Tips for A Successful Trade Show

  • Dec 4, 2017



Quality Over Quantity

While it can be tempting to purchase and logo as many small items as possible for use at a show, you shouldn’t buy things that will end up at the bottom of the bag without them even knowing where they got it.   When attendees see a bowl of candy, it’s something to grab and provides no value.  There are many products that can carry your unique message for well under a dollar.  Depending upon your business and goals, I encourage clients to purchase items from the upper end of the value category and match them to a specific theme they want attendees to remember. Fewer items at a higher price point can bring a great return on investment if there’s some deeper thought behind what you do.  For instance, sunglasses, pens and small insulated bags are typical giveaways that can make a much stronger impact with better quality and a clever theme.  A couple of examples,  sunglasses that match your brand colors and have a message about ‘visionary’ service printed on the arms. Another example is using illuminating pens that backlight your logo when the user presses the button to write, with a tagline printed below the logo referencing your ‘bright’ employees.


When using higher end products, there has to be a protocol or plan for how they will be used rather than handing them out to everybody.  What would be meaningful for your them to do?  Do you want them to schedule an estimate or purchase a product?   


Pre-Show Promises

Another way to get the right products into the right hands is through pre-show mailers. ‘Lumpy mailers” could be sent to a  targeted email database to persuade people to come to the booth.  A key is to choose a product that’s relevant to the prospect and also ties into the brand message.  The ROI results in proof that it works.  


Decorated socks could be used as a giveaway, but in an interesting way: Mail one sock to specified clients and prospects ahead of the show, with the promise of getting the other sock when they come to the show booth.  For people with desk jobs, the dress socks are more desirable; for people in active jobs, athletic socks are better. The graphics have to sell it so people want to come for the other one. You can stitch all over a sock, so there’s lots of creative opportunity.  There are many ideas that can be implemented this way.  


Prospects can also be drawn to your booth through the use of a game or contest.  Research shows that attendees engage strongly through a gaming experience; more than two-thirds of exhibitors who use them say they get high attendee interaction. It could be a contest that requires skill such as a memory game with your product or company being the focus or final answer.  It could be a luck oriented game like a spinning wheel or bean bag toss with tiered prizes.  A great way to create and continue the  buzz after the show is to have a photo ‘op’ using a promotional product that they are given or a backdrop with  your company name and asking them to post the picture on social media for a prize.  This also creates an easy and fun way for employees to interact with attendees.  


Dress for Success

 Dress and decoration should be consistent with your image/ brand.   You always want to stand out, be different and be remembered. Making the letters on the back two inches tall so the message can be seen from a distance is a great idea.  A bright colored shirt or top is easily identifiable.  A professional image is created when there is a unified and cohesive color palette consistent or complimentary to your logo.   


Lightweight acrylic/nylon sweaters or vests are  popular for shows because they work for both men and women, require less care and look professional.   The bottom line is that you want your people to stand out so that booth visitors know without hesitation who they should approach.  We had a client order lab coats for a trade show.  It fit into their booth theme and was certainly remembered.  They wanted to catch attendees’ eyes as they walked the floor, and have them think it was clever…..and It worked.  Of course, comfortable shoes are a must!  


Dress Your Booth

We also help our clients with their banners, flags and tablecloths to create a classy exhibit.  We suggest all the elements so that they complement one another throughout the booth.   Stay tuned for our next blog which will address more on dressing your booth and trade show prep.  




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  • Tags: TradeShow,Booth,PromotionalBranding,Marketing