Is Your Trade Show Signage Saying The Right Thing About You?

Q. How important is  your trade show signage? 

A. You have less time than it takes you to read this sentence for a trade show attendee to decide whether he or she will spend any time in your exhibit.

Modified RE-9020 Double-Deck with Great Trade Show Signage!

It seems unfair, but it’s true. Numerous studies have shown that attendees decide whether your trade show booth has captured their attention in somewhere between three and seven seconds. If you don’t get to them in that remarkably brief period of time, you might as well not be exhibiting at the show.

We’ve all seen booths that looked like a pathetic patchwork of graphics and signage. And we routinely walk right by these booths, don’t we? Why? Because poor trade show signage makes them look unprofessional, and therefore, don’t impress us.

My question for you is, are you doing the same thing to yourself?

Do your graphics look impressive, interesting and professional, or are they road-worn and wrinkled, with a “loving hands of home” look to them?

Pinching pennies on the things that represent your company’s image always wastes far more money than it saves. In fact, substandard graphics actually cost you money. Why? A poor corporate image doesn’t give prospects a sense of confidence in your professionalism, your product or your promise (the offer you make to those prospects).

When you skimp on showcasing your corporate image, you’re actually giving your prospects an invitation to seek out your competitors who present themselves more professionally. Your image also deserves a professional presentation at every outing.

You rely on professionals to do so much of the work in carrying out your exhibit marketing program. Think about it: the people who lay your carpet are professionals. The people who set up your trade show booth are professionals. So why not turn to professionals when it comes to your trade show signage?

Many exhibitors do this in-house, or rely on worn-out graphics to “get us through one more show season” (which may be what what you said last season), or otherwise offer a less-than-professional appearance with their graphics.

Modified VK-1118 Visionary Designs Hybrid Exhibit with SuperNova Backlit Trade Show Signage

Eye Catching Imagery. No Wasted Text.

I’d like to offer some tips on how to get the most out of your booth’s graphics, without breaking the bank in the process.

First, let’s start with the goals every exhibit’s trade show signage should work to achieve:

1) Be Seen: Remember, you’ve got only seconds to convince a passerby to pay attention. A striking image or attention-grabbing headline is your best shot at stopping them in their tracks.

2) Be Recognized: Your brand name and/or logo should be featured prominently in your trade show graphics.

3) Be Understood: In the simplest, most straightforward way possible, tell those in the aisle what you do, and—here’s the important part—why it matters to them!

4) Be Clear: Your trade show signage needs to succinctly express your offer, or why you’re different from your competitors, or why an attendee should stop and learn more.

5) Be Simple: I can’t state this strongly enough. This isn’t a brochure. It’s a billboard. A few bullet points are all you need.

So, now that you know what you should hope to accomplish, how do you go about doing this?

First, all the cleverness in the world amounts to nothing if that clever signage can’t be read. When you work with a professional graphics provider (like American Image Displays), your supplier can show you a chart, based on real-world studies, of how large your sign’s text should be for maximum legibility. The lettering on your sign should be legible from at least twenty feet away.

Remember, your goal is to get them off the aisle and into your booth. You can tell them more of your story once you’ve captured their attention.

A small amount of text, combined with professional photography or artwork, creates the most compelling graphics. Signs full of text quickly become “white noise” on the show floor.

All of your product’s features and benefits shouldn’t be listed on your trade show signage. (If doing that actually worked, you wouldn’t be necessary!)

People simply won’t invest time reading laundry lists of features, especially before they’ve determined they have a need for your product or service. Once you’ve got them in your booth, you can explain the specific features and benefits that will be of interest to them.

If you’re having trouble deciding what goes on your trade show signage, try coming up with three advantages (keep them brief) that distinguish you from your competitors.

Consider something like “Our Widget Costs Less, It’s Available In More Sizes, And It’s Guaranteed For Life!”

Your product may not easily reduce to such simple statements, but make them as short and sweet as possible. Notice how these points offer the reader a benefit, as well. This is the holy grail of graphics: short, benefit oriented and attendee directed.

What does it all boil down to? There are only two reasons people go to shows: as attendees, looking to solve a problem they have, or as exhibitors, offering solutions to problems. Figure out the problems you can solve, and those could be your graphics points.

Taking the time to think about how your graphics help tell your company’s story, and how well they will reflect your company’s image, will result in better looking and better performing graphics for your trade show exhibit.

Whether you need new custom backdrops for your trade show booth, the newest and lightest trade show interlocking carpet tile, or even custom overhead hanging banners (or anything in between), let the pros at American Image Displays help you make the best impression. Call us at (800) 676-3976 or email [email protected].