5 Ways To Stand Out as a Trade Show Exhibitor

While driving down the expressway or the tollway, once in a while a billboard catches your eye. You may have passed dozens of them, but that one made you glance over even as you’re going 55 (or 65) miles per hour in traffic. Such is the experience of trade show attendees. The aisles are the expressway, and the booths are the billboards. The exhibitor’s job is to make the driver glance at his/her billboard first, and we have five quick suggestions.

1. Great Booth Design

Your booth must stand out visually from other exhibitors if you are to attract a decent amount of traffic – especially if you’re in a row of 10 x 10 booths. You can achieve this through color, striking images, shapes, lighting, and more. Remember, your display is a billboard, not a brochure. For instance, use simple fonts and few words. If all of your competitors have gray and blue for their colors, make yours orange or purple. If they all typically have a pop-up display with a table, make yours a back-lit fabric display with a small podium. Dare to be different.


2. Demonstrations

A demo is a little different from the rest of the expo, and has the potential to be very interesting. Demos have the appeal of a live performance, where anything can happen. Most trade show attendees have an agenda and a schedule but it’s human nature to welcome a diversion if it’s interesting. Attendees can see firsthand what your product does in a low-pressure way. Gauge their interest levels with audience participation and Q&A.

3. Compelling giveaways

When you offer a promotional giveaway that your target audience really wants to experience or take home, you appeal to their interest enough to get them out of the aisle and into your booth.  The best promotional items are those that your audience will keep and use. The item doesn’t have to be expensive; just useful or interesting. People toss brochures into the recycling bin, but they keep and use good pens and USB drives.

4. It’s in the bag

Most expos provide attendees with a bag that contains a show directory, an area map, and other items. For a relatively small fee, an exhibitor can often pay to have something inserted into that bag, ensuring that it gets in the hands of every attendee. You could make it a postcard that the attendee can bring to your booth for a promotional item. It could be a raffle ticket which must be validated at your booth before the drawing. Use your imagination to leave them wanting to visit you.

5. Warm, outgoing booth staffers

Your booth staffer has the greatest impact on your booth traffic. Great booth staffers stop attendees as they pass by smiling and engaging them. They say hello, invite them to step in out of traffic, ask what they want to accomplish at the expo… In a word, they are welcoming in nature and are good at making connections. The only staffers worth having are ones that want to be there. Warm people exude positive energy and provide the face-to-face connections upon which trade shows were built.

These are great tips, but the best advice is to have clear company goals and a solid brand, and be the best at what you do.  As marketing consultant Steve Miller says, “Be Uncopyable™.” Learn about Steve, a.k.a., Kelly’s Dad.

Plum Grove

Plum Grove


Plum Grove


Plum Grove


Plum Grove


Plum Grove