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How to Create a Next-Level Trade Show Booth

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By: Shelby

With a trade show every other week and thousands of conventions held in Los Angeles every year with probably hundreds or more exhibitors per event, it could be a bit of a struggle getting your booth noticed in the crowd. But don’t let that intimidate you, all you’ll really need to take your booth to the next level is a little creative thinking, some elbow grease, and maybe a few bells and whistles. Here are some ideas you might want to try.

1) Go for quality, not quantity, when it comes to foot traffic – Sure, it’s great to get lots of folks to your booth but real business is done by enticing the right people. Invite your target audience by using relevant marketing materials and making sure they get to the point. If people know what you’re all about right away, there’s no doubt that people who need your goods or services will zone in on you immediately.

2) Use your print materials wisely – There are many different trade show materials you may choose from to make your booth stand out. Here are a few of them and some ideas for using them:

  • Large format banners and retractable banners – the great thing about these banners is that they’re big enough to be seen from a distance. Hey, is that guy at the other end of the hall looking for the exact kind of bacon jam that you just happen to be selling? Then it’s lucky that he can see your giant banner from there! 

Another bonus is if you’re in an outdoor convention, you can hang your large-format vinyl banners around the tent to keep the sun or rain out. Retractable banners have portable banner stands also ready for outdoor use.

  • Brochures Thanks to the multiple pages within a brochure, you have enough space to extol on the different virtues of your service or goods. However, make sure you have them printed on heavy duty material. Chances are high that someone going to a trade show is going to have lots of similar items crammed into a bag. If your material gets ripped easily amid the flurry of activity, they might not read your brochure at all.

Items like these, business cards, flyers, and pretty much any printed marketing material you have which involves one-to-one interaction when you hand them to trade show-goers definitely go with item #3 on this list.

  • Business cards and plastic cards – As you may know, business cards tell people who they can contact directly for the services they want, while the versatile plastic cards can be used for anything from wallet-sized calendars, gift cards, and the like. Even if these are pretty small, a really smart design can tell your audience exactly what they need to know about you with limited space.
  • Event tickets  – These may be used several times in different areas of the convention halls, perhaps for food redemption or for entering special sections, so it’s a good idea to print them on high quality card stock to make them last a reasonably long time. Besides if you actually have a nice looking design, people can also keep them as mementos. (Other printed memento ideas for booth owners are magnets, stickers and postcards.)

3) Be inviting! – It’s essential that your booth staff are always ready with a smile and know how to make eye contact. Nothing turns a potential customer off more than being faced with a Grumpy Gus or a Debbie Downer. Make sure that the staff manning your booth are well-dressed, approachable, very knowledgeable about the product (and handy with Google, if necessary!) and conscientious about keeping the booth clean. The latter may seem simple but it will make the experience of visiting your booth more pleasant. Offering some candy, swag, or even having a water dispenser may also do the trick!

4) Be smart about allocating your budget – Of course one way to make sure that all of these work out is to make sure you’ve covered all the bases financially. Generally, the booth will take up a huge chunk of the budget. After that, you’ll have to consider your staff, marketing materials, food, transportation and the like. Luckily, printed materials don’t really have to be so expensive especially if you have them printed locally and pick them up or have them delivered right to the event hall or to your hotel concierge.  So if you’re running a trade show booth in the Los Angeles area, you can definitely have SLB Printing do this for you to cut down the cost of transporting your high-quality posters, banners, stickers and more.

5) Learn from the experience – Finally once it’s over, meet with the staff to find out where things went right or wrong during the experience starting from the preparations, to the actual convention floor, and even during the packing-up period. That way, you’ll know which strategies were well-received by the target audience and which ones to avoid for your next trade show. We hope these tips help turn your trade show outing a success!

Remember, it may sound like hard work but conventions can also be a lot of fun so don’t stress out too much. If it looks like you’re enjoying yourself, it will rub off on people. Good luck!

References:

http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/sep2009/sb20090911_550656.htm

http://www.inc.com/ss/8-tricks-trade-show#1

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