Written by Skyline Exhibits
Skyline has a wealth of experience, knowledge, and resources that we are eager to share with first-time exhibitors.
From figuring out how to communicate your company’s message effectively to choosing the right seating arrangement, we have lots of tips and tricks to make your first time exhibiting a success. Let’s get started!
Identify Your Goals
It’s hard to say if your first trade show was a success if you don’t know what you wanted to accomplish by attending. Before you head to your first show, sit down with your team to talk about what you want to get out of it.
Some examples of goals you might want to set include:
- Gain a certain amount of followers on social media
- Generate a certain number of sales leads
- Connect with a certain number of professionals in your industry
No matter what your goals are, make sure they are specific and measurable. Otherwise, it will be difficult to determine whether or not they were met.
Design an Eye-Catching Exhibit
Once you know what your goals are for your upcoming trade show, you need to create an exhibit that helps you achieve them.
From portable displays to custom island exhibits, there are plenty of case studies that illustrate the importance of a great display. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your exhibit space:
- Make the exhibit interactive: Include games, touch-screen displays, giveaways, etc. so people have a reason to stop by and engage with you.
- Share your message effectively: Your messaging should be brief, big (so people can read it from far away), and easy to understand.
- Use negative space: Don’t overcrowd your signs or other parts of your display; negative space is your friend.
- Use quality images: If your images are grainy or blurry, they’ll detract from the appearance of your display and reduce your impact.
- Use consistent branding: Use colors, fonts, etc. that align with your other marketing materials; this makes it easier for people to recognize you and connect to your brand.
Not confident in your design skills? Don’t be afraid to contact one of our design professionals with years of experience creating trade show displays.
Attending trade shows can produce great results for your business, but only if you invest in a quality display first.
Recruit the Right Team Members
A good-looking display is a must for trade show success. However, it’s also important to think about who is going to man your booth and promote your business during the event.
When deciding who will attend the trade show and represent your brand, consider the following:
- Don’t rely on rookies: Send knowledgeable, experienced team members who can answer complicated questions and share key details about your products or services.
- Employ extroverts: Send your most outgoing, extroverted employees. They’ll likely have an easier time drawing people to the exhibit and engaging them in conversation.
- Bring enough people: Don’t expect one or two people to be able to run the exhibit alone for a 2 or 3-day event. Bring enough people so your team members can take breaks and stay focused when they’re on the clock.
Consider multiple specialties, too. Salespeople are important to have at trade shows, but so are other employees like tech specialists, a PR rep, etc.
Get Your Audience Excited
Start promoting your attendance at the trade show far in advance. Here are some ideas to get your audience excited about seeing you there:
- Promote the event on social media
- Host a giveaway and reward winners with free passes
- Advertise the event in your newsletter
- Add a countdown banner to your website
Be sure to give regular reminders about the show, too. Don’t assume one or two social media posts are enough to lock it in people’s minds.
Follow Up Fast
Another key to a successful first trade show is to follow up fast with the people you connected with during the event.
The sooner you send an email or make a follow-up phone call, the more likely the other person is to A) remember you and B) invest in the products or services you offer.
Remember, it’s easy to follow up if you have good lead generation software to work with. Some features to look for in lead generation software include:
- User-friendly interface
- Integrations with other tools (email apps, chat apps, etc.)
- Detailed analytics
- Automation features
Be sure to read reviews from past customers before making a decision, too.
Try These Tips for Trade Shows Today
Your first-time trade show exhibiting can certainly be daunting.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Keep the tips listed above in mind so you can set yourself up for a successful first exhibition.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to trade show exhibiting, and we’ll help you find the right solutions for your business’s needs.
If you need more information on graphics or would like to work with a Skyline consultant, feel free to contact us.
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)
Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items.