5 Smart Ways to Improve Your Trade Show Strategy

Business.com / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Are you wasting marketing resources with these common trade show mistakes? Discover solutions to improve your strategy.

The planning required for a trade show is an essential part of ensuring a successful outcome.

Although they can be costly, trade shows continually provide a resource for lead generation, client retention and brand awareness.

However, there are common missteps often made by many exhibitors that can affect the appeal, professionalism, and ROI of a company’s trade show booth.

Many of these mistakes are made during the planning process before the event even takes place.

Here are five simple mistakes to avoid that will elevate your on-site trade show presence.

Related Article:6 Valuable Tips for Success: Trade Show Advice for Start-ups

1. Forgoing Additional Lighting

Although the cost is minimal compared to the cost of a trade show display kit, many exhibitors choose not to purchase booth lighting accessories. Not providing your own lighting puts your booth at the mercy of the venue. Often times convention centers will be poorly lit, creating an uninviting presence in a dark booth space.

Trade show lighting is a small price to pay for the insurance that your booth will always be bright and welcoming, despite the surroundings. Backlit trade show displays are a recent growing industry trend, using LED lighting to illuminate entire graphic walls. Both veteran and rookie exhibitors are enhancing their presence with LED lightbox displays. Trade show lighting becomes a critical part of drawing traffic into your booth space if your neighbor is standing out among the crowd with backlit exhibit products.

2. Hiring Booth Models

A perfect way to lose credibility? Staff your booth with trade show models. Not only is it a tacky, outdated practice, it wastes precious sales opportunities. Your booth staff should be approachable, professional, and knowledgeable in order to engage potential clients and cultivate quality leads. Face-to-face marketing is an essential element of trade shows, and failing to capitalize on that is a mistake that will jeopardize the entire show investment.

Related Article:Attending vs. Exhibiting: Should You Spend Big Bucks on a Trade Show?

3. The Wrong Trade Show Accessories

A cohesive design is essential for any exhibit booth. Accessories such as furniture and counters should fit the aesthetics of the main display. Not only will cheaper accessories discombobulate the overall style and presentation, they lack an impression of professionalism. Uncomfortable seating can be considered a waste of money because not only will it go unused, it won’t help keep attendees in your booth.

Any trade show accessory factored into a marketing budget should serve a specific purpose, and if it doesn’t, it isn’t worth the expense. Seek out knowledgeable display consultants that can help determine the right accessories for your exhibit booth design and show strategy needs!

4. Filling Every Inch of Graphic Space

In marketing, creating a memorable brand is a fundamental goal. When trade show attendees enter a booth, they should immediately have a sense of the message a company is trying to send. Trade show planning teams tend to see value in using up their display graphic “real estate” with as much information as possible. However, face-to-face communication is the best way to engage potential clients.

A busy, jumbled graphic with too much to read will be passed over by booth visitors. Logo and slogan are two major components in successfully branding a business, so keep those the main visual focus. Attendees should get a quick, concise impression of what your company is offering, but should get the rest of the information from your sales staff.

Related Article: Building a Presence: Tips for Creating a Visually Enticing Trade Show Display

5. Useless Promotional Items

Branded promotional items are a tried-and-true trade show champion. It allows your company/brand to leave the convention with potential clients and hopefully stay present in their minds. However, the type of promotional item is more important than many exhibitors think. When was the last time you saw professionals carrying their belongings around in paper thin nylon drawstring bags?

How often do the ever-popular stress balls end up in the hands of children or mouths of pets before they find a place in an office setting? Handing out promo items that can actually come in handy will help grow trust and awareness for a brand, and also waste less money on items that would more than likely end up in the trash. Headphones, portable chargers, and multi-purpose key chain tools (think “Swiss army-style” gadgets) are practical products with staying power. However, it’s always a best practice to brainstorm new, out-of-the-box ideas that will cater to your client base.

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