Recently updated on March 4th, 2023
What makes a good custom trade show booth and what can you do to the get the right custom trade show booth for your needs?
A trade show can be a big investment for your company — one that has potentially big returns. After all, the people at the show are there because they already have an interest in your field. The trick? Convincing attendees to stop in and talk to your reps. That’s where great booth design comes in. An attractive, interesting booth draws in passersby, giving you a chance to pitch your products or services.
Branded Table Covers
At many trade shows, you’re stuck with standard folding tables that probably don’t do anything to match your brand identity. The easiest way to give those tables a quick makeover? Branded table covers. These covers fit over the tables, turning them into another part of your booth design. Covers are blank canvases; you can have them printed with colors and graphics that match the walls and sales collateral you’re using for the booth. The result? A more streamlined, cohesive look that reinforces your brand. Plus, the table covers conceal the underside of the tables, creating extra storage space for giveaways and employee belongings.
The best table cover for your booth depends on the style you’re going for. If you want a crisp, structured look, consider covers that zip closed for the perfect fit. For a modern look, you can use covers that stretch over the table for a streamlined result. As you’re choosing a design, make sure to pick one that works with your booth plans. If your employees are sitting behind the table, for example, you might need a cover that allows space for chairs.
If you’ve ever attended a trade show, you know how hard it can be to find a place to charge your phone. As a business, you can capitalize on this shortage of outlets by including a phone charging station in your custom trade show booth. This is especially important if you’re catering to professionals who need to stay connected to clients and coworkers while they’re attending the trade show. A charging station draws people into your booth out of sheer need — which gives you another opportunity to promote your company.
The key? Making your charging station both visible and easily accessible. Don’t put it in the back of the booth; otherwise, attendees have to run the gauntlet of employees to get to it. A better option is to put it near the front of the booth. Then, place some of your most compelling materials or exhibits nearby. That way, people have an opportunity to learn more about your company while they recharge. This is a non-confrontational way to bring in more people and provide a valuable service at the same time.
Trade shows usually attract hundreds of exhibitors. Attendees have many different options, which means that you need to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd and bring people into your booth. That’s where your displays come in — fascinating exhibits draw customers in and keep them engaged.
The primary goal of any exhibitor in a trade show is to get noticed.
The exact type of display you choose depends on your business. Some options are:
– Educational displays that teach attendees about your products or the problems you solve
– Multiplayer games
– Interactive displays that encourage attendees to participate
– Unexpected materials, such as living plants or balloon walls
– Photo booth with branded photo strips
As you’re brainstorming ideas, don’t be afraid to get creative. If you sell smart home appliances, for example, you might set up a living room display and encourage attendees to try out your products in real time. The more fun, delightful, or surprising you can make your exhibit, the better. When an attendee has a memorable experience, they’re more likely to spread the word about your company.
Does your company often participate in outdoor events? If so, you need a way to shade your staff from the sun and the elements. In that case, pop-up tents can be a convenient solution. These tents are lightweight and easy to assemble, so you can set them up quickly. The tent material fits over the frame, creating a roof that keeps your booth workers cool and dry.
Outdoor events can get crowded, so it’s important to design a pop-up tent that helps customers find your booth. You might use bright colors or large lettering that’s easy to see in a sea of exhibitors. Alternatively, you can opt for tent walls or tent legs for extra visibility. This extra space can also serve as an advertising area; you can have it printed with offers, special prices, website URLs, or even photos of your products.
One of the easiest ways to make a serious impact at a trade show is an exhibit wall for your custom trade show booth. These walls partition off your booth area, turning it into a self-contained space for customers and business contacts. For maximum effect, you can use branded, full-color walls — they set you apart from other exhibitors at a trade show. What’s more, when you use your company’s colors and design elements, it helps customers spot your booth in a crowded hall.
But how do you carry walls when you’re traveling to a trade show? Look for custom trade show booths that are designed to pack down into smaller packages. Pillow walls, for example, consist of a long piece of fabric stretched over a frame. The frame breaks down into smaller pieces for easier transportation. You can choose classic straight walls, or opt for a curved unit for a more organic look. If you’re working with a smaller space, consider pop-up banners to create the same effect.
Trade shows are all about the swag — giveaway products that are printed with your company’s branding. During the show, your promotional items provide an incentive for people to check out your booth. After all, word gets around quickly at trade shows. If people see other attendees carrying exciting swag from your company, they’re more likely to seek you out.
After the show, your giveaways act as ongoing advertising for your company. Whether they end up at attendee’s homes or businesses, they’re a reminder of your products or services.
The giveaways you choose depend on your budget. You can put your branding on nearly any item, from snacks to clothing. They key is to find items that will be fun, memorable, or useful, and that work with your available funds. Have a big budget? Opt for well-made items that attendees might actually use, such as t-shirts or water bottles. If you need to keep things cheaper, go for fun items, such as branded snacks or USB key chains.
Large-Scale Portfolio Items
Usually, you have a short period of time to capture the attention of a person at a trade show. How can you increase your chances? Use some large-scale portfolio items. Signs, banners, and even the walls of the custom trade show booth can be used to show off your work. They give you the chance to wow attendees even before they’ve decided to check out your company. This is especially important if your work is visually oriented.
If you’re a photographer, for example, you can bring people in by blowing up your best photos and displaying them prominently. If you’re a manufacturer, you could create large-scale banners featuring your latest product line. When you’re showcasing products or services, your goal is to give a sense of your work and entice people to engage with you; be sure to choose your best or most evocative pieces.
What happens if your work doesn’t lend itself well to static images? Consider switching to a more video-based display. If you sell services, you might showcase your staff in action. If you sell SaaS services, you could put together a video of a user speeding through tasks that usually take a great deal of time. As long as your items are compelling to the trade show audience, they can be effective.
At a trade show, your employees are an extension of your booth. They don’t need to match your design — though that can be an effective strategy — but they should complement it. That way, you have a consistent visual identity.
As you’re considering how to dress your staff, think about what the attendees are likely to be wearing. Will they be in suits? Business casual? Street clothes? Given that information, how can you help your employees stand out? You might have everyone wear matching polo shirts in your brand’s signature color, for example. If you want to position your company as an expert at a casual show, you might consider dressing booth workers in suits. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that your staff should look professional and put together.
No matter which option you choose, visibility is a crucial consideration. Attendees should be able to identify employees at a glance. That way, if they have a question, they can find someone quickly. When your staff are easy to spot in the crowd, you reduce the risk that an attendee will get frustrated and walk next door to your competitor.
Snacks and Drinks
Trade shows are exhausting, both for employees and attendees. After a long day of talking to exhibitors and walking through huge conference halls, your potential customers need refreshment. You can help by providing snacks and drinks in your booth. Ideally, you want something that’s easy to consume but doesn’t make a mess. Think single-serve sodas or waters and packaged snacks. Have a bigger budget? You can take it a step further by renting coffee equipment and hiring a barista for the day.
If you’re offering refreshments, make sure that your employees are making the most of them. Encourage them to circulate through the area, chatting with attendees and figuring out who might be a valuable business contact for the company. There’s no need to swoop in on anyone who grabs a drink — simply mingle, enjoy a drink, and chat. This casual setting can make it easier to make connections.
Space for Relaxation and Networking
As you’re designing a custom trade show booth, it’s easy to focus on the practical applications for the space. You need places to show off your wares and meet with potential clients. If you have extra space, consider setting aside an area that’s dedicated to relaxation or networking. That way, your booth automatically becomes a gathering place for attendees. They’ll come to rest their feet, speak to colleagues, or make contacts with other people.
In order to make your lounge space attractive, it’s important to lay off on the hard sells. You might extend your signage into the area and ask employees to circulate occasionally, but don’t treat it as aggressively as you do the main booth area. That way, people feel comfortable stopping in to rest for a few minutes.
Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd — when people at a trade show see others gathering, they’re automatically curious about what’s happening. That’s why it makes sense to create a demonstration space. Periodically throughout the day, you can use the space to demonstrate your products or services. Demonstrations are like performances; they give attendees a low-commitment way to engage with your company. If they’re interested, they can stick around to chat and learn more. If not, they can opt to leave, which saves time for your staff.
When you’re creating a demo space, it’s important to find an area that allows people to gather. You might set up a spot just inside the booth, so people can stop in without blocking the aisle. Consider creating a raised stage; this ensures that everyone can see your employees while they’re showcasing your products. Make sure there’s enough space for the workers, equipment, and supplies.
A custom trade show booth is an exciting opportunity for your business — it gives you access to a huge pool of potential customers and professional contacts. With a clever, well-designed custom trade show booth, you can attract more people and bring in more leads.