How to Make a Trade Show Booth Stand Out: 7 Epic Tactics

Making one booth stand out of hundreds that may be at a trade show isn’t easy. You need to be ready to get creative....
Natalie Kienzle
June 8, 2022
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Before you can learn how to make a trade show booth stand out, you need to grasp just who that booth is for. Trade show attendees can be a tough crowd. They’re surrounded by booths big and small, each one there to get their attention. Attendees know they are the ones with purchasing power, the ones the exhibitors are trying to woo and amaze. How could you hope to stand out in such a crowd? 

For a trade show booth to stand out, you need to mix things up a bit. These 7 epic tactics can bring attendees to you and away from the competition. 

  1. Building Up Hype 
  2. Invest in Smart Booth Design
  3. Creative Swag
  4. Immersive Experiences
  5. Video and Multimedia Use
  6. The Gimmick
  7. Meeting Attendee Needs

Bring the fun and see the magic happen.

Get the best exposure for your business by learning how to put these trade show tips into use for your exhibit.  

Why You Want to Make Your Trade Show Booth Stand Out

Trade shows are well known for showcasing the latest and most innovative ideas within their respective fields. Whether it's the latest model electric vehicle or the latest ice cream flavor, trade shows can present it. 

According to the Display Wizard Trade Show Report of 2022, the lack of trade shows during the height of the pandemic caused companies to lose out on 55% of their standard new business sales

To make up for those losses, exhibitors need to attract the attention of attendees with buying power and take advantage of face-to-face networking. 

How much can an attractive booth really help with this compared to other trade show tools? Consider what attendees themselves had to say about what attracts them to a booth. 

Successful Methods for Attracting Booth Footfall*

MethodPercentage of Respondents 
Competitions23%
Games11%
Stand-Out Booth48%
Giveaways34%
Social Media Campaign31%
Exclusive Offers19%
Other12%
* Sourced from Display Wizard Exhibitor Survey

Among various types of trade show attractions, an eye-catching booth was the number one thing that brought in initial foot traffic. 

Of course, once you get people you need to work on converting those conversations into leads and sales. A great booth is going to bring potential customers in and get them to stay long enough for you to make the best impression possible. 

how to make a trade show booth stand out showing main aisle of a trade show

How to Make a Trade Show Booth Stand Out

Making a booth stand out is about more than simply adding flashy lights or bright colors. You want to be inviting, not an eyesore that people in attendance would vote ‘Most Tacky’. While some argue there is no such thing as bad publicity - you are there to do business and generate leads, not win visual awards. 

We’ve got seven great tactics for your trade show exhibit that will help you reach your target audiences and get them interested in your products and services. 

1. Build Hype Ahead of Events

Getting people interested in your booth starts before anyone even steps foot on the trade show floor. You want people looking for you when they walk in because they’re already excited about what’s offered. 

This is where you can leverage your current network connections through 

  • Social media
  • E-mail notifications
  • Industry publication ad campaigns (if possible)

Generally speaking, the more interactive your hype methods, the more vested attendees will become in your trade show display. If you are on social media, consider running a poll where future attendees can vote on what swag you should bring. You may also look into the possibility of allowing registered attendees to book appointment windows with your sales representatives. 

The good news here is that even if that person misses their appointment window, you still have contact information that you can follow up on. 

blurred images of lit up trade show booths

2. Invest in Smart Booth Design

In your efforts to bring attention to your booth, good design matters. Certain patterns and colors may draw the eyes’ attention, but be overwhelming enough to discourage someone from actually staying and chatting. 

The same goes for lighting and your use of space. Even if you only have a small spot available, you want to make it as inviting as possible. This may require you to go a bit beyond the standard brand tablecloth and office rack pamphlet display. 

Are such things useful? Of course, you need to get your brand name out there. The problem lies in that the majority of your competition may be doing the exact same thing. How do you stand out in that case?

Allocate some of your trade show budget into ramping up booth design. On the higher end are professionally made set-ups that can be installed for you and made unique for your specific needs. Even if you can’t go that far, consulting with a professional designer can get you on the right track. 

Smart booth designs have a few things in common. 

  • Simple Message: Don’t try to sell people your whole inventory - pick a goal, work it into a simple message, and use it consistently. Complex sales pitches are rarely remembered. Save the specifics for the follow-ups. 
  • Unified Theme: This does not necessarily need to relate to your brand. An exhibitor at a medical trade show may use a sports theme and relate it to a variety of medications that help with everything from joint pain to anxiety. 
  • Humor: A few laughs go a long way when it comes to making a booth memorable. You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian. Even something that just makes people crack a smile can get you the leads you’re looking for. 

Other aspects of booth design, such as color schemes or the use of LED lighting, should all be carefully considered. Smart booth design has a purpose, and you want to make sure that it aligns with your trade show goals. 

3. Get Creative With Swag

The typical swag found at a trade show will include branded pens, maybe some coffee mugs, or the ever-favorite button pin. Now, consider what happens to these items. 

Everyone offers pens. These go home and end up in people’s junk drawers and then get lost at grocery stores - there is no lead-generating power here.

In choosing what swag to use as giveaways, quality over quantity is the better way to go. Make your swag unique and useful. The goal is to get people to see it and come to recognize your brand during and after a trade show. 

To choose the right things, you can take into consideration the time of year or geographic location. Consider some of these examples.

  • Refillable water bottles: These get used again and again, even during the show itself. It's more immediately practical than something like a coffee mug. 
  • Large Totes: If you give out the biggest bag, then everyone else's giveaways can fit inside, leaving your brand on display rather than the competition’s.
  • Trucker Hats and Sunglasses: These are especially good if portions of a show are being held outdoors where they can come in handy. 
  • Ponchos: For events held where rain is frequent, like Seattle or Miami, providing something that keeps people dry is a win.  
  • Mini-kits: Easily customized to attendee needs, these can include simple convenience items such as band-aids, ibuprofen, and hand sanitizer. 
  • Sample products: If your company has a certain product, provide samples. This can give people a better idea of what you offer and can even be a way to unload some obsolete inventory that has piled up during the pandemic. 

Make sure you get everything branded. If it's a slightly unusual item, like the mini-kits, consider stickers or stamps of your brand that can be added on without professional assistance. 

Also, be sure to hold back a few choice items for special visitors like long-standing clients that you want to keep happy. It could be for people who purchase or sign up for your service right away. 

booths being set up at a trade show

4. Provide an Immersive Experience

Creating an experience for people that visit your booth is going to help them remember your brand more easily. 

This can be done through interactive games such as live raffles or scavenger hunts. It can also be done via product demonstrations. If attendees are able to interact with the products during such demonstrations, even better. 

Immersive experiences can also be incorporated into trade show booth design. Is there a seating area where someone can speak directly with a sales rep? Is there space to walk around and perhaps see visuals of your product or service? 

Take advantage of face-to-face interactions and makes sure people’s first impressions are good ones. 

5. Press Play on Video and Multimedia Use

Like smart booth design, the use of video or other multimedia tools taps into using visual appeal. Now that live events are back, it’s become one of the big draws of trade show events. People can see for themselves how something works. 

However, the case may be that you have a product or service that can’t be easily demonstrated live. A video would then be the only way to bring that experience to potential clients. The other fun option could be a VR test run. 

Let’s say you’re at a trade show for building and construction. Your company is set to reveal its latest high-rise crane. You could provide a VR experience for clients who want to know what it’s like to sit in the operating chair of such a vehicle. 

This option can get costly, but it's important to choose video and multimedia options of high-quality images and sound. A well-produced video can also have a life beyond a trade show, so it’s a worthwhile investment.  

view of people walking towards lens in an aisle

6. Don’t be Above the Gimmick

Roll your eyes if you will, but gimmicks come into play for a reason - they work. The trick is to not overuse it or make it something overly serious. 

Presenting at a fashion and beauty show? Check into the local animal shelters to ‘borrow’ well-behaved pets available for adoption and kit them out with a company bandana for a photo booth. You’ll get people flocking to pet puppies and might even help someone find a new best friend while snagging yourself some new clients.  

Have a big booth at the Sweets & Snacks Expo? Have a blind taste test contest and get attendees to compete against each other. 

Medical Expo? Bust out the classic game of ‘Operation’ and let people play while telling them about the top-notch surgical tools provided by your company. 

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. 

7. Find Ways to Meet Attendee Needs

As fun and informative as trade shows can be, they can also be exhausting. Your sales reps might not have a choice but to grin and bear it, but tired attendees tend to disappear after a time. 

Having a space where an attendee can get their second wind provides an opening for sales reps to have meaningful conversations. 

Depending on how much booth space you have, there are a few options.

  • Charging Stations: Rather than hand out portable power banks that people can grab and walk with, have a simple charging area set up that encourages them to stick around. 
  • Make seating available: A small armchair or set of stools can get people off their feet to relax for a time. Seating at trade shows tends to be in short supply so the gesture is usually appreciated. 
  • Provide refreshments: A cool bottle of water or granola bar can perk people up enough to keep going. Brand awareness can still be achieved by adding stickers or stamps to snack items

Meeting needs in practical and considerate ways can help people associate your company and brand with good emotions. Getting potential clients to feel good about your company is half the battle, especially if competition is fierce. 

Rule The Room With Help from Trade Show Shipping Services

Now you’ve got all these great ideas for your next trade show booth, but you still need to get there. Trade Show Shipping can get your whole booth and your swag to any show in the United States. 

We’ve helped freight ship and set up trade show booths in every industry, from bridal shows to heavy equipment and machinery. 

Our experienced consultants can provide you with advice on carriers, shipping methods, and more. As part of our value-added services, we also provide:

  • Storage
  • Detention
  • Drop trailers
  • Debris removal

Call us today at (866) 415-8986 to speak with someone directly or get an online quote now. Make your next trade show a memorable one with Trade Show Shipping, powered by R+L Global Logistics. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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