Five tips for trade show booth planning

If you have a booth or attend a trade show as a vendor, make sure you keep these basic rules in play:

Determine the purpose for your participation.

  • Are you going for new prospects? Then create a mechanism for capturing names. Drawings are good; freebies for a signature are good. But promise not to spam them or abuse their contact info.
  • Need to demonstrate a new product? Think through all the elements you’ll need to be able to do that well. Samples a possibility.
  • Trying to be in the community? Be sure you can be seen-sign up early so you aren’t at the back of the room, usually given to last minute reservations.

Make your booth or table visually interesting and branded. This means investing in table cloths in your brand colors and ideally printed with your logo; table runners or banners for the table top if not pre-printed; a stand-up poster on the table and a banner/signage for above and behind the table and/or to the side of the table.

Bring manageable materials. Trifold brochures or postcards or even business cards are easy to carry, but 8×11 get folded or rolled and eventually never read or not even picked up. Consider being the vendor to provide the bag–great promotion all over the trade show with your logo being displayed.

Creating an engaging display. Visually is a start-less is better. But also try for a game or some interactive testing of samples or something for the participants to DO. They’ll be more likely to stop at your booth if there is something to do. Think of the pyramid of design concepts:

Staff your booth the whole time; so figure out bathroom breaks and meal breaks for you or your helpers. An empty table/booth is a missed opportunity to engage with prospective clients.

Now talk to the attendees. It’s not a reverse circus.


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