11 Life Hacks to Make Trade Show Exhibition Easier

The Top 11 Tricks for Trade Show Exhibitors

Trade shows can have a variety of benefits for your brand. They’re opportunities to increase brand awareness and visibility, they can help you secure new leads and sales, and they’ll expose you to other things happening in the industry so you can develop new products or strategies in line with them. But while trade show attendance remains strong (generating $13.2 billion in revenue in 2017), there are definitely “right” and “wrong” ways to attend.

It costs money to attend a trade show, not just to cover the price of a booth, but also to pay your employees, invest in materials, and possibly miss out on some opportunities back home. This is an investment, and it’s your job to make sure you have a positive return on that investment (ROI).

Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks you can use to get more value out of your next trade show—far in excess of whatever you paid to attend.

Time Management for Trade Show Exhibitors

First, you’ll want to know how to manage your time. Most trade shows only last a day or a weekend, and since you’ll have a fixed cost for attending, you’ll want to make each moment count:

  1. Go in with a plan (and specific goals). One of the most important tenets of a successful trade show is going in with a plan. Most successful trade show attendees start planning months in advance so they have plenty of time to work out a strategy, design and print their trade show booth signage, and account for the schedule as it unfolds. Set specific goals: Are you trying to secure a specific number of new leads and/or new sales? Do you want to make the most-attended presentation? Use historical data, if available, to set reasonable yet challenging milestones to achieve.
  2. Split and rotate your team. You’re likely attending the trade show with a small team, so get more out of the time you have by splitting and rotating that team. Two people in a booth, one person in a lecture, and one person roaming the floor can do far more than four people crammed in a booth. What’s more, keeping those positions rotated will ensure that everyone stays on top of their game—and actively engaged in the event.
  3. Note major events, and get involved. Most trade shows have special events, such as guest speakers, contests, sponsored exhibitions, and even afterparties. Get a copy of the schedule in advance and talk to other attendees to figure out what the hottest events are—then make sure you have at least one person attending them. Your goal should be to remain in close proximity to the greatest number of people at any given time.
  4. Master setup and takedown. Setting up and taking down your trade show booth may not seem like a big deal, but it can cost you hours if you’re not prepared. The earliest and latest hours of the trade show are often neglected, so make sure you’re using this time effectively.

Trade Show Booths: Posters, Banners, and Overall Design

Next, you’ll want to turn your attention to your overall design, including your trade show posters, banners, signs, and other visual elements of your trade show booth.

  1. Find a way to be different. It’s not enough to be compelling at a trade show. There are likely dozens of businesses just like yours, all competing for attention. So what makes yours different? You’ll need to incorporate a combination of visuals, signage, giveaways, and other elements to ensure your booth doesn’t look like “just another booth.” Stand out.
  2. Make sure your brand is unforgettable. It’s easy to get lost in the promotion of your latest products at your trade show exhibition, but your goal is to make sure attendees can remember your brand. On all your trade show posters, banners, and other signage, make sure your logo is highly visible (and memorably placed). You could even use a modular trade show display to take your visual display to the next level. It also helps to have promotional items or other ways to make your branding visible throughout the event.
  3. Incorporate more than just visuals. Visuals like trade show banners and posters are important, but they aren’t the only factor for success. The most compelling booths often have another element, like soft music, sound effects, or videos to complete the picture. Not only with these multimedia elements distinguish your brand from your competitors’, but it also provides you with an opportunity to highlight more of your best work.
  4. Dress for success. This should go without saying, but make sure all your trade show attendees are dressed in line with the event. Try to incorporate something that ties them to your brand, even if it’s something simple like a wristband, and keep everyone well-groomed and looking their best.

Extra Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors

These tips are also important to ensure you have the biggest possible impact:

  1. Stay active on social media. Most trade shows have a hashtag and hundreds, if not thousands of people posting about it. Take photos, follow new people, and get involved on these conversations—it’s a great way to get discovered by new people, and it shows how invested your brand is to the event.
  2. Be the giveaway to beat. Promotional item giveaways aren’t just about the novelty of the item—they’re about brand exposure. If you have a hot piece of clothing, a visually captivating tote bag, or another item that every booth visitor continues to wear throughout the convention, you’ll get free advertising—and you’ll be the brand to beat.
  3. Measure your ROI (and beat it next year). Was your trade show worth the investment? You’ll have to calculate your return on investment (ROI) to be sure. Calculate the raw value of the leads and sales you secured, and add in a little extra for the brand exposure you received, then compare that to the total costs you invested. How much of a return did you see? Where do you think you could have done better? How are you going to beat these numbers next year?

Are you interested in learning more about how to improve your trade show ROI? Are you ready to start designing and producing your trade show materials now? Either way, start a live chat with one of our trade show project managers today, and learn more about what Poster Garden can do for you!

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