Trade shows remain one of the best ways to promote your brand, strength your customer base, and drive sales leads. To stand out in a crowded trade show exhibition hall, you need to have a booth which will attract visitors, and encourage them to stay at the booth as long as possible to allow you to make connections, sign them up, convert them, or whatever you are looking to achieve.

A good exhibition stand builder will help you to design and build your basic booth, but how do you go about setting it up effectively to meet and exceed your goals for the trade show?

Honda booth in automotive trade show

Check these 7 actionable tips for things you can do today to make the most of your trade show booth.

1. Promote Your Booth Before the Show

While preparing for an upcoming trade show, be sure to promote your presence online and on social media. Generating buzz around your booth and the trade show, in general, will encourage people to come to the show, and to visit your booth.

What’s more, these visitors will be extra valuable because they are people who already have an interest in your brand, so are more likely to result in a sale. Furthermore, having visitors to your booth can have a snowball effect – when others see your booth is busy, they will stop in.

2. Send Out Invites

You can take this approach a step further by inviting existing customers, particularly regular customers or major accounts, to the trade show. Again, this means almost-guaranteed sales and will help generate a buzz around your booth through having some visitors to start.

In some cases, it can even be a good idea to purchase tickets to the event for certain key clients – if you choose wisely you will more than regain the outlay on tickets.

3. Stock Up On Promotional Items

Stocking your booth with a good collection of promotional merchandise is a great crowd-drawer. If your “swag” is good enough, you will generate buzz around the trade show, and people will come to visit your booth because they’ve heard they can pick up a certain cool promo item.

These days, merchandise goes far beyond a free pen or notebook – think USB keys, speakers, and even power banks if you want to be competitive in the merchandise stakes. Of course, branded merchandise also doubles as great advertising which will continue to sell your brand long after the show itself.

4. Hold Product Demonstrations

If you have some kind of physical product, set up your booth in a way as to demo it. People love to try things out themselves, so they will be drawn to any product demonstrations, even if they are not what they have come to see.

The best demos are also those which customers can be hands-on, such as testing out the product for themselves. Product demos are a little more tricky when your product is something less tangible like a service, but with a little creativity, you can find a way to demonstrate pretty much anything!

Gaming tech tradeshow digital display
photo credit: Official GDC / Flickr

5. Host Fun Activities

A trade show can be a relatively dull and repetitive place. Add some fun relief – and attract visitors – by hosting games or other fun, interactive activities at your booth. These activities should be not only entertaining, but also relevant to your industry and suitable for your brand.

Be sure to avoid anything which may reflect poorly on your brand, such as anything related to gambling, for example. Otherwise, games are fairly easy to design and set up in house, and a great way to engage with your customers.

6. Be Prepared To Engage Customers

One of the most important parts of your presence at the trade show is engaging customers. You may (and should) have specific goals in mind: for example, collecting a certain number of contacts or generating a specific number of sales leads.

When setting up your booth, do so in a way which will facilitate these interactions: if you want to sign people up to your mailing list, have plenty of signup sheets posted around the booth. Prep your team for this: have a certain approach designed in advance of how you will engage with booth visitors to convert them to your goals, whatever they may be. Make sure your entire team is briefed and trained in this approach.

7. Be Creative

As mentioned, standing out from the crowd at a trade show is important. Try to be as creative and unique with your trade booth as possible. Innovative booth design will go a long way to achieve this, and some creative finishing touches will really bring this home. Think about different banners and signs that attract attention and catch the eye from a distance.

Depending on your brand, humour can be a fantastic way to attract attention. But remember, being creative is great, but overly creative can backfire. Too much humour could kill your brand.