32 Trade Show Tips to Attract More Visitors | Lush Banners

Written By: Griffin Miller | Graphic Designer + Customer Care Specialist &
                    Cruez Luera III | Graphic Designer + Customer Care Specialist
Fact Checked By: Andrea Gibbs | Digital Marketing Coordinator + Graphic Designer

Are you tired of spending hours setting up your booth at a trade show, standing out in all sorts of weather, only to watch the attendees walk past without giving your booth a second look?

Do you want to stand out at your next trade show?

At most trade shows, there is a massive number of competing businesses, all vying for attendees' attention. You need to separate yourself, and innovate your trade show advertising in order to attract more visitors, and turn them into leads before they move on to the next booth.

So, how do you capture people's attention at a trade show and increase the number of visitors to your booth?

Our complete trade show checklist will teach you how to attract engaged customers, capture more high-quality leads, and boost revenue.

Be sure to read this through before your next trade show and implement some of these tactics!

Watch Our Video on the 32 Trade Show Tips to Attract More Visitors

Our Top Trade Show Tips and Tricks

Attend as many shows as possible!

1. Attend as many shows as possible!

Increasing the number of shows you attend is one of the best trade show tips to boost revenue. You need to get in front of potential customers as often as you can to expand your professional network.

Doing this will attract more attendees, raise brand exposure, and encourage more face-to-face dialogues. When planning for a trade show, use a calendar like this one to track dates, locations, and staff.

2. Ask for a specific display location at the Trade Show

When booking a trade show spot, ask for a specific location. Monitor the trade show deadlines for claiming a space to ensure you score a prime location. The majority of the time when you ask for a specific location, you are typically granted a spot on the Island or Peninsula of the map.

Try to select a location that receives high traffic but without congestion, such as a few yards from the entrance. Intersections are also effective because they expose your booth to multiple traffic flows.

Ask for a specific display location at the Trade Show

Accept debit and credit cards for Purchases

3. Accept debit and credit cards for Purchases

Keep in mind not everyone at the trade show will have cash on them. Businesses see a 20% increase in sales when they offer customers the choice to pay with debit or credit cards. Trade shows are no exception.

When setting up a trade show booth, establish a POS system for card payments. Offer customers the option to pay with cash, credit, or debit for quick and efficient payments. This will capture more sales at your booth and increase your data security.

4. Enhance your display with Custom Banners, Tents, and Flags

Your trade show booth must stand out from the competition to attract more potential customers. Custom trade show banners, tents, and flags are crucial elements to boost your brand’s exposure and success on the day. Invest in a Custom Pop-Up Tent and Banner Stand that matches your brand and style. This will make sure your booth and signs are representative of your business and help you leave a good first impression on customers.

Enhance your display with Custom Banners, Tents, and Flags

Schedule Electrical Work Before the event

5. Schedule electrical work before the event

When planning for a trade show, there are lots of components to organize. One thing that you should not overlook is any electrical work needed when setting up a trade show booth. Arrange the electricity, internet, and signs of your booth the day before the event starts. Many shows will not spell this out for you, but you can still do this.

6. Test your equipment before the show!

A key step in any successful trade show checklist is to test all equipment before you ship it to the location. This includes AV equipment, event tech, and any other activations. Ensure the following in the days leading up to your event:

  • Test equipment will work together.
  • Include mounts for monitors and screens if you need them.
  • Make sure cords are long enough.
You don’t want to have any issues on the day, especially not when making a presentation to a potential client!

Test your equipment before the show!

Bring printed approvals with you

7. Bring printed approvals with you

Remember, preparation is the key trade show tip for success. The last thing you want is any miscommunication about where your trade show display is located, or whether your business has been included in the show at all!

Bring any email confirmations or printed approval documents you receive from the show with you to the show floor. Get the cellphone numbers of the people that are provided the authorization. Verify the show hall can accommodate what the show has authorized.

8. Sound the Alarm Before the Show!

Incorporate pre-show mailers, emails, and phone calls into your trade show marketing strategy. 80% of exhibitors do not use pre-show promotions, but it can increase your qualified booth traffic by 33%.

Invite attendees to let them know of your attendance. Reach out to your current customers and any past contact from trade shows. Tell them that they can book to see you and set appointments.

Sound the Alarm Before the Show!

Ship Display Materials in Advance

9. Ship Display Materials in Advance

Consider the shipping time frame of your display exhibit. A good trade show tip is to ship any display materials in advance to the show location. This is very important if you have a complex display exhibit, such as a Large Space Booth. If you do have a large trade show booth, it is a good idea to get it prepared a month before the show.

If you have a short time window to install the exhibit on the day, shipping your display in advance is a smart move. That way, you and your team can become familiar with setting up the trade show booth efficiently before it’s show-time.

10. Cut Costs by Shipping Items Together

10-30% of your trade show budget is usually spent on shipping and transportation. An excellent trade show tip is to consolidate as many materials as possible. Avoid shipping any unnecessary items to the show and focus on only those that convey your brand message. If you must send your things in multiple boxes, shipping pallets and a shared carrier are great ways to save money on handling costs.

The benefits of doing this include:

  • Cuts costs
  • Less likely to be lost
  • Less likely to be damaged

Cut Costs by Shipping Items Together

Use quality shipping cases for valuable items

11. Use quality shipping cases for valuable items

Quality shipping cases are a must-have in any trade show checklist. Shipping valuables in a cardboard box is asking for trouble and broken goods! If you have a large flat-screen monitor in your booth, try shipping it in an AV case. For your exhibit displays, use a Trade Show Shipping case to prevent damage and fraying. If you have a large display, try out this Large Shipping Case with wheels.

Another helpful tip for trade show set up is to use black shrink wrap to cover valuables. When planning for a trade show, don’t ignore security. Thieves are still frequent at trade shows given the number of freebies and gifts up for grabs. So, keep your valuables and giveaways discrete, and don’t let people see what you have. Use black shrink wrap on all valuables (flat-screen televisions, kiosks, electronics) or giveaways for the show. Concealing your valuables with shrink wrap will also protect them from transit damage.

12. Follow up on leads!

Once you’re back in the office, contact your leads after the show. This is a vital trade show tip that so many people neglect. 75-80% of trade show leads are never followed up on. Don’t let these high-quality customers slip away. Establish a follow-up strategy in your post-trade show checklist. Categorize your leads and decide what follow-up strategy is best suited to them, whether that be a phone call or an email.

Follow up on leads!

Send Video Emails and Post on Socials!

13. Send Video Emails and Post on Socials!

Send a video email the night before the event to attendees. Share your booth number and tease any giveaways and prizes that you are offering. Film a video standing in front of your trade show fabric display. This will not only excite your customers but help them find you when they arrive.

14. Seek Marketing Help

Allow someone to help you develop and achieve your marketing objectives. If you don’t have in-house marketing support, then consider working with a marketing agency or your exhibit company. This will allow you to create a Trade Show Display that is on-brand and showcases the most important aspects of your offering, business, and presence.

Seek Marketing Help

Pre-Set Appointments

15. Pre-Set Appointments

Increase the percentage of attendees to your booth by booking pre-set appointments. Ensure you have the cell phone number they will have on the show floor. Call them half an hour in advance of the appointment. As you speak, assume the appointment is going ahead using a clear and confident tone of voice. Give them a clear incentive to attend the appointment.
A Trade Show Counter is a fantastic way to direct your attendees to their appointment, rather than wandering around your exhibit. It creates a sense of centrality in the exhibit, without clutter.

16. Do a theme for your exhibit

Incorporate a theme into your trade show display and outshine the competition. When planning for a trade show, ask yourself what theme fits your product or brand. For example, you could do a New York café theme serving pastries and coffee, a Halloween theme handing out candies to visitors, or a Superbowl theme with hot dogs and football activities. Seasonal and location-specific themes are effective because they are immediately relevant to your visitors.

Do a theme for your exhibit

Match your pre-show promotion to your at-show experience

17. Match your pre-show promotion to your at-show experience:

Create continuity between your marketing and your trade show exhibit. This will incentivize customers to attend the trade show and find your booth.

For example:

  • Send a sunglasses case to a prospect. They must stop by your booth to get the sunglasses.
  • If customers print an email or show a digital code on your app at your exhibit they are registered to win a prize.
  • Use the same advertising material and images to provide a seamless display.

18. Finding Lost Freight

Missing freight for your trade show display is any exhibitor's worst nightmare. With large quantities of deliveries to one trade show location, your delivery may likely end up at another exhibit. So, if you have missing freight and know it was delivered, look for the booth with transposed numbers, e.g. 211 could be in 112. You can also ask the show to palletize your small boxes, saving you money and lost items.

Finding Lost Freight

Think outside the box!

19. Think outside the box!

Don’t discard a creative idea because it’s not in the rules. Unless it violates the show rules, ask for forgiveness, not permission. Trade shows are an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and set your brand apart from the rest. Custom Trade Show Booths can bring your vision to life with a variety of options.

20. Boost your Staff’s Attitude

Show some love and appreciation to your staff for their time and energy. Put a gift basket together to say that you care. This could include a pair of gel inserts, hand sanitizer, energy bars, caffeinated drinks, a nice pen set, or a mini notebook. The more they feel valued, the better they will serve your customers, and the more success you will have. It’s a win-win!

Improve your Staff’s Attitude

Don’t Just Pay Commission

21. Don’t Just Pay Commission

If your exhibit staffers are solely commission-based, consider ways to boost their morale when they are not directly getting leads. One effective trade show tip to achieve this is to pay your staff to work the show separately from their commission fees.

22. Wear Comfortable Clothes And Bring A Spare Pair Of Shoes

Change your shoes at least one time during the show. It creates different pressure points for your feet and saves your knees, back, ankles, and legs. Wear clothing that will feel comfortable and regulate your temperature throughout the day. This will ensure you are on top of your game and can focus on drawing in more customers.

Bring Comfortable Clothes And A Spare Pair Of Shoes

Hold a Pre-Show Meeting With Your Team

23. Hold a Pre-Show Meeting With Your Team

To ensure your team works effectively at the event. Always have a pre-show meeting to discuss key points of the show. Go through the trade show checklist with them

This includes:

  • When are presentations being held?
  • Answer any questions from staff
  • When are appointments?
  • What is each person responsible for?
  • How group success will be measured
  • How individual success will be measured
When your team is ‘in the know’ they can deliver the results you are striving towards. So make it a priority to brief your team, listen to any concerns, and maintain a positive mindset in the pre-show meeting.

24. Set Clear, Actionable Goals for Staff Members

Give your staff specific objectives and assess their progress in a specified time frame. Each staff member’s objectives should work towards a bigger goal you have for the trade show, such as increasing new leads by 30%.

After that, you should share your findings with the rest of the company. With clear goals and results, staff will likely be more motivated to participate next time.

Set Clear, Actionable Goals for Staff Members

Use Crowd Gatherers to Encourage More Visitors

25. Use Crowd Gatherers to Encourage More Visitors

Designate one or more people as crowd gatherers in your trade show checklist. Crowd gatherers should staff the aisle and engage people to participate in your booth activity or register for your high-end giveaway.

A Hanging Show Banner, is an excellent way to direct people to your stall as your crowd-gatherer interacts with them on the floor. Not only is it eye-catching, but its hanging design also adds a bit of flare to wow your potential customers.

To really impress trade show visitors, Custom Stands and Kiosks are the perfect way to spice up your display.

26. Ensure Your Staff Members are Engaged

Your staff members are the most powerful ambassadors for your brand at a trade show. Provide pre-trade show training, set clear objectives, and offer breaks to keep them engaged and smiling. Staff talking on the phone or texting can discourage potential visitors.

A good trade show tip is to use a Bright LED Backlit Display in your exhibit to boost staff performance and energy levels.

Ensure Your Staff Members are Engaged

Improve your Sales Strategy!

27. Improve your Sales Strategy!

Every trade show checklist should include an overall sales strategy. Maximizing your sales tactics will equip your staff with the right strategies to close a sale and boost revenue.

Trade show sales tips include:

  • Ask an open-ended question to engage a prospect on the show floor.
  • Ask fact-gathering questions to guide the conversation and learn more about your leads.
  • Step back as you are talking. They will follow you around the exhibit.

28. Give updates to your staff during the show

Provide updates at the halfway point of the day to provide feedback on how the team is doing as a whole. Provide feedback individually to your staff about how they are progressing towards their goals. Don’t embarrass them or tear them down, but provide constructive feedback.

Give updates to your staff during the show
Offer an Exciting On-brand Giveaway

29. Offer an Exciting On-brand Giveaway

A popular trade show tip is to offer giveaways. Giveaways can be used for rewards, appreciation, recognition, and communication. But how do you use giveaways correctly to draw in more visitors?

The prize must be perceived at a higher value than the existing item a customer already has. Try to give away something that is directly related to your company offerings, except if you are going for heavy branding.

Giveaways that offer discounts or free initial consultations are fantastic for capturing long-term customers. Only qualified people should be able to register to win the big giveaway prize.

When planning for a trade show, consider these giveaway ideas:

  • Food items such as smoothies, popcorn, coffee, and cookies
  • Branded items that sit on a desk
  • Hot tech gadgets such as mini drones, apple watches, or AirPods
Showcase your giveaway on a trade show Counter or Podium to entice your customers quickly.

30. Ask prospects to do an exit interview

Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to get more face-to-face information from your audience. Maximize this opportunity by asking them questions about how they view your brand, what is most important to them, and any pain points about your company.

Offer a nice gift in exchange for an exit interview with your best prospects and customers. Keep in mind, getting quality information like this is more expensive when done in the field.

Ask prospects to do an exit interview

Manage your Budget Effectively

31. Manage your Budget Effectively

You want to maximize every dollar you put into your trade show booth, so you need to budget accordingly. Consider leveraging your exhibit house to help ease the load. Ask them to take care of marketing, show services, and shipping. This will help you focus on delivering the best performance at your next trade show.

32. Have fun!

Face-to-face interaction is one of the most powerful marketing tools that a business can use when trying to generate new leads. Enjoy your time at the trade show and have as much fun as you can! Chances are that if you’re having fun, the crowd will take notice and follow your lead!

Have fun!

Need Help With Your Trade Show Display?

Need help designing a custom display for your next trade show? Here at Lush Banners, we want to help you maximize the number of visitors you receive at your next event! Our extensive range of high-quality, custom-made trade show products can be completely customized to powerfully showcase your brand on the day. With quick turnaround times and outstanding customer service, get in touch with Lush Banners today for a free, no-obligation quote!