Top 10 Booth Marketing Strategies

Trade shows can be fun to exhibit and yet challenging to profit from unless you have the right presentation. To help you boost sales at your industry's trade shows, here are our top 10 booth marketing strategies:

1. Arrive early

Don't wait until the last minute to get to the trade show. It's far better to arrive early (first is good) and get set up right away, which gives you time to prepare for the day and an opportunity to network with other vendors (who might send potential customers your way if you're non-competing businesses). You'll also be ready for early-bird visitors and can start demonstrating right away.

2. Set up lighting

Few things are worse than a poorly lit booth location, so make sure you bring your own lighting. Lamps that output warm, natural light are far more appealing than industrial white lighting.

3. Contrast backgrounds

Your background drops should contrast with your products, so that your products are showcased against them. Avoid patterns that could detract from the fine definition of your products.

4. Arrange to sell

Arrange your booth space to facilitate demonstrations, product views and traffic flow. Keep your area clean and safe without wires or backdrops strewn about the floor. Your booth should appear inviting, not prohibitive or dangerous.

5. Give out brand gear

Pens, Frisbees, notepads, tote bags, hats, T-shirts: There are thousands of promotional items you can slap your name and logo on and give away for branding purposes. Create gift packs to give away to customers who fill out response forms.

6. Give an interactive presentation

Don't just be a simple pitchman (or woman). Instead, put together an entertaining routine that gets the crowd involved to attract interested booth visitors and then get down to business with serious investors.

7. Print marketing

Print signs, posters, displays and takeaways such as brochures and corporate identity kits. Hang posters up around the trade show directing visitors to your booth (if allowed), and use vinyl banners and signs to highlight your floor area. Your booth visitors will expect informational and sales takeaways.

8. Send advance notice

If you can get a list of trade show attendees in advance, put together a direct-mail postcard marketing campaign and send it to your list a few days before the trade show. Remind them that you'll be there and that you have something of interest at your booth they don't want to miss.

9. Take names and numbers ...

... and e-mail addresses and incomes and any other information you can capture. Use response cards and have prospects fill them out in return for your gift pack or some other benefit.

10. Follow up

Not only should you send advance notice and record response, you must follow up with your respondents. Call or e-mail them the following week and let them know you appreciated speaking with them and enjoyed getting to know them. Be specific about your conversation and don't try to pitch to them again. Instead, simply let them know that you'd love to help if they need anything. This is how you begin to build personal relationships. Some marketers employ other attention-getting devices such as money machines and spin the wheel games, but you don't need to incur the expense of these devices when you market your booth as described here. If you can build a reputation for an outstanding product and an entertaining booth, you'll achieve both trade show and business success.