specific product lines or offerings that may change, can help to reduce your annual trade show spending.
  1. Allow for open space in your booth. Try to maintain as much open space in your booth as possible. This will allow traffic through your booth to flow more naturally, and invite visitors to take in your most important messaging without feeling overwhelmed. Too many display elements will cause your booth to look cluttered, and may confuse your message. 
  1. Don’t invest too much of your budget on giveaways. True leads are looking for the solutions you can provide. When deciding on giveaways, make them useful reminders of your services, or with a theme directly relevant to your offering.
  1. Consider incorporating video or a moving demo. Videos attract passersby and if kept brief and informative, can draw in more interest.

Attending trade shows can be a costly investment, so it is crucial to make sure you get the most bang for your buck as you plan your booth setup and graphics. Winnow Creative has worked with clients to produce many types and sizes of trade show displays, messaging, collateral, videos, and other graphics. Contact us to help you plan your next trade show event.