Trade Show Booths – Bigger Isn’t Always Better

magellan hybrid trade show display and fabric graphics

Trade shows are a huge part of public relations for any size company. They are one of the few opportunities we get for in-person meetings with potential clients – so much marketing and branding these days happens on the web and the phone. An opportunity to meet a client in person is a valuable chance to create a relationship and make a good impression.

For this reason, it is important to make sure the time and money you put into trade shows and your trade show exhibits are well spent, effective, and not wasted on mistakes. Let me offer you a few DON’Ts to try to help you leverage your trade show investments for the best possible ROI.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

The common mistake of trying to impress would-be clients with the size of your trade show booth space is one of the worst trade show mistakes one could make. Spending money and renting more floor space to simulate your office environment is just a huge waste.

What is important is integrity, honesty, and personability – be sure to bring those with you! Big spaces and great looking trade show displays can be very effective if used wisely, but “big” always costs more, so be sure it is the best use of your marketing dollars.

It’s Bad Not To Have Goals

20ft inline trade show display with fabric graphics

When asked to state your goal for the trade show, I hope your answer is a little more substantial than “get more sales.” The trade show circuit should be just one facet of your total marketing plan. You are there to showcase your business’s human element, and it should be used as one of many tools to better serve your clients’ needs and desires.

Keep It Simple

Keep your graphics and text on your trade show displays simple and to the point. A cluttered confusing mess communicates exactly that – a cluttered confusing message. You want potential clients to meet with you and then leave with a sense of confidence in you and your organization, with a solid understanding of what you can do for them. You don’t want them to run away screaming and have night terrors – or make jokes – about your bad graphics decisions.

Giveaways or Throwaways

“Shwag” and baubles are fine, but they should be relevant to your company’s offerings and remind people of your company when they use your little gifts. Drug companies giving away pens that look like syringes is clever; software companies giving away mouse pads is clever and useful; data analysis company giving away combs, that’s just dumb. Again, be the one they remember for having promotional giveaways that are cool and relevant – not something dumb.

Staff Needs To Be Trained

Trade shows are a big deal, and some of your most important clients and accounts will definitely make an appearance at them. Your booth staff should be your best sales and PR people – this is not a practice field, it is the big leagues, and your stars should be on the field. This is critical – having a couple of bad apples at the show can completely derail all of the other things you did right…

If you do not have staff and resort to hiring temp staff, this is okay too. If you have pretty simple and straightforward products or rely more on looks rather than complex technical details, then temp staff may work out just fine. Just make sure you learn how to hire the best temp staff for your next trade show.

Don’t Drop The Ball

Yes, another sports analogy, sorry, but it’s true. After you contact potential clients and gather a lead, you must follow up on that lead right after the trade show has ended. After all, it doesn’t mean anything until those deals are sealed, and your bottom line gets fatter.

Wait a few days after the trade show to send out a follow-up email. This will give your leads the time to get back home if they traveled, settle back in, and give some serious thought to everything they learned and experienced at the trade show.

Keep It Clean

You and your company have spent a lot of time, money, and effort to attend the trade shows; don’t screw it up by not sprucing up. You want your trade show displays, tables, and general area to be as clean and well stocked on the last day, just like it all looked on the first day of the show. A little daily house cleaning can make a huge impression and a big difference.

Party Until You Get A Lead

Parties and socializing are part of the trade shows off-hours activities. Don’t let the idea of an after-work drink fool you. You are still at work and should be working. The social element of trade shows can help you to meet new colleagues and schmooze old ones. Just keep the party aspect in check and remember, while at the show, you are working 24/7.

For more, check when renting a booth is best or how to create stunning trade show booths.

The Right Trade Show Booth Ideas Attract Visitors and Generate Leads

It is important to understand that the best trade show booth ideas attract visitors and help you achieve your trade show goals and objectives. Every aspect of your booth plays a role in this, from the booth design to your product demo and everything in between.

Here are a few more trade show booth ideas to attract visitors to your exhibition.

Social Media

Marketing on and leveraging social media is beneficial for any size business. Promote the trade show and your brand ahead of the trade show, keep each attendee up to date with what is going on, and offer a social media wall or photo booth where each attendee can take a photo and upload and share it on their social media platforms. It will also boost brand recognition.

Prize Wheel

We discussed the importance of having good quality giveaways and promotional products. So, why not make the giveaway process a bit more interactive and engaging by introducing a prize wheel? Let booth visitors spin the wheel and earn their prize.

Virtual Reality

To make it even more immersive, introduce virtual reality or augmented reality to your exhibition stand. This will get booth visitors and allow you to showcase your products. A product demo is a great way to utilize virtual reality in your exhibition booth. It will also definitely increase brand awareness and keep your company name in the mind of each potential client.


This was just a small sampling of what you can do in your exhibition booth to attract visitors and spread brand awareness. No matter what you choose to do, make sure everything is done with purpose. For more information on display design, contact us at American-Image today. We have everything you need to create a memorable booth design to attract your target audience.

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