Trade Show Booths and Design: How to Enhance Engagement

Feb 25, 2023

Are you selling a product or service that must be experienced in person?

Several industries rely on trade show marketing to reach buyers, from the tech sector to consumer products.

However, simply renting trade show booths alone isn’t enough to make inroads with your customer base. The first step is understanding the data.

According to the Trade Show News Network, more than 90% of trade show guests visit these events to simply learn about a new product. Plus, roughly over 80% of these attendees have the authority to make purchase orders on the spot.

What do these two important stats mean?

You have a real opportunity to create an immersive experience that sells.

Unlike digital marketing, trade show attendees can experience a product right then and there. They can hold it in their hands, watch it in action, and take home samples (or other marketing materials) that keep the experience fresh in their minds.

Follow along to discover strategies to improve engagement rates at your next trade show.

Make Your Business Brand as Visible as Possible

Let’s start off with the brand visibility component of your trade booth design. Since so many event visitors are first-time attendees, brand awareness is a critical metric to consider.

You need a trade booth design that allows attendees to digest your brand logo from multiple angles. You’ll need large enough exhibit graphics positioned three to four feet from the ground, making them visible to attendees. Install your logo in strategically-placed areas of the booth.

For example, you could invest in a custom trade booth design with a large, prominent back wall. Back walls are excellent for showcasing logos. Installing a logo graphic on a podium, demo table, or register area is another good idea.

Take a look at different exhibit booth types to map out your logo placement.

Configuration types include:

  • Corner booths
  • Island
  • Penninsula
  • Inline

If your brand has a signature tagline or slogan, include it, as well. However, the messaging needs to be short and impactful to be easily digested by attendees. Remember, there are going to be a lot of exhibitors at the same show competing for attendees’ attention.

Installing a hanging banner will help your logo stand out among a sea of exhibits. Square banners work great because you can print your large logo on all four sides. Circular hanging banners also work.

Wearing branded t-shirts and sweatshirts is another strategy to consider. Placing sales representatives or promo models at a distance also widens your brand awareness reach beyond the booth itself.

Leverage Placement and Negative Space

Trade show booths are no longer simple, standalone booths with one banner along the edge of a table. Take a look at the latest designs and you’ll discover they’re a full-on experience, even mirroring brick-and-mortar stores.

Think about the experience you expect when visiting one of your favorite retail shops. For starters, you likely expect enough space to walk around and browse for products. Effective visual merchandising displays also need adequate space to communicate.

The above points speak to the desires of consumer psychology, and you should definitely reflect those desires in your trade show exhibit.

Leave plenty of space for attendees to walk around, allowing both their bodies and eyes to rest and focus. You can even include chairs or a lounge area in your booth area.

Available seating isn’t just for selling furniture, but it’s an excellent way to encourage buyers to read and digest marketing materials like information packets, catalogs, product samples, and purchase order information. Lounge areas also help sales reps deliver more personalized experiences to attendees looking to place POs.

Providing comfortable seating in such a busy setting as a trade show exposition is an excellent way to showcase your commitment to customer service, as well. You may even make a customer out of an attendee who didn’t visit the show with the intention of placing a purchase order that day.

Since trade shows can become quite full, you can leverage negative space by creating walkways that naturally corral attendees into your booth setup.

Be As Interactive As Possible

Exhibit graphics, layouts, and logos only go so far. Remember, there’s a lot of visual stimulation competing for visitors’ attention. Ask yourself how you can stand out from a very busy crowd.

Recall the earlier statistic that most trade show attendees visit these events to learn something new. Thus, your booth design needs to be active.

For starters, demo your service or product consistently to attract more groups. One of the best examples to study is food product demoing at tradeshows. You could simply visit your local fair to watch exhibitors demo exciting new blenders, food processors, and sushi-cutting gadgets.

What do you notice about highly engaging demos?

These exhibitors always speak with enthusiasm and project their words clearly. They typically use a headset (or clip-on) microphones to attract more attendees to their demonstration. You’ll also notice that they’ll answer questions during their demo, as well.

Don’t forget that attendees also want to get in on the action. Experienced exhibitors know how to identify people in the crowd who want to participate. They’ll often ask for volunteers, as well; this is an excellent way to turn attendees into customers and new customers into marketers.

You’ll need digital signage to amplify your demonstrations to a wider audience. Think of it like a jumbo screen! These tips will help attract attendees standing on the opposite side of the convention center.

If you’re indeed demoing a food product, let demonstration participants take home their creations. You should also leave plenty of samples available for booth visitors and passersby. You can also have branded shirt-clad sales reps and promotional models circling the booth with food samples, as well.

It’s helpful to write a demo script first. This tip will help you remember the most important talking points about the product. When writing a demo script, try to make it sound as natural as possible, as if you’re having a normal conversation about a product you love.

Weave Your Brand Throughout the Design

Effective interaction isn’t just a sales strategy, it’s also an element of a strong brand. Remember, customer service, sales associates, and in-person experiences are also vital brand elements. Thus, it’s critical for product demonstrators to repeat the product and brand name throughout their demo script, cementing the brand in participants’ minds.

The above points should go hand-in-hand with your brand identity. Your identity is the visual cues that help consumers identify your brand. Elements include logos, brand colors, and graphical elements unique to the brand (i.e. web design, print marketing graphics, etc.)

There are several ways to weave your brand creatively into your booth design. As a basic rule of thumb, back walls, podiums, and banners should be branded with your unique logo. Ensure your logo can be scaled effectively at any size, from patterned tablecloths to large banner graphics.

You’ll need plenty of printed marketing material, as well. These materials should also reflect your brand identity.

Print marketing materials also include branded merchandise like mugs, mousepads, stationery, pens, smartphone accessories, and so forth. If you’re not selling a physical product, you’ll need branded promotional merchandise. This strategy is particularly effective for SaaS and other cloud-based services.

Freebies are always a winning strategy. Plus, customers expect them when visiting trade shows.

Ensure your swag bags feature your logo and brand colors. A patterned design would work really well here. Stuff your bags full of relevant promotional merchandise that improves memorability and increases brand awareness when seen by additional eyes.

Color plays a critical role in exhibit design.

Your booth setup should clearly reflect your brand’s color palette. You should also creatively work with your palette to help it stand out in a busy crowd. Banners are an excellent way to showcase your brand colors.

Incorporate your brand colors into digital signage as well. You’ll also need digital signage to showcase commercials, earlier product demos, and any other video content.

Remember the earlier point about complimentary seating?

You could even go as far as to include branded coasters! Every branding detail matters, from back walls to buttons. Attendees should walk away with a clear sense of what your brand represents.

Think Outside the Box

Every year, exhibitors have to push their creativity even more as competition heats up. Think about how you can merge interaction, branding, and marketing into new, exciting product experiences for trade show visitors.

One idea that’s a growing hit with visitors is games and giveaways.

For example, you could set up a scavenger hunt in your exhibition area for visitors. You could also create a carnival-style experience for attendees where they can play games for prizes, even cash rewards. If you want to make your customers feel like winners, incorporate games that make them feel like winners.

Interactive games also work well for exhibitors showcasing services rather than products. If they can’t take home a physical product sample, what can they take home with them? This is a challenge for tech startups that sell SaaS and cloud services.

You can also incorporate raffle games where winners are announced periodically throughout the trade show. This marketing tactic is an effective way to attract attendees back to your booth.

If you combine the raffle strategy with effective product demos, you’ll sharply increase your conversion rates. Make sure to mention the raffle throughout the product demonstration. Remember, other attendees will be passing by as you give your demonstration, so you don’t want to miss a chance to plug the brand, product, and raffle.

If your product demos and games are gaining traction at the show, install a large countdown clock, letting attendees know of the next demo or game. You can use the same digital signage for your countdown clock.

Integrate Social Media Into Trade Show Booths

Trade show booths are effective marketing experiences themselves, but you can enhance marketing power even more by integrating other strategies into your design, particularly social media.

With the help of digital signage, QR codes, and selfie stations you can enhance both your digital marketing and trade show experiences. You could even offer Google sign-up, which is an easy way for attendees to sign up for your services on-the-spot without any hassle.

Start with QR codes. These codes are simple to generate and integrate easily into print marketing materials like brochures, business cards, stickers, flyers, and catalogs. You can also include them in your digital signage content.

Attendees scan QR codes with their smartphones, taking them directly to your product landing page, company website, or Instagram page. If you’re exhibiting at a recruiting event, you could direct QR codes to go directly to your company’s hiring section or application.

Since trade shows are live events, they’re perfect marketing content for social media. In fact, you can stream your trade show live on Instagram or Facebook to attract more attention. The rise in virtual trade shows also proves the effectiveness of this strategy.

You could even hold games and raffles for attendees viewing the trade show at home, immersing them in the experience as much as possible.

Another way to merge trade show booth design and social media is to create a hashtag for the event. By offering a selfie station, attendees can snap selfies at your booth, tagging the photos with your unique hashtag for Instagram. This is an excellent way to generate brand awareness among attendees’ followers.

Think about inviting social media influencers (in your industry) to your trade show booth to generate even more brand awareness on social media. Micro-influencers are another option. They have smaller audiences but higher organic engagement.

Make a Lasting Impression at Your Next Event

Do you want to improve your trade show conversion rates?

Create a plan of action for increasing your engagement rates at your upcoming trade show. You’ll discover a noticeable impact on your metrics.

This plan starts with relevant and engaging trade show booths that facilitate immersive experiences.

Browse our gallery of work, learn more about effective exhibit design, or contact us now to get started on your custom booth.

Get a quote

For more information on our trade show booths and services give us a call at (888) 475-3512 or fill out the form below.