November 1, 2014

6 Keys To Developing A Successful Trade Show Display

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More than any other element you prepare to attend a trade show, the display will make or break you. Attendees will decide with a quick glance at your trade show display whether they want to visit your booth or not. So, the design and wording the board displays directly affects whether anyone will hear your message.

Create an Eye Catching Trade Show Display: Reel Them In

1. Show and Tell Them Who You Are in a Single Glance

trade show display

Indian Textiles Photo via Shutterstock

Displays can answer a question or pose one, but in order to attract attention you must give them some idea of what they stand to gain from visiting your booth.

Develop a clear, concise theme and allow this message to dictate the rest of the design.

2. Keep it Simple

trade show display

Nikon Photo via Shutterstock

It’s tempting to want to give everyone your entire message on the display. But people milling about a crowded room with lots to see and do won’t take much time to read.

Instead, give them one or two key points that quickly and easily introduces your product, service, etc.

3. Boil Down Your Message to a Single Catch Phrase

trade show display

Slovenia Tourism Photo via Shutterstock

Most new products and services are quite complex. It’s hard to easily define a complicated concept, mobile app, product or software package in a single sentence. Instead, create a message that gives the viewer one good reason to give you a minute of their time.

Make it catchy. You want your phrase to be something easy to recognize or recall later when they’re ready to make a purchase.

4. Don’t Get Too Technical

Hamamatsu Photo via Shutterstock

Even if you’re attending a tech trade show, never assume the people attending are interested or knowledgeable about highly technical things. Many companies send a manager or non-tech representative to attend these shows.

Craft your message so a layperson can understand and don’t build a display that intimidates non-techies.

5. Use Color and Images Wisely

trade show display

Windows Photo via Shutterstock

You want color and images to attract, not to distract. Use no more than two or three contrasting colors to create an eye-catching scheme that isn’t too busy or dizzying. Any images you use must be clear and vivid.

It pays to have displays professionally printed, because you don’t want to look homemade in the midst of your savvy competitors.

6. Use Quality Materials and Construction

trade show display

St Engineering Photo via Shutterstock

The worst thing that could happen during your trade show is for your well-designed trade show display to topple or crumple. Don’t use cheap materials to build the display. Select high quality, durable materials and make sure the display is assembled properly at the start of the show. Check the integrity of the display regularly.

The right trade show display means you’re catching attention from across the room. A display that colorfully highlights the key point of your message lets attendees know it’s worth their time to mosey over –  meaning you get what you paid for to attend the show.

Send your best people to work the booth. You don’t want to spend all that time crafting the right trade show display just to have the speaker turn people away.

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Timothy Carter


Timothy Carter Timothy Carter is the Digital Marketing Manager for the trade show display exhibit company, Nimlok. Prior to working at Nimlok, he was the Director of Search and Social for Smash Hit Displays. He was also the Social Media Manager for the SEO company, Click2Rank, handling the social marketing strategy for a half a dozen different companies blending the lines of search and social.

10 Reactions

  1. Trade shows are great ways to build your brand while having a good time. Thinking about how to make it a successful event is very important. Thanks for this!

  2. Having something useful/interesting to give away is a great complement too.

  3. Oooh I miss attending trade shows. The designs are simply amazing. You can see what every brand has to offer and everyone is busy. These are some really nice ideas with some really nice samples. If I may add, you can also host some type of contest to draw the crowd to your booth more.

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