Getting Ready For Your Trade Show Display

You've made the decision and signed the contract to be an exhibitor at an upcoming event. To increase your success keep the following in mind.

Be recognizable and branded.

Display your company name or preferably your logo prominently. Ensure your booth reflects the style and feel of your brand as well as the colouring. If someone was familiar with your logo and website before attending the event, would they automatically recognize what booth is yours? For example, a Spa Sisters booth is instantly recognizable. "We've worked hard to create an environment that's eye-catching - who doesn't love fuchsia??" say Kerri Foster Roberts and Tricia Foster-Mohan, owners of the Spa Sisters. They add that other elements add to the bright, playful look that is their brand. "The pink curtains, polka dot lamps and feather wreath catch people's attention making them more likely to stop and look at our products."

On a tight budget? Use inexpensive frames painted in one of your brand colours, featuring large photos of your product to make your booth look more visual. Bring a tablecloth in the same colour as your logo.

Know how you will stop customers in their tracks.

How will you ensure that individuals walking by your booth will stop? Will you provide samples? Will there be some kind of activity such as an equipment demonstration? What will you say to initiate conversation? Do you have a specific product or service you want to focus on?

Lois Ward, of goodlines Décor features her thought provoking quote pillows prominently. "People are drawn right into the booth to read the quotes. The display is lively but uncluttered and we 'fluff' product often to attract attention. Warm friendly smiles from staff make people feel welcome."

For the Spa Sisters, testers are the key. "We've found that people love to sniff and sample body meringues and lotions, so we put them right out front so people feel comfortable trying them. It's a great way for us to begin a conversation with someone and we love hearing the instant feedback on which flavours people prefer," say Kerri and Tricia.

Have Marketing Materials Available

Be sure to have brochures and business cards on hand - something that individuals can walk away with. Your website address and contact information should be easy to find on these materials. The conference organizers should be able to provide you with an estimate of the number of attendees. Not everyone will choose to pick up your information but the estimate will at least provide a starting point.

If you have an e-newsletter, provide attendees with an opportunity to sign up for it. This is a great way to build your list! Be sure to enter their information to your list immediately after the event.

Think through the logistics

Make a list of everything you need to take to the event. What steps do you need to take to prepare these items? What other actions are required? Take time to think through each step of the event. How will you, your products and other supplies get there? Will they fit in your vehicle or will you need to rent or borrow a van? Do you need help to set up? What do you want people to do when they visit your booth? How will you cover bathroom and meal breaks? Are there specific guidelines set by the organizers?

Plan for follow up & rest

Mark time in your calendar for follow up activities such as entering e-newsletter subscribers, unpacking, paying bills, filing paperwork, etc. This is a major investment and you want to ensure you have the time to follow up properly.

You will also be tired and not want to return to a heavy personal or professional schedule immediately after the event. Although it took time for Lois of goodlines Décor to regain some balance after her last show she did eventually make progress. "About a month after the show I was able to once again create moments of relaxation by returning to yoga and meditation once a week, as well as spending time with family and friends," she notes.

Getting Started

If you haven't been involved in tradeshows before try a couple of lower cost, local shows before moving on to larger, multi-day events that may also require travel. Remember to create lists to help you prepare. Add to the them as you get ready, review the lists after the event and keep them for future reference - even if they are covered in scribbles. Your lists will help you be successful and make your next event even easier!

Enjoy the show!


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