For many businesses, trade show contacts can lead to some of their biggest deals of the year. That makes trade shows a thrilling opportunity, but with so many expectations resting on these events, figuring out how to set yourself apart from the competition can also be overwhelming. Not only do you need to wow potential clients with your products, you need to be able to stand out in a convention center full of colorful displays in order to attract people to your booth in the first place.
Customers walking the aisles past all the displays at a trade show are like cars driving past billboards on the highway. Which ones do they notice? Which ones do they remember? Our advice is to aim for the simple, the unique, and the eye-catching.
1. Keep Headlines Simple
Like the billboard example, you have mere seconds to make your audience want to learn more about your product. The headline you choose for your display needs to capture their attention in ten words or less. The shorter you can make it, the larger you can display it. While it may be tempting to opt for a fancy font that matches your product, these fonts can be challenging to read at a glance. Instead, choose a font that is easily read to portray a message that is easy to remember.
2. Balance Your Aesthetics
What is a sign without graphics? A banner with just words, no matter how catchy, looks dull and naked. Add clear images that complement your message but don’t go overboard. A busy sign or booth becomes sensory overload. Attempt to strike a happy medium that piques attention without overwhelming potential clients.
3. Display Your Company Name Front and Center
Have you ever seen a catchy billboard with the name of the advertiser so small you can scarcely read it? This type of mistake at a trade show will cost you the very customers that you are there to win over. Your company name and logo should be at the center of everything in your booth. Wear a company shirt and put logos on signage, brochures, and any swag you may be handing out. Never let customers forget who they talked to about that great new product.
If you don’t yet have a logo, you need one. Not only does it help customers remember and recognize your brand, but it lends credibility to your organization. Established companies have logos. Regardless of where you are in your business journey, you want to look as professional as possible complete with a recognizable logo.
4. Make Your Online Presence Known
There may not be enough hours in the day to talk to every vendor at a crowded trade show. Throughout the day, customers may instead make notes of companies they did not have time to visit. Displaying website and social media information prominently on your exhibit provides a way for them to find out more later about your company and the products that you offer, provided you keep them up to date. Before you attend a trade show, make sure to update all of your online profiles and sites. Be sure that contact information, products, and services are correct and current.
5. Keep Information Short and Sweet
You probably think that your company, your employees, and your products are the best, which may be true. However, customers searching for a great product do not want to read all the details for every vendor they meet. If you write a sophisticated novel about your product on your display, they will likely skip over you.
Limit the information on your display to the essential points. Provide customers with the highlights about what you offer and why it is the best. A couple of well-written sentences or a half dozen bullet points may be all you need to get people interested in what you have to offer. Avoid complicated language or words consumers may struggle to grasp. Give them the short, simple version that everyone will understand.
6. Be Unique
Attendees are seeing so many displays that they may all run into one in their mind, especially if they’ve been at it for a while. Make a memorable impression by doing something with your trade show exhibit that other presenters aren’t. This may include:
• Rise to Greater Heights – If you have limited space to make a big impression, consider expanding your booth vertically. A large sign or visual display that extends up above the booths around you will catch the attention of everyone there. Customers may search for you out of curiosity to see what the big display is all about.
• Light it Up – Lighted trade show graphics are always eye-catching, especially when the light is used in unusual ways. Illusions, holographic images, or even LED furniture uses light in places where people aren’t used to seeing it. At the very least, it will draw attention to your display, but it will likely also draw people in to learn more.
• Make it Interactive – Involving your audience in exploring your product helps get them excited about it. Provide a demonstration, host a game, provide a way for passersby to vote or enter a drawing. People will remember the display where they saw something interesting or participated in something fun, especially if they get to take something away from the experience.
A trade show is your golden opportunity to show people why they need your product or service. A lackluster display will fade away, a poorly executed one will confuse viewers, and an overdone one could scare customers off. Stick to these tips to strike the perfect balance and maximize your trade show opportunity.