To make the most of your investment in exhibiting, it’s important to understand how to make your trade show booth stand out. No matter what your goal is at a show, you want to draw visitors to your booth and keep them engaged.

Learning how to stand out at a trade show can take time to master, involving costly trial and error. Our experts have years of experience creating exciting exhibits for a wide variety of goals, industries, and shows.

Keep reading to get some of our top tips on how to make a trade show booth stand out, or get in touch about our booth design services by calling (800) 695-3452 or filling out our contact form.

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Why Invest in Your Trade Show Booth?

There’s no better way to promote long-term, organic growth for a company than by setting up at trade exhibitions. You’ll find industry experts just like yourself, prospective customers, and even business partners all in one place at the same time at these events.

Consider these statistics:

Trade shows are a great opportunity for companies to promote their names in front of a very specific and interested demographic, which can easily result in new business contacts and connections. When used strategically, this targeted promotion raises your brand’s profile and establishes its legitimacy in the market, paving the way for future success.

What Makes a Trade Show Booth Stand Out from the Crowd?

We'll help you stand out with our trade show booths, like this exhibit we made for Brother with 3D elements to add texture and branding.

A successful trade show booth combines and adapts a number of elements to achieve maximum appeal at each venue. To express the identity and message of your brand quickly and effectively, eye-catching visuals are essential to your booth. The most effective images will convey your brand’s primary message clearly and accurately while also showcasing your company’s strengths.

The booth’s design is also important to ensure you stand out at a trade show. It should be warm and welcoming, with well-defined pathways for customers to navigate the space and discover what it is that you have to offer. Comfortable resting places and product displays are just two examples of well-thought-out booth furnishings that can boost your booth’s practicality and visual attractiveness.

Since no two venues are the same, you should use a booth’s modular construction to your advantage by adapting it to each event. This maximizes its usefulness and provides a better experience for everyone at the trade show. For example, adding features like charging stations helps increase the amount of time people stay at your booth and how long they spend exploring your products and services.

Should I Rent, Buy, or Build My Booth?

In most cases, it will be more cost effective to rent a booth than to buy it. Purchasing a booth is expensive, and it limits you to that one booth and its design.

Unless you are planning to use the same exact booth size and design at a high number of trade shows, none of which overlap or are too close to ship the booth between shows, you’ll likely be better off renting. This allows you to change up your booth size and design between shows, as well as rent additional booths as needed to fit your trade show program.

A flow chart guiding you on whether you should buy or rent a trade show booth

For a more detailed discussion of the pros and cons of buying or renting a booth, read our blog post on the subject.

In some cases, an organization will have a background in design or construction and wonder if they can make the booth themselves. But creating your own trade show booth requires much more than just designing and building it. It also requires creating the graphics for it, shipping the booth to each venue, tracking shipments, completing paperwork for the show, managing third-party show services (such as electrical, internet, rigging, material handling, and drayage), assembling the booth at the show, dismantling the booth after the show, and storing the booth between shows.

By renting a booth from Cardinal Expo, you can tap into our comprehensive services that take care of everything mentioned above. If you want to give creative input on your booth design, don’t worry—we work closely with your team on the design to bring your ideas to life. We also streamline the setup, breakdown, and logistics of going to trade shows, increasing productivity and providing a better experience for you and your customers.

7 Tips for How to Make Your Trade Show Booth Stand Out

Success at a trade show can help establish your brand as an industry leader, make valuable connections and sales, and open the door to many rewarding opportunities. If you know how to make a trade show booth stand out, more attendees will visit your exhibit and recognize your brand after the event. Furthermore, drawing visitors at trade shows allows your brand to demonstrate what it sells while also soliciting opinions and suggestions for improvement from potential customers and other industry experts.

If you’re wondering how to stand out at a trade show, get started with our top 7 tips listed below.

1. Brand Your Booth with Personality

Making a memorable first impression requires adding some personality to your booth. Everything from its color design to its signs and decorations should distinctly reflect your company’s brand. This unified presentation of your business improves brand recall, leaves a lasting impression on guests, inspires confidence, and creates a structure for meaningful interactions.

Some of the best ways to add personality to your booth are:

  • Using brand colors and branded elements
  • Training booth staff to represent your company culture and values
  • Playing background music to fit the occasion
  • Offering snacks, beverages, or entertainment that fits your brand
  • Including details that are meaningful to your intended audience

2. Lean On the Venue’s Strengths

Strategically capitalizing on a trade venue’s best features can improve the effect of your booth. This is why it’s always helpful to research a show beforehand, visit the venue in advance of the trade show, and take notes for next year.

Keep the following advice in mind to ensure you know how to make your trade show booth stand out:

  • Walk the venue or look at photos to get a feel for its layout and other details.
  • Find the venue’s most popular paths and most prominent features.
  • Choose a spot that best highlights the features of the venue.
  • Try to secure a booth in a busy area, in plain sight, or next to some other important landmark.
  • Design your booth to complement the venue’s unique background.
  • Promote your booth as much as possible by making it visible from far away, using towering signs, banners, or lights.
  • Place any games or interactive exhibits near the venue’s best features, such as information kiosks, main entrances, or highly visited areas.
  • Find sections of the facility that are well-suited for mingling, such as comfortable seating or lounges, and station someone in these locations during the event to converse with guests and direct them toward your booth.
  • Work together with the event’s organizers to take advantage of promotional possibilities, such as mentions in the program that the host hands out to guests as they enter the venue.

3. Promote a Relevant Theme

We helped make Brother's trade show booth stand out with theming around bottles for their beverages.

Booth visitors are more likely to remember the cohesiveness of your booth’s design, message, and interactions if you pick a main theme with care. Think about the event’s intended audience, your company’s core values, and the event’s purpose to come up with a great theme.

Keeping the concept consistent with your brand’s personality increases its credibility and appeal. In addition, you should choose a theme that speaks to the target demographic, stirs up the appropriate emotions, and represents your company’s competitive advantages. This careful selection lays the groundwork for an inviting, exciting booth that successfully conveys your brand’s message.

4. Showcase a Featured Product or Service

Exhibiting a flagship product or service at a trade show booth is essential for grabbing attendees’ attention and communicating your brand’s unique selling point. The best way to choose a featured product or service is to consider how relevant, timely, and important it is to both your company and your intended audience.

Once you’ve decided on an offering to showcase, use this advice to help determine how to stand out at a trade show:

  • Place the featured product where as many visitors can see it from as many places as possible (without being overwhelming).
  • Highlight its features and advantages via interactive presentations or demonstrations.
  • Staff your booth with people who have extensive product training and know how to effectively present the product authoritatively and convincingly.

5. Get Creative with the Available Space

Making use of every square inch in a trade show booth improves brand recognition, makes an impression on attendees, and increases your potential ROI. To make the most of your booth space, consider the following strategies:

  • Include vertical displays, flexible layouts, and interactive features.
  • Choose furnishings that you can switch around and use at different venues.
  • Pick formats for signs and displays that aid readability and interest.
  • Use hanging signs or banners to attract people from a distance.
  • Take care to avoid feeling overly crowded—you want to maximize your use of the space, but don’t cross the line into overwhelming your audience.

6. Avoid Low Seating

Knowing how to make a trade show booth stand out means knowing how to appropriately guide the behavior of your booth staff and attendees. Low seating makes it awkward for people who are seated to interact with those who are standing. This can create barriers to interaction if your staff or visitors need to take a break, encouraging people to pull out their phones instead.

To avoid these settings, consider using high top or elevated platform seats. This makes the space seem more open and welcoming, while also providing guests with a place to sit and explore your products.

Keep in mind that maintaining visibility while creating a pleasant environment for conversations requires the smart placement of towering displays or walls. It’s also important to make sure the booth attendants are standing at eye level so customers can easily communicate with them.

You might also use stages and other elevated areas to display merchandise and put on demos.

7. Give Away Swag and Prizes

Never underestimate the power of giving away promotional items at a trade show. 85% of people remember an advertiser that gives them a shirt or hat. 53% of people use promotional items at least once a week.

Attendees at trade shows often look forward to stocking up on promotional materials and freebies. Many trade show booths even give away branded canvas bags for guests to stuff their swag in. To ensure your company’s bag doesn’t get stuffed into another bag, you simply need to make sure your bag is the best or biggest.

To maximize your presence at a trade show, consider giving away any of the following promotional items:

  • Customized water bottles
  • Fidget toys
  • Logoed apparel
  • Customized notepads and pens
  • Promotional calendars
  • Branded lanyards

Not sure how much is enough? Learn how many giveaways to order in our guide.

Contact Cardinal to Stand Out at Trade Shows

Trade shows allow you to assess the latest needs of your market and how your brand fits in by giving you the opportunity to meet prospective consumers face to face, gaining invaluable information about their tastes and pain points. Having this kind of direct insight into what customers want can help your brand better tailor its products and services to meet those wants.

Ultimately, this proactive approach to improving customer satisfaction sets your company up for sustainable, organic growth. But for it to work, you need to attract people to your booth.

At Cardinal Expo, we have decades of experience designing eye-catching exhibits and providing end-to-end booth management, streamlining the process and making it easier for you to exhibit. Every photo in this blog post is one of our booths!

Call (800) 695-3452 or fill out the contact form below for a free quote.

Contact Us Today

We at Cardinal Expo are here to answer any questions you may have, provide you with additional information, and create an effective solution for your exhibit needs.

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