4 Common Trade Show Mistakes To Avoid

trade show mistakesWhether you’ve grown up attending trade shows your whole life or haven’t experienced a single one, putting on a trade show of your own is a lot more challenging than it appears to be. With everything from coordinating whom to hire to finalizing displays, the planning alone may feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, learning from the mistakes of others is one of the best ways to get on top of your game. If you’re not sure how to make your tradeshow an absolute hit, take care to avoid these four common trade show mistakes:

1. Choosing the wrong show

One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they either choose the first trade show they see that’s somewhat related to what they do or they sign up for every show on the list. When mapping out which trade shows to attend, remember: quality is always better than quantity. Sure, any show can help you stand out, but you probably won’t have much success getting people interested in your custom BBQ sauce if it’s a trade show focused on improving the environment.

The same goes for attending the biggest and most popular tradeshows. If your company is on the small side, a top trade show could get your name out there. However, your name could also get lost among the big box companies. Before choosing the first trade show that pops up, research which other companies are attending. You want to make sure the trade show is going to directly help your business goals and not waste your time and resources.

2. Hiring the wrong spokespeople

The people manning your booth are responsible for not only selling your product but also for representing your brand. Whom you choose will directly impact how successful your trade show experience is. One of the best ways to make sure that someone will represent your brand well is by choosing someone who knows a lot about your business/product – and truly believes in it.

A common mistake that most people make when hiring people to represent their company is that they simply go with the people with good communication skills. Although communication is very important, finding someone who loves your business/product ensures their pitch won’t sound fake or rehearsed. In a place where everyone is trying to sell, authenticity will go a long way and help you stand out from the others.

3. Talking more than selling

Building relationships with customers is a big part of running a business – but keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to get people to believe in your product. It’s easy to get caught up in creating relationships with consumers, and it’s not necessarily a waste of time; just make sure those relationships include your products or service. At the end of the day, the consumer should feel a genuine connection with the company as a whole.

4. Not having a definite goal

Another big mistake in preparing for a trade show is failing to make a concrete goal. Whether it’s setting a number for the email addresses retrieved or reaching a certain number of social media follows, deciding on a clear goal is a critical component of having a successful trade show. Simply setting a vague goal such as “increasing customer base” or “improving brand awareness” without attaching measurable metrics to it is not very effective.

Having a specific, concrete goal will not only motivate the company to strive for an actual number but also allow you to target certain areas in your business model that you want to improve. For example, if there’s a lack of awareness about the function of the product, it would be a good goal to have a certain increase of viewers on your YouTube channel for demos. That way, your goal can help tackle the root of the problem. The data you collect during the show will determine what was accomplished – and what to work on improving for your next show.

When it comes to having a successful trade show, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. However, by coming in fully armed with a good sense of what to do and what not to do, you’re setting yourself up for success. Now that trade show planners know what not to do, you’re already one step ahead of the game.


How To Efficiently Integrate Business Cards Into Your Tradeshow

Business card hand-offWhile business cards may seem like an optional addition to your trade show, if done right, they can be very significant to your success at the event. This small detail can not only expand your business but also keep your company’s name at the top of potential clients’ minds. Whether you’re making your own business cards or having them made, make sure to read through these tips on integrating them into your trade show.

The Design

The key idea here is: the simpler the card, the better. More often than not, business cards are the last step to hooking a client to your company. Rather than being a promotional tool used to convince the potential customer to try out your brand, they are used as an informational note to help the customer reach out to your brand when they decide to do so. With this in mind, it makes sense that the best route to go when designing your business card is to make sure that it is clean, clear and easy to read.

What To Include

The best business card designs will have the least amount of information. Since most people just want to quickly find the information they need, a simple phone number, address and email in addition to your company name and logo should be more than enough. Anything else will just act as clutter, which may lead to people not bothering to read through the card at all.


What you have to say is extremely important, but how you say it can make or break the success of your business card. When it comes to font, choose one that is clear and easy to read. While fancy cursive fonts may seem to be aesthetically appealing, unless the font is part of your company logo, we advise staying away from these types as they can be hard to read.

Color Scheme

When it comes to color, it’s best to stick to no more than two or three colors. Maintain a simple color scheme, in line with the simple design, to keep people from getting a headache. You may use color to emphasize certain bits of information on your card and to help it stand out from the others in your client’s stack.


Pictures on a business card provide a visual for your company that people can later use to remember you and your business. While most attendees will have seen your logo, it’s easy for logos to blend together after visiting dozens of booths. A picture will provide more context and better differentiate your brand. Be careful when choosing a photo to include, as it will represent your brand when you’re not there to do so. The picture should be intertwined with either your brand name or the essence of your business for easy recognition.

The Presentation

While the design of your business card is a key component to its success, how you integrate it into your trade show is equally critical. You want to stand out from the dozens of other businesses that a person might interact with at the event. Your business card should be the link between the conversation you have with potential clients and their taking steps to follow up with you.

Hand It to Them

Although this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people just leave business cards on the table for others to grab. The truth is, it’s likely passersby won’t pick up your card for whatever reason. Get around this by putting the cards into their hands yourself so they’re more likely to associate it with the person behind it and not just a faceless advertisement for your business.

The handoff should be the closing statement to your pitch. Have a conversation with the person, and then present your business card as an invitation to reach out to you. By saying things such as “Don’t hesitate to call me for any questions” or “Here’s where you can find some more information,” it will make the customer feel as though he or she has the power to either begin or end this business relationship rather than being forced to listen.

Briefly Explain the Content

Accompany your handoff with a brief explanation of the information that is on the business card. Pointing to where the information on the card can be found will get the potential customer to actually look at the card itself, helping solidify the connection they make between it and your business.

Although business cards may seem like a thing of the past, they are in fact an important asset in creating long-term relationships with potential customers. A business card will not only provide a physical reminder of your company name, but it can also act as a personal invitation for the customer to get to know your brand. Even if it does end up at the bottom of a bag, at least you can say that you didn’t forget to hand out the invitation.


Top Qualities To Look For in a Trade Show Host

Trade show hostWhile having the perfect trade show display is an important part of a successful trade show booth, the person inside the booth is just as integral. At the end of the day, this person is responsible not only for selling your product or service but also for representing the image of your brand. While most people love a good product or service, they may change their minds if they get a negative first impression from the person representing your business. If you’re not sure how to find your perfect trade show booth host, read on for some qualities you’ll want the person to have.

Confident, Articulate & Knowledgeable

While it may seem obvious, it’s critical that the person inside your booth is able to speak up. Many people will pass by a booth unless they’re approached first. In order to draw the consumers in, you need a representative who isn’t afraid to approach individuals and pique their interest. You never want the person manning your booth to be shy or hesitant to reach out.

In addition, the face behind your booth should be someone who is both confident and articulate. He or she needs to be able to get your message across quickly and clearly – so you’ll also want the person to have in-depth knowledge about your business and products or services. When people are well-versed in what they’re saying, they won’t be as prone to ramble on and on, losing their audience’s attention. While your booth representative may not have every answer to questions that arise from trade show attendees, if the individual is confident and articulate, he or she will be sure to get the message across and make a lasting impression.

Believes in the Product/Service

The most convincing people are the ones who use the product or service themselves. This is one of the most overlooked qualities when looking for someone to man a trade show booth. When considering your options, be sure to choose someone who not only knows a lot about what you’re offering but also can truly advocate for it. Many companies make the mistake of hiring the person with the best resume without considering his or her knowledge or beliefs regarding the brand. Nothing beats the passion behind genuine interactions. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing tactics, so having someone with personal experience with your brand will make it that much more convincing, and his or her pitch will feel much more natural than a forced or staged speech.

Personable With a Sense of Humor

The truth of the matter is, what it takes to attract trade show attendees may be as simple as a friendly smile. The ideal trade show host should be personable and have a sense of humor. The individual shouldn’t simply come off as someone selling a product/service; he or she should feel like a friend who’s sharing the good news about a discovered brand. These charismatic people are exactly the type of people you want inside your booth.
The person you choose to man your trade show booth can have an enormous effect on the success of your business. Be sure to consider all your options, and think outside the box on who might best fit the bill. Keeping these qualities in mind when choosing your trade show staffing is sure to deliver a successful – and fun – trade show!


Clichés to Avoid at Your Trade Show Booth

Trade shows and conventions can be a marvelous experience with the large number of booths, vendors, and merchandise available. Seeing these cool booths can motivate you to host a table booth of your own, but be careful to avoid committing these common mistakes and cliches. You don’t want your booth to become that booth with a negative rap. This can cause attendees to avoid your booth. Some people may even take their negative opinion of your booth online, perpetuating your booth’s bad name, warning others to avoid it. Here are the six most common clichés to avoid at your trade show booth.

Free Stuff Frenzy
Everyone loves free stuff, but not when it burdens them with useless clutter. Avoid handing out too much free stuff at your trade show booth, especially items that serve no use or purpose. Only give out one or two items at most. Limit your free gifts to simple and useful stuff like lanyards or tote bags, but skip out on keychains, plush toys, and rubber wristbands. Giving out large numbers of free products will also outshine your actual products available at your booth. You might find attendees stopping by your booth just to nab the free stuff and move on without taking a look at your actual products and services.

Loud Music
You don’t need loud music to get the attention of attendees if you are already presenting great and unique products and services at your booth. Often times, loud music drives away customers since they can’t discuss their opinions about your products with one another. They might have trouble focusing with a speaker blasting into their ears. Loud music also tends to be a conversation killer and customers won’t be able to ask your booth employees questions about the items for sale. Not only can loud music annoy, but it is often against trade show floor rules, and for a good reason. The trade show might even charge a fee for blasting ear-bleeding music.

Small Talk Chatter
It can be friendly and polite to chat with customers and answer their questions, but let’s cut to the chase. They know you are there to sell them products and services, so chatting them up with endless small talk can scare them away. Customers have a limited amount of time to shop and look through all the booths and vendors at the trade show, so they don’t want to spend too much time with someone that will talk their ear off about the weather or if they have seen any movies recently. Ask them one or two small talk questions, but make sure to quickly move onto the important topic at hand which is your products and merchandise. Maybe limit small talk to simple conversations like asking if they’re having fun at the trade show.

Gimmicks Galore
Trade shows may display booths with tons of gimmicks employed. Some of the time these gimmicks include spokesmen and women who know little about the products, services, or merchandise. Sometimes you might see them in costumes, often times irrelevant to the merchandise being sold. Skip these gimmicks since they can distract potential customers from your merchandise. Don’t hire jugglers, fire breathers, and especially female models. Even if the gimmick is relevant to your merchandise, it can still seem ridiculous. For example, everyone is laughing at the booth who hired a guy in a monkey suit handing out free bananas to promote their new banana scented body lotion.

Topical Theme Topper
You may be tempted to jump on a hype train or explosive trend, such as slapping a unicorn theme onto your financial counseling services booth because the new hit thing is unicorn themed products. In reality, these two topics are completely irrelevant to each other and end up falling flat or gimmicky. Be honest with your merchandise and services and avoid topical themes that have a shelf life. This may not be winning over potential customers. In fact, they might avoid your booth if it is sending a message not aligned with the company.

Logic Trumps Creativity
Each trade show will give vendors and booths a pre-determined amount of space, which is wonderful. They might help you set up or provide your booth with free tables and chairs for your employees. Make sure to utilize this space in an efficient and organized manner to ensure customers and attendees don’t get confused while they’re browsing. Avoid making your booth design and layout too complex, but also don’t make it too simple that it fails to catch the eyes of attendees. It should be well organized, attractive, and appealing. Avoid cluttering the space with fixtures and large signs, as this will cut into the space available for your products. Don’t go too crazy with rainbow banners and setting down products willy nilly. This will make it difficult for customers to find products and for your employees to search for them. Keep it simple, but not so simple that it is just a table with a plain black table cloth and a sign. A little effort and attention can go a long way!

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How to Inspire Attendees to Remain at Your Trade Show Booth

Simply setting up a booth at a trade show and expecting to achieve leads toward successful sales is a waste of time unless effort is put into attracting people to the booth, then engaging in meaningful discussion with them while there. The following are tips to assist you to persuade trade show attendees to stop at your booth and to remain long enough for you to get your message across.

1. Ask people what they need from you

When someone stops at your booth, they will have an interest in your business or your organization and will want to learn more. Discover what interests. Rather than explaining what your company does, ask them what they’re looking for. Listen carefully to their answers. Determine how best you can address their needs and explain to them clearly how you can do so, without any confusing or overly detailed industry jargon they may not understand. If it appears you cannot supply their needs, try finding a way in which you might be able to do so. You may come up with a solution that will work well, but which the inquirer had not considered.

2. Be personable in order to connect with the inquirer

Treat the person who approaches you as a friend or a neighbor rather than a potential client. Try to come across as someone that is relatable and welcoming. Above all, try to avoid coming across as a salesperson, desperate to sell your product or service at all costs. Try to come across rather as someone who is genuinely concerned about the inquirer’s needs and how you can be of assistance to that person.

3. Provide a sample or a demonstration of your service or product

To attract people to stop by your booth and talk to you, it helps to have a free sample relating to your product or service that you can hand to them. As you hand it to them, or as they take it from your booth, engage them in conversation by asking how they might use the product or what they think of it. A demonstration tends to attract trade show goers, too. Once you have a small group of people watching the demonstration, it encourages others to stop by, too.

4. Anticipate people’s questions

Consider what people might want to know about your product or service. They might wonder, for example, how well it works, how much it costs, or what it can achieve. Make sure that you know your product or service so well that you can answer any question immediately. The last thing you want is to look flustered when a question arises and you do not know the answer or have to consult someone else at the booth to ascertain it.

5. Keep products always on display

If you provide a number of different products or provide a variety of services, make sure that people passing by your booth will be able to see them. Some attendees might be looking for a specific product or service; if they do not see it at your booth, they will assume you do not provide it.

6. Invite people to interact with your products or displays

You might want attendees to try out a product that you offer; people can connect with interaction more so than what they hear or see. If such interaction is not possible because of the nature of your product or service, consider a brief quiz with a prize, a contest or similar tactic that will enable them to interact in some way with your product or service.

7. Build a booth with a theme

Relate your booth in some way with your business. It might be by using the colors on your logo, models or pictures of your product or service, or an attractive design. Above all, your booth should represent the nature of your business and look different from those around it. A booth for a bank, for example, clearly should look different from that of a business that provides clowns for children’s parties.

8. Look professional

Although casual dress is accepted in most workplaces, it always helps to dress respectfully when representing your company at a trade show, particularly if you have a business or service that provides professional services, such as financial consulting or legal services.
Dress up rather than down and prove to attendees you mean business!


The Benefits to Using Video at Your Trade Show Booth

There are plenty of ways to generate interest at a trade show booth, but video is a top choice. Discover the many benefits of using videos to attract eyes and make an impression both before, during and after the trade show.


It Generates Interest

A video can generate interest in advance of the trade show itself. Once the video is made, it can be shared through email contacts or social media. If trade show attendees see the video in advance, they are more likely to make their way to the booth to learn more. Videos can also roll in advance of a live presentation as a way of piquing interest and drawing in a larger crowd.


Resonates with a Viewing Culture

For many people, certain mediums are preferable to others. In today’s world, viewing videos is largely preferable to verbal speeches or to written text. Hundreds of millions of people watch videos online each and every day, and doing so is familiar to them. It also initiates communication, which means that people can watch the video then interact with a presenter at the trade show booth.


Videos Can Be Creative

Another great benefit of using videos at a trade show booth is the opportunity to be creative. The traditional dynamic of a trade show booth can be static. For frequent attendees and those within certain industries, particular trade show booths run the risk of repeating information that has already been heard. The right video, however, can change that image entirely. Companies have the opportunity to be creative and empower their brand with videos, and it can add plenty of flair and excitement to an otherwise ordinary booth.


Embraces Modern Technology

Many companies want to embrace a progressive and tech-savvy image. One of the ways to showcase that a business is on the cutting edge is to use implement effective marketing techniques. There are plenty of ways to do that, and video is a prime example. Ensure the video is in a position to resonate with viewers with a high production value. This also highlights professionalism and ensures that the video accurately represents the modern nature of the business.


Videos are Eye-Catching

A major goal of many trade show booths is to attract visitors and attendees. Videos can attract people in even the busiest of environments. At a trade show, there is a lot of competition for attention. With so much to see, a video can set your booth apart from your competitors and neighboring booths.


Great Source of Entertainment

Videos are an excellent marketing tool, and they can be educational, in addition to being a lot of fun! A fun video can shake up the typical trade show routine, add some visual interest and make the booth a more appealing place to visit.


Clearly, there are many benefits to using video at a trade show booth. Videos can be entertaining, eye-catching and creative. They also resonate with the viewing culture, embrace modern technology and generate interest. Increase brand awareness with a video that speaks to your guests and trade show attendees!