How To Set Up A Trade Show Booth

Trade shows and conventions offer businesses and communities the same chance to show the world what they have to offer. That’s why it’s important for small business to put in the effort needed to make a lasting impression.

With hundreds of businesses and thousands of guests, how do stand out? How do you get visitors remembering and talking about your business?

If you’re ready to jump into trade shows without getting lost in the crowd, this guide is for you.

How to prepare for a tradeshow

There is a lot of preparation for trade shows. In fact, it’s recommended that you begin your preparation six months in advance of the show, minimum.

By preparing in advance, you’re ensuring you’ll have time to:

  • Assess the audience
  • Secure registration
  • Begin social media campaigns and promotion
  • Start/ ramp up networking
  • Assess and set goals
  • Ensure a prime booth space (may depend on cost and first come placement)
  • Create marketing material
  • Make assessments of inventory that you’ll promote at show
  • Train/hire staff for trade show engagement
  • Design booth and order supplies

Even before the convention, you can reach out to your target audience through social media. Create an environment of engagement rather than sales. You want the audience to feel more like they’re part of a community and lifestyle, rather than a number.

Environments such as trade shows are, and have always been, a method of forcing the inventors and businesses to strive for better. It’s a push for progress. Start early. Give yourself the time to prepare, because your business can only benefit from it.

How to build a trade show booth

Knowing how to set up a trade show booth that grabs attention and attracts customers to it, is only one half of the equation. You don’t just want to get people to your booth—you want them to remember it afterward.

Here’s what you should be considering:

  • Budget
  • Booth size
  • Your brand
  • Design
  • Type of show
  • Set up/tear down ease

Budget

Budget should be your first concern because it determines everything else. It’s the scope into how much you’ll be able to put into the show, and how much you’ll get out of it.

Here’s what you’ll need to budget for:

  • Social media/ campaigns- time is money, and you may need to hire an expert to get your name out effectively.
  • Marketing materials- materials that you create for promotion of the show, or for the show itself, will need to be included in your budget.
  • Registration- make sure that you’re prepared to pay all the fees, and decide whether you want to pay extra for a good placement on the show floor, if that’s an option.
  • Booth design- decide how much you’re willing to put into the design of your booth. Consider the size of the space allotted, the length of the show, and your potential return on investment.
  • Employees- you’ll need staff for the show. Determine how many you’ll need, and if you need to prepare them. This may mean paying for some training.
  • Day of show needs- remember that your employees need food, water, breaks, and uniforms. They may also need hotel rooms or transportation to and from the show and/or airport. It’s always a great idea to purchase rooms at the hotel where the exhibit is being held, if this is an option.

Booth size

You don’t always have a lot of space to play with. Your booth size and your budget determine what you can do with it.

That being said, cardboard cutouts, banners, portable displays, and other easy decorating materials make it more affordable to create a booth that stands out.

Your brand

Your brand says a lot about you. It’s something all of your marketing efforts should be centered around.

When it comes to trade shows, you need to remain consistent with your brand:

  • Use the same fonts and colors
  • Keep the same style of music you use in your stores
  • Keep your images representative of what you stand for
  • Give those who come by your booth gifts that tie in to your business (ex. a tiny snowboard keychain for snowboard gear company)

Every piece of your presentation should speak to who you are as a business. And if your branding doesn’t already do this, you should work to streamline everything long before you hit the trade show floor.

Design

Budget, show regulations, and booth size may seem limiting to what you can design, but you don’t need to pull out all the stops to be seen across the convention center.

Here are a few ideas for your show booth:

 Ease and affordability:

If you’re attending a quick show and looking for ease and affordability, you can still make an impression with just a few items:

All of these aren’t necessary but having a few to highlight your brand will be sufficient for smaller budgets and shorter shows. Even with a larger budget, flags and banners should be a staple of your display.

Make sure all parts of your display fit together. You want them to create a full image of your brand, rather than simply state your name.

More expression:

Depending on your budget, and the other factors mentioned in this article, you may want to create a more fluid display, focused on interactive elements and immersion.

This doesn’t require an extensive amount of supplies. In fact, some of the most interesting booths are simple.

Here are some ideas:

    • Clothing/ fabric: cover your booth in fabrics your business uses or designs. Make it tasteful, such as a couch upholstered with your fabric. Or construct a small store that looks similar or has the same feel as one of your actual locations.

 

  • Travel: if you’re a hotel, create a bedroom that represents your style. Or put up wall murals that immerse your visitors in one of your locations.
  • Tech: visual aids are key. Give visitors something to play with, especially if your business is focused on virtual reality. Fly drones overhead, or keep them hovering over your booth.
  • Health: set up a medical center. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive but put products on display. Have professionals doing sample exams or consultations. Displays could simply be a flag with a red cross on it, waving high and in good view of traffic.

 

Examples of Incredible Booths

The following examples took their displays to the next level. Many have been able to make huge statements simply by sticking to their brand, using color, and dreaming big.

  • Nickelodeon with theme colors of green and orange, and known for sliming, they created a bold display simply by dangling large cutouts of slime from the ceiling and bathing their entire booth in green light.
  • Artisan by James Hardie- went 3D by creating a large cutout of the front of a home, to welcome visitors to their booth.
  • Hippeas- their display is a cute cardboard hippie van with their logo and colors and a side window to serve their visitors treats.

It doesn’t take a lot to make your brand stand out. You simply have to be conscious and creative.

Type of show

For any show, you should want to impress the crowd with a great booth design. However, certain shows require less than others.

Factors to consider are: common practices for your industry, length of the show and target audience (Business to business vs business to consumer). Look into the previous years of engagement for the trade show you will be attending to see what others have done and strive to outdo them.

Set up/tear down

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to setting up your booth and tearing it down after the show. These include:

  • Length of the show
  • Allotted set up time
  • Size of your booth
  • Budget
  • Transport
  • Manpower

It might not be feasible to set up a huge display that requires ten people and a lot of time to construct, especially if the show lasts only three days.

Remember that every piece you bring has to be transported to and from the show, and will require some level of skill or know-how to set up the pieces where they are designed to go.

Decide how easy you want to make this for your employees working at the show, if they will be the ones setting it up. If you decide on a more elaborate display, you may want to consider hiring a design/set up team or train your team beforehand.

Getting started with Best of Signs

Once you’ve determined your budget and registered for a trade show, you can start focusing on preparing and designing. Keep your focus on your brand and how best to represent it.

One of the trademark ways of representing your brand at a trade show is with an exhibition banner. Brands big and small use them for their flexibility, durability, and affordability.

Best of Signs has the templates, banners, and design tools to create a banner that represents your brand. Start designing your trade show banners, table covers, and more at Best of Signs.

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