Trade Show Savvy- Are You Doing It Right?


Maybe exhibition shows are right for you and your biz, maybe they aren’t.

Only you can know that. However if you have decided to dip your toes in the water and exhibit at a show for the first time, you need to know you’re probably not the only biz thinking along those same lines.

Exhibitions and trade shows present a wealth of opportunities to promote your brand, products, and services. Statistics say that 87 percent of the attendees will share some information they obtain at an exhibition, and 64 percent will speak about the event with at least six other people.

Also, attendees of exhibitions have a genuine interest in what exhibitors have to offer (why else would attend such an event?), so businesses can use that opportunity to gain valuable leads by effectively branding and marketing themselves.

However, there are a ton of other businesses out there, some of them perhaps even direct competitors within your industry, who have access to the same above stats as you, and who share the same dang vision when it comes to branding and marketing.

A little discouraging, isn’t it?

Nature of the beast though. If you own a business then naturally you will be constantly investigating and strategizing on ways to raise the awareness of your brand, gain visibility within your industry, and attract new business. Things like trade shows and exhibitions are often seen as easy ways to do just that.

Unfortunately when something is seen as easy, it can then become over-saturated. That’s pretty much how I view exhibitions most of the time. A bit like a free for all. But hey, clearly they work or they would not be such a popular go-to strategy.

In my view though, sure you’ll perhaps get some attention, gain a new customer or two, but it may not be the most fun (or effective) little party you’d pictured in your head.

Unless off course, you go the extra mile, and rather than just setting up a table and handing out business cards, you engage in endeavors to really make it fun and really stamp your brand firmly within the minds of the folks drifting through.

Why would you want to do this?

Well, why wouldn’t you?

Given the supremely cluttered state of exhibitions, it’s really only the one who stands out that earns the business.

If you’re goal is to get noticed while literally surrounded by hundreds of competing brands, then you need to enhance your exhibit function and appeal, and you do that by making it super fun and branding the hell out of your booth.

The following are some tips that can be used to spark the interest needed to make your next exhibition event a smashing success rather than a dud.

Custom Build It, Baby

Deciding on a custom style for your exhibition stand is an important factor that will influence the entire look and feel of your little area. Depending on the type of impact you want to make, your choice of the stand can offer different experiences for your audience.

In other words, don’t just set up a table and load it with flyers. That’s boring and not the most effective use of your resources.
Consider your booth an investment, both in money and time. Create accordingly, and make it something that will last and stand the test of time, so you can use it over and over again.

Also, make sure your booth set up is versatile, so that no matter the size space you have to work with, you can set it up and use the space well. You can also utilize things like innovative lighting and bold colors to draw attention your way, as well as dream up cool 3D displays or get creative with electronics.

Digital signage and interactive touch screens have become a hugely popular way to draw people into your creative little web.

Use Custom Mobile Apps

Seems as though there is a mobile app for nearly everything today, and that includes apps for exhibitions, trade shows and conferences.

Exhibitors can use custom apps for their exhibitions with a vast array of functionality, including event features, exhibitor profiles, product/service information, social media, floor plans, and more.

Convention mobile apps in particular can provide massive value to exhibitors, all while streamlining operations for your business. Also, a well-branded and designed app can virtually pay for itself by creating new revenue streams for the exhibitors.

This includes opportunities for selling sponsorships, premium listings, and banner space to advertisers and fellow exhibitors.

Demo and Swag It Up

Most attendees at trade shows attend just for all the fancy swag they can collect. Plus it’s an ideal time and place to demo your product or service.

You can easily tie the two together and use your investment funds wisely, by giving out the major swag items to truly hot prospects, who have tried out your product or service via your demo, and handed over pertinent info like contact information.

Then give out cool and unique but less expensive swag items to the folks passing through that express interest, but don’t necessarily want to make any commitments or hand over personal info just yet.

Play the Game

Or rather, host the game. As stated, folks like to have fun, and if there’s some sort of game concept you can come up with relevant to your biz or industry, all the better.

Ask attendees to sign up to participate so you can collect that valuable follow up information, and use some of your fancier swag items as prize offering for the winners.

Make your game engaging and interactive, and you will be the most popular exhibit on the block, while your neighbor with nothing but the table and biz cards sulks next to you, looking bored.

Name Drop It Like It’s Hot

One last thing that should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Be sure to add the name of your company somewhere prominent in your display banner and business cards, as well as all your swag materials.

Like, everything. Even your undies. Kidding! Kinda

The reason why you are attending the exhibition in the first place is to brand yourself and your business, so don’t hide in the shadows.

You should also consider adding a logo if you do not already have one, although really… if you’re at the exhibit stage I would hope you already have one.

Don’t forget to add your website to relevant materials as well, so people can look you up later and get to know you even better.

Over to You

Do you do trade shows and events for your business? Is it an effective strategy? What do YOU find works well or doesn’t work well? Drop your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

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About the author


Cori (that's me!) is a wildly hire-able freelance writer as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind this blog you're reading right now, My Name is Cori, & Salt, Light, and Faith. Oh and you might also call her an author. Visit C.B. Stone Books for more.

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Cori (that's me!) is a wildly hire-able freelance writer as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind this blog you're reading right now, My Name is Cori, & Salt, Light, and Faith. Oh and you might also call her an author. Visit C.B. Stone Books for more.

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