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7 Trade Show Tips for Exhibitors to Skyrocket ROI

Once your business decides to exhibit at a trade show, the question becomes how to make the most of that investment. Having your own trade show display can provide unparalleled opportunities to boost brand awareness, build relationships and generate leads. Too often, we see businesses jump into trade show marketing without a solid plan of how to maximize their own potential. Luckily, you don’t have to be one of them. Read on for our top seven trade show tips for exhibitors:

Kick-start your success with major pre-show planning.

Your team should start by determining what your main goals are for exhibiting. It may be the number of leads you want to capture, the number of individual meetings you’d like your sales team to have, or an increase in your brand’s social media following. By determining that, you’ll set your business up to make informed planning decisions and have clear metrics to use when later calculating your ROI.

Once you start the planning, choosing a good booth location on the trade show floor should be top of your list. After all, you don’t want to put in all the cost and effort of attending only to be stuck in the back without much foot traffic. Consider registering early to first come, first serve shows or paying more to be in a highly visible area near the main entrance, near the food stalls, or in your own corner booth.

DesignShop Custom Trade Show Exhibit for Markem-Imaje

Design a striking & interactive trade show display.

The idea is simple: the more visitors you get, the more leads you can capture. But how do you attract more visitors to your trade show exhibit? You have to get creative with your design. After all, the trade show floor can be overwhelming for attendees. That means you’ll need to find a unique, branded way to stand out.

To help, we put together nine creative trade show exhibit ideas to attract visitors with photo examples. Other trade show tips to consider are:

  • Try to engage all the senses. You can do more than just display graphics. Consider adding sounds, videos, textures and even scents that fit your theme.
  • Integrate technology into your display, like adding a social media wall or getting really high-tech with augmented reality.
  • Draw attendees in with the things they want. Incorporate perks like comfortable seating areas with phone chargers and interactive games into your design.

Bring your ideas to life with a full-service exhibit agency.

It’s no easy task to dream up, design and build a stand-out custom trade show exhibit on your own. When looking for an exhibit company, you’ll want to partner with an agency that’s full-service so there’s no room for headaches. A full-service exhibit agency will take care of the design, renderings, build out, regulations, safety codes and accessibility requirements. They'll also keep up-to-date on your branding, timeline and industry trends. With our four-step design process, we take your ideas and turn them into a unique finished product that helps you exceed your trade show goals. That means your team can focus on the fun part - attending the trade show event.

J&K Cabinetry Product Displays by DesignShop

Put the focus on your product with innovative displays.

Do you know people’s number one reason for attending trade shows? For 92% of trade show attendees, it’s to see new products like yours. Trade shows offer a great opportunity to put your product on full display to people with buying power. To do so, we suggest you:

  • Bring small products into view with large graphics or hanging banners, large video screens filled with the product demo and good lighting.
  • Elevate large products with hanging signs or tower displays next to them. You could flip expectations and mount them to your exhibit’s structure for a fresh perspective.
  • Don’t clutter your exhibit with too many products. You want to make an impact that attendees can focus on, not leave them unsure where to look.
  • Turn your exhibit into a set built around the theme of your product, whether that’s an ocean for your boat products or an infant’s nursery for baby toys.

Promote your trade show presence before it even starts.

To make the most of your trade show exhibit, build anticipation and brand recognition beforehand. Check with the trade show organizers about contact information for the registered attendees. Many will let you buy a list so you can start an email marketing campaign. But don’t stop there! Incorporate the event into all your digital marketing efforts by targeting trade show hashtags on social media and search engine keywords for your SEO and PPC campaigns. Consider posting about it on your website and reaching out to anyone your team knows that will be attending the event. At the start of the event, having attendees you already contacted visit your booth will be your best tactic for attracting the attention of more visitors.

Man Going Beyond the Trade Show Booth for Convention Programming

Go beyond your booth to make the most of a trade show.

After all the excitement, planning and promoting leading up to the event, it doesn’t stop there. Successful exhibiting calls for more than showing up with your trade show display on the right day. You can take your presence to the next level by bringing your most personable sales staff. Then leave them to man the booth while you participate in some of the speaking events and other programming. Being a featured speaker or participant in a panel or roundtable discussion will make huge strides in building your brand awareness.

Your team can also increase your ROI by making a planned effort to take photos, videos and gather interviews or quotes that will be valuable post-event. That may mean incorporating video equipment into your exhibit, designating someone on your team with the task or bringing along your marketing department’s photographer/videographer. With the right planning, your trade show presence will translate into future social media posts, blog articles, website content and online gold.

Capture & follow up on more leads with a digital system.

This is the last step to getting truly ahead of your competition. According to EXHIBITOR magazine, less than 70% of exhibitors have any formalized plan or process in place for how to follow up on leads. What’s more, only 28% measure and report the number of leads that ultimately convert to sales. The key to really skyrocketing your trade show display’s ROI is first being able to properly track it.

First, make a plan for what to do with any business cards you get. You don’t want to end up with a huge, confusing stack. Consider having a method to mark the ones that are high-quality leads as you receive them, and an easy way to later input them into a digital system. You’ll thank yourself later for investing in the technology. With a digitalized lead capture system, you can customize the type of information you gather and require attendees to use it in order to receive your giveaway swag. Then your team can easily track and follow up with any trade show leads during or after the event.


With these seven trade show tips for exhibitors, we know you can skyrocket the ROI of your next event. For more display ideas, take a look at some of the custom trade show exhibits we build. If you’d like to discuss how we can help design your next project, click here to contact our team.

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"We were all very happy with the results and got a lot of great comments on the booth; even from our own competition so that’s always a good sign. "

Daniel Heguertty, Sales ExecutiveMaster’s Touch

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