For the vast majority of exhibitors, the primary objective of their trade show marketing program is to drive sales of their product or service. This is achieved by capturing the attention of trade show attendees away from other exhibitors, often competitors, on the crowded and busy trade show floor. There are a few basic principles to follow that will keep you from losing opportunities right off the bat:
- If your trade show exhibit is tired, dated, dirty, or damaged allocate some of your marketing budget to update your presentation. It is a waste to invest in the booth space, travel expenses, pre-show marketing, etc. only to exhibit with trade show display that is on its last leg. If the message that your trade show exhibit conveys is that of a tired, faltering company, then you will likely lose the opportunity to speak with potential customers at the show as they will just pass you by.
- Do not overlook lighting. A well-lit exhibit draws attention from your potential customers walking the trade show aisle and creates a warm and inviting trade show booth. You want people to feel comfortable stopping at your booth to discuss your product or service and a poorly lit space is a turn off.
- Do not crowd your space to the point that it becomes uninviting. Often, a 10×10 booth, 10×20 booth, or 20×20 booth will seem much larger in your mind’s eye than in reality. It is helpful to tape off the space on a floor in advance of your show and then tape off the space dedicated to your exhibit, greeting counters, etc. so that you can see how much free space you will have inside your trade show booth. If your space is crowded, attendees will likely pass you by.
- Do not eat in your booth. Picture in your mind that you are walking a trade show floor and you see an exhibit that catches your eye. The product or service looks like something that might be of interest to you and you decide you will stop in to find out more but just then you see that the person working the trade show booth is sitting at their counter eating. Many of us will decide that we will keep walking rather than interrupt their lunch and the potential sale is gone.
- Finally, and the point we will delve into further in our next article, do not try to tell your entire story in bullet points or paragraphs in your graphics. This is one error that we see many companies make, and in many cases, those that are new to trade show marketing are guilty of copy overload on their graphics. Again picture yourself walking an aisle in a busy trade show. You have your guard up as exhibitors have been trying to pull you into each trade show booth that you pass. You approach an exhibit that looks like a product or service that you may have an interest in but the display is crowded with enough copy and bullet points to fill a novel. Are you going to stop and stand in the aisle and attempt to read all of that copy or are you more likely to just keep walking? More often than not, you will have subconsciously made that decision as the copy heavy graphics are so unappealing that you will have dismissed that booth with just a glance.