Marketing Strategy

Five Ways to Get More Out of Your Trade Show Booth

1. Keep your booth simple and fresh.

Outdated graphics make your company look like you’re falling behind the times. To make a great first impression you need a graphic and headline that gets people to stop. That’s it. That’s your booth’s only job. The rest of the work needs to be done by your booth staff. To maximize impact:

  • Create a strong headline (your logo is not a headline)
  • Less is more—cramming tons of info on your backdrop will result in no one reading any of it
  • Engage people passing by with screens or tablets showing video or a gallery of images
  • Brand and make use of all signage space such as podium wraps and roll-up banners that can be placed near the aisle
  • Actual products and samples are a great addition providing they don’t block people from coming into your booth, pick the best of the best if you have a small booth so you don’t overcrowd your booth

At our agency, we simply determine how long it will take a strategist, a designer and a developer to work frantically at their desks each day in order to create your masterpiece (don't settle for less than masterpiece, FYI).

- studiothink

2. Prepare your team.

The only thing worse than a booth with nobody to talk to, is a booth where the people are sitting behind a table. Keep your booth layout open and inviting. If there are chairs, they should be high chairs with a small bar table. Here are some more tips for prepping your booth staff.

  • Your team should wear comfortable, but professional, clothes in colours that coordinate with your brand. They should also wear nametags and be easily identifiable and approachable.
  • They should be well-versed in what the company does and WHY you’re different. Having a giveaway or prize entry helps break the ice.
  • Although brochures and marketing materials should be on hand, it is far more effective to collect the visitor’s information and mail them the brochure after the show so it doesn’t end up in the bin.

3. Invite customers and prospects. Then thank them for coming by.

The cost of your booth space equals less than 20% of your total show cost. So make sure everyone you know is invited. Your show is a great opportunity to build and reinforce relationships in the shortest amount of time possible.

  • Promote your attendance in all industry ads you’re already running
  • Add a line of text to everyone’s esignatures that invites them to come see you at the show
  • Promote your attendance in your blog or on your website
  • Send an email or printed invite to all of your customers and prospects
  • Schedule evening meetings with key customers and prospects in advance
  • Plan an after-party or dinner at your hotel or nearby for customers and prospects
  • Pay the money for the barcode scanner at your booth so you have instant access to emails for everyone that came by your booth...and send them a thank you email within 2 days of the show...not only will you make a great impression, you’ll save yourself hours of manual data entry

4. Get involved in the show.

Ever notice that the sponsors of the shows are often the big guys? Well, you can look big and important too—and it won’t break the bank. Every show has multiple sponsorship opportunities, many of which aren’t too expensive. Look for opportunities like these to spread your brand around the show.

  • Water bottle sponsor
  • Show bag sponsor
  • Sponsor a seminar
  • Sponsor the bar or cafe

5. Give away a grand prize or promo item that attracts your ideal customer.

Having a great prize or giveaway brings more traffic to your booth. Rather than any old prize, spend 30 minutes brainstorming for prizes and giveaways that would attract your ideal customer.

  • What do they like to do in their spare time?
  • What do they spend their shopping money on?
  • What are their kids begging for that would make them a hero?
  • What gadget or device would save them time?
  • What would they adorn their desk with?

In addition to generating booth traffic, a grand prize provides the opportunity to collect email addresses that help build your mailing list. This is especially useful to Canadian Manufacturers, who are bound by Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and are required to get written permission to email, which can be done on the entry form.

Follow the five tips above and rest assured knowing that you’re maximizing every dollar you spend at your next show.

If you’re running short on time, have questions, or need help pulling everything together—we’re here for you. Call 604-514-1345 or email Want more strategies and ideas delivered straight to your inbox? Sign-up here. It's free and we promise not to send you junk, or share your info.