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Avoid These Obvious (But Often Overlooked) Mistakes at Trade Shows

July 21, 2020

Sometimes, between prepping for a big trade show and coordinating all the various moving parts of people and materials and technology, we make rookie mistakes that can cost us dearly. Check out this list of common, easily fixable mistakes that exhibitors make and do your best to avoid them.

1. Wrong Sized Booth  

Your booth size makes a big impression – too big and it looks empty and sad and wanting; too small and attendees feel cramped and passersby don’t want to enter. It’s simple: make sure your booth floor space suits your staff, your products, your demos and any tech, and has room for attendees. If your business is growing, that’s a good thing. Up your space. Try an island exhibit so there’s more flow or a bigger booth that has an open floor plan. Whatever you do, don’t start off the trade show with the wrong size of booth and turn off your potentials immediately.

2. Difficult Navigation

Are your attendees bumping into the table in the middle of your booth? Crammed in the corner waiting on the kiosk? Having to maneuver around an awkward display? Trying to squeeze through a small opening that serves as both an entrance and an exit? I hope not! Once you’ve determined the correct size of your booth, the layout and design will be crucial in helping your clients and customers navigate it. Lighted pathways, special flooring, and highlighted entry and exit points can direct your booth traffic where you want with a natural flow. Think about the specifics of your booth – what do YOU want your visitors to experience? Now lead them there seamlessly.

3. Poor Product Display and Storage

Visual display is everything at a trade show. If your products are displayed sloppily or are not stored to be easily accessible, it’s a turn off. It communicates that you haven’t taken the time or effort to do it right, which also subconsciously communicates something about your business. You probably have lots of great products -- maybe too many for the space you have. Don’t pile them up; store them. Skyline’s Tablox Table System acts as an element of your display – a desk, a counter, a work station, a product display – while storing and hiding items you don’t want out front.

4. Graphic Clutter

Does your booth have so much to look at that your attendees are not going to know where to look? Too many images, words, and graphics are overwhelming to the senses. And remember that the trade show is already overwhelming to many people. The noise and people and new products and decisions and sheer volume of information is daunting. So make your booth calm and welcoming and easy to manage visually. Choose one or two big, clear main messages for your visitors to see, and make sure the font is powerful and related to your brand. Instead of a collage of pictures, which can confuse a potential, choose a few impactful, meaningful photos and make them large and exciting.

5. Booth Clutter

No one plans to have clutter in their booth, and yet it happens. A water bottle in the middle of the product display table. A stack of papers by the registration desk. Someone’s jacket thrown over a chair in the booth. All these small items wreck the clean, smooth lines of your booth. Prepare an out-of-sight place ahead of time for staffers to leave and store their snacks, phones, personal items. Encourage and remind them to use the designated space instead of the booth surfaces. It’s just more professional and it communicates care.

All of these mistakes are obvious and fixable, yet we still see them at every trade show. Be sure you aren’t making these common mistakes so that your guests have their best experience in your booth and walk away satisfied and delighted.

This article was inspired by "The Biggest Mistakes Exhibitors Should Avoid at Trade Shows" by Briquelle Neyens and first appeared at skyline.com

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