The Top 5 Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid as an Exhibitor

Every single year, thousands of trade shows and exhibitions take place in the U.S., allowing businesses, inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups to showcase their products or services to potential investors, partners, and consumers. It’s a great way to launch a new product or service (or a franchise) into international success. It all starts with an educational and interactive display that gets the exhibit hall attendees excited.

However, there is a lot that goes into trade show etiquette, which is why you want to ensure the next time you show up to an exhibit hall, you won’t make these mistakes.

Here are the top 5 trade show blunders to seriously avoid:

1) Lack of Sufficient Staff

Nothing is more unprofessional to conference attendees than your exhibit booth not having sufficient staff present. People have questions they want to ask, information they want to know, and demonstrations they want to see. If you send one person to represent your business and 2 or more people want to learn about it, the remaining bystanders are going to end up walking away and passing up your business. Remember: they want intimate, one-on-one attention.

2) Last-Second Preparedness

A lot goes into the coordination and presentation of a trade show exhibition, which is why it is not something you will want to put off until the 11th hour. From the banners and pop-up displays, to the digital tools and handouts, if you wait until the last second, you’re going to end up paying thousands in rush-order fees. It’s just not worth it!

3) Overwhelming Displays

People are inundated with information from the moment they wake up — they don’t want to show up to your exhibit booth and feel overwhelmed by the displays. If there is text everywhere, plastered all over every piece of content, where are they to focus their attention? What is the ultimate point of the product? Keep it on-point, on-message, and digestible for the average person.

4) Lack of Passion from Temp / For-Hire Staff

More businesses are considering outsourcing the representation of their trade show to a staffing company. However, one of the worst things you can do is have individuals with no industry experience or passion representing your product. Only you and your team can do that, and, yes — the people at these trade shows can spot passion (or lack-there-of).

5) Repeat Materials

Many trade show attendees attend a given trade show multiple years in a row. They will start to notice if you recycle your materials; not to mention, the styles and designs will begin to appear aged. You don’t want to come off as cheap, which is why it’s worth sprucing content up for each new trade show.

ExhibitDay: Trade Show Management

We know that preparing for a trade show, measuring its effectiveness, and organizing the whole event can be stressful. ExhibitDay provides the free tools you need to track and manage all of your exhibits, and focus on results.

8 Reasons Why it’s Important to Exhibit at a Trade Show

It takes a lot of time, money, and energy to create a successful and attractive exhibit booth at a trade show. Plus, you may have to travel a long distance to get to the conference venue, and training your employees and sales staff on properly projecting the image of your brand can be overwhelming.

Your trade show exhibit strategy must be based on a well-developed plan which achieves the marketing objectives of your business. Otherwise, the exhibit can be a failed investment that does little to help with your business goals.

Exhibiting at a trade show is a powerful marketing strategy that can quickly advance your business by earning you more brand-awareness, leads and customers — especially if you’re introducing a new and innovative product or service.

So, why is it important for your business to exhibit at a trade show?

1) Capturing Leads

Trade shows give you the opportunity to generate leads for your business. You just need to request contact information from exhibit hall attendees (so that you can contact them again in the future with your promotional materials). When attendees walk by your booth, connect with them, tell them about your products and offerings, ask for a business card or have them fill out a small questionnaire.

2) In-Person Marketing

Potential clients like to see a face attached to a brand. Trade shows allow clients to finally meet company founders, leaders or representatives and talk to them for the first time. This is a great way of winning over a potential customer and turning them into a real, life-long client.

3) Brand Promotion

Big corporations and small businesses can benefit from promoting their brand at trade shows. There are plenty of interested consumers walking around looking for the next great product to purchase. A simple standard exhibit booth (10’ x 10’ in size) is typically good for establishing product displays and kiosks.

4) Making Sales

Thousands of people attend trade shows because they’re looking for a new product or service that will solve their problems. If you happen to showcase the product or service they are looking for, you may be able to generate more than just leads at a trade show. You may generate actual sales from new customers who you would otherwise may not have been able reach.

5) Analyzing the Competition

Trade shows create a rare opportunity for you to snoop around and see what your competitors are doing at their exhibits. You can even pose as an interested customer by asking questions from your competitors at their exhibit stands. Study their answers and overall presentation because they can inadvertently provide ideas on how to conduct your own exhibit.

6) Introducing a New Product or Service

Trade shows are mostly about introducing the latest and greatest products or service offerings to a targeted audience of professionals in an industry. This can be more effective than online or print advertising because there is a live audience that gets to witness your product or service in person. If you’re selling something tangible, then the audience is bound to see it up close and experience it first-hand.

7) Building Business Relationships

Trade shows are not all about trying to outdo other competing businesses. Sometimes, you find partners or other companies that can actually help your business succeed. For instance, if you own a manufacturing company and connect with a logistics company at the trade show, then you have found a potential company to build a business relationship with; as a result, the logistics of getting your products from the manufacturing line to the retail line will get a whole lot easier that way.

8) Gathering Customer Feedback

You will receive direct and honest feedback from your target audience at trade shows. This is unlike online feedback (where people can often be trolling, or be insincere in their remarks). As a business owner, you will want to hear this honest feedback because it will help you introduce better products or services for your customers in the future.