Whatever your reason, you need to prepare
Every trade show will provide vendor information regarding booth size, signage and backdrop, availability of tables, skirting, chairs, electricity, WI-FI, dimensions, and a layout of booth spaces. Read this information carefully and be prepared to purchase items as needed. Don’t assume – always verify what’s provided and DON’T miss deadlines.
YOUR BOOTH: The object is to draw visitors INTO your space. Where you place your table and chairs can invite prospective customers, or provide an ultimate barrier to engaging with you. Consider how your booth can handle traffic and provide visual, engaging marketing material that will attract and retain interest if you are distracted. DON’T stand behind your table, as the table becomes a barrier. DO stand next to or to the side of your table. I’m not a fan of sitting, but if you do need a break, a stool that puts you at eye level, is better than slumping behind a table any day.
DISPLAY MATERIALS: Here is where preparing in advance is key. You will need to “stage” your booth. Must haves include brochures, business cards, table top or floor sized banner, products, sell sheets, giveaways, and don’t forget your MAILING LIST SIGN UP SHEET.
VISUALS: Consider using videos or image slide shows, PowerPoint loops, or virtual albums to entertain visitors should you be with another potential customer. Screens should change frequently to grab attention.
HELP!!!!!: Really, I mean help for your booth. Will you have someone to help you set up and tear down, give you a break to walk around and chat with other vendors, or allow you some down time (especially needed if the show is long or held over multiple days)? You need to remain fresh, so if it means calling in extra help, it may be well worth it.
Oh, and one final thought……
BOOTH ETIQUETTE: I visit lots of trade shows and table top venues and hate to see businesses who have invested in booth space that goes unnoticed. Here are my biggest booth turn offs:
- Barriers to foot traffic – YUCK – invite people IN, create an inviting space. Need help? Ask us!
- No color, interaction, visual height – BORING – Don’t let me walk away. If you don’t know color, ask us how color is KEY to drawing customers in.
- No drawing, giveaway, freebies? Um, why are you here?
- No way to receive more info. from you – Hey folks, this is your chance for mailing list subscribers! Know what information is just enough but not TOO much to request.
- Boring booth hosts – YAWN. Don’t sit there and talk to each other…ENGAGE! Eye contact, smile.
- Never eat your lunch in full view of your booth table, and remember your napkin. Never leave containers anywhere!
- Need to sit? Bring a stool so you can be at “eye level”. Connect with potential customers.