6 Easy Steps for Creating Remarkable Trade Show Booths
We all want remarkable trade show booths, filled with prospects ready to do business with our companies. But you may be creating obstacles that are actually keeping people away from your trade show exhibit.
Here’s how to make your booth as comfortable and inviting to visitors as possible:
1) Start from the ground up:
Every now and then, I go to a show and see an exhibit that looks like it walked off the pages of Architectural Digest. The design is stunning, right down to the dazzling white carpeting. Wait, what? What a mistake! Really. Who wants to be the first to track trade show dirt on that carpet?
I’ve actually seen white carpeted exhibits where prospects stepped right up to the carpet’s edge, but refused to take a step into the trade show booth. That affects your chances of getting those prospects to enter the exhibit and see your product demo or talk with a sales professional.
Seems silly, but do start from the ground up – think of everything. Twice or more. Then have someone critique the plan and start over.
2) Make yourself easy to find:
Another problem I’ve seen often are aesthetic decisions that affect how visible an exhibitor’s booth identification is – wait, don’t hide it! But other design elements sometimes end up eclipsing the company’s logo, practically masking it from view. These exhibitors have missed the point. Artsy can be good, but communication must come first.
Your company name should be easy to read, from 20ft away, and should be easily visible from that distance – so put it at the highest point available in the booth! (There’s a lot to be said for those trade show hanging signs – everyone will know that you’re at the event, and exactly where you are. Priceless!)
Prospects and customers have to be able to find you in order to appreciate what you’ve done with your trade show exhibit. The right thing to do is to make decisions about aesthetics that serve your exhibiting goals, not the other way around.
3) Make your product information easy to access, too:
Maybe you want people to talk with your booth staffers to get information about your latest product. But there are people who don’t want to interact that way, and they could be among your best customers.
People learn in different ways. Some like to talk (you’re all set to deal with these prospects).
Some like to read (which is where your booth graphics and product literature will help).
And some like to absorb information tactilely (in other words, they need to touch your product to get the information they’re seeking).
You’ll never get the sale if you don’t allow them to learn about your product or service in the way that suits them best. So make it easy for all three types to learn about your product or service, and you’ll be in great shape.
4) Fix navigational problems
I can’t tell you how many exhibits I’ve seen that actually create obstacles that prevent prospects from getting into the trade show booth. The worst offender is the 10×10 booth that puts an eight-foot table across the front of their booth space. This makes it all but impossible for people to enter.
And here’s what’s worse: If people see that getting in is difficult, they’ll assume that getting out will be just as tough. That’ll keep them from making the commitment to engage with you in the first place.
People enjoy having their own private space; the size varies, but no one likes to be crowded. Everyone draws the line somewhere. So should you – draw a line, planning on how people will flow into your booth. Where you and your staff will meet with them, perform intro 1, demo 2, etc. And how they will exit your booth space.
Remove obstacles like that big table. And add one or two small, portable items (banner stands or even booth staffers are great for this), that can be moved as needed, to help block or change traffic flow paths.
5) Don’t give staffers a place to retreat
We all know that working a trade show can be hours and hours of standing on our feet, talking all day, taking a fair amount of rejection. That’s all very draining. It would be great if staffers had a place to sit down and cool their heels for a while. They could recharge their batteries and get ready for several more hours of interaction.
But it’s a bad idea to put this space in your booth.
Why? Well, who wants to interrupt someone who’s obviously resting? Who’s going to approach a salesperson who’s slouched in a chair, trying to get some shuteye or even checking messages on his or her phone?
Nobody, that’s who. If you’re going to have a user-friendly exhibit, the users’ needs need to come first.
It’s appropriate to give your booth staffers breaks to do the things they need to do. But whatever business they have to take care of, have them do it away from the booth. (Remember “Road House“? – Take it outside!)
Ideally, your staff should do any superfluous activities out of sight of attendees altogether. But sometimes that’s just not possible. But at least make sure they’re not in your exhibit, counting sheep or kicking their feet up.
6) Reach out to the wanderers and browsers
Many attendees walk the aisles looking for a solution to their problems, but seem like they wouldn’t know a solution if it reached out and bit them.
One way to address this challenge is to have low cost brochures, available for anyone to take, that tell about your company and its products or services. Someone may find information in there that causes him or her to stop in for more information. And that gives you a chance to turn that person into a customer.
7) Give them a reason to talk with staffers
The Holy Grail of exhibiting is that opportunity to talk face to face with a prospective buyer. And there’s a way to make that happen that offers a user-friendly angle for the prospect.
If some valuable information is only available through meeting with a booth staffer, you’ll draw more prospects to your exhibit. This can be a “case study” (better packaged as a “success story”), a “Top Ten” list, a “best practices” report or other valuable information targeted to the industry you’re trying to reach.
This makes meeting with a staffer more about information gathering than about being “hammered” by a sales pitch. Prospects and customers will thank you for taking this approach.
The most user-friendly thing you can do at a show is have remarkable trade show booths that tell your story effectively.
Here at American Image Displays, we pride ourselves on helping clients create effective—and cost-effective—exhibits that communicate with attendees. If that’s what you’re looking for, give us a call at (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].
We’ve added some new products this month, including the Expolight backlit table top display pictured above, and the Economy Feather Flags – great outdoor advertising at an even better price!
Want to learn more about using display stands in your booth? Check out our articles about pop up displays and eco-friendly portable display stands.