Trade show marketing is about more than just showing up. A successful trade show exhibition requires meticulous planning and trade show booth designs. Follow these tips to help maximize your show-off potential:
- Know where your audience is and where they’re coming from.
Where visitors will stand while viewing your display is a major factor in determining your exhibit design layout. From the size of your font and graphics to the angle of your booth, understanding the traffic flow is essential. Position your booth to provide for a natural flow of traffic and take advantage of the direction attendees enter from. To catch their eye the minute they walk in the door and keep them coming closer for more, plan to use three different graphics: long-range, medium-range, and short-range.
Long-range graphics are those intended to be seen from afar and should be as high as allowable within the trade show regulations. As attendees approach, their eye will want to shift to a more comfortable height. To compensate, place medium-range graphics between six and eight feet off the floor. For up close viewing, short-range graphics should be no more than six feet above the floor.
The same principle applies to font size. Generally speaking, you should add one inch in height to your font for every foot of distance between viewers and your exhibit. In other words, add 10 inches to your font if you want viewers to be 10 feet away when they read it.
- Give your trade show booth designs the three second test.
An average attendee to a U.S. trade show will spend 9.5 hours looking at exhibits. It takes them only three seconds to decide if they’ll approach your booth or move onto the next. As such, you want to make sure your custom exhibits communicate your message in three seconds or less. Aim for concise, declarative text and bold graphics to convey your message quickly and effectively.
- Less is more where graphics and messages are concerned.
It can be tempting to throw as many graphics into your trade show booth designs as possible. Nothing, however, is harder to perceive than an over-crowded trade show exhibit. A rule of thumb is to leave 40% of your exhibit booth design empty space. White space will ensure what your booth does say has the greatest impact. Keeping nearly half of your exhibit design blank will also force you to take care in choosing the messages you use.
- Choose a custom exhibit design that represents who you are.
There should be a common theme in your marketing materials and trade show booth designs. You want everything to clearly represent who you are as a company. A viewer who stops by your booth and takes a pamphlet home should be able to look at that pamphlet and remember your booth as where he picked it up. No matter how creative your trade show booth designs are, they won’t help market your brand if they don’t match with your company’s image or aren’t congruent with your other marketing materials.
- Design for your budget but also budget for your design.
How many trade shows do you want this booth to last for? A one-time trade show will require a vastly different quality of trade show exhibit design than will a schedule of many shows. Obviously the goal is to avoid spending too much on your trade show booth designs, but spending too little can have its own drawbacks. If you’ve already built a marketing budget for your trade show visits, don’t shy away from using it to its fullest. Investing in quality materials and colors will help ensure your booth looks fresh even after multiple uses. Glossier materials scratch easier than matte ones do; and lighter colors are prone to showing seams and damage faster than dark colors.
- Have a plan.
This is less about your trade show booth designs than trade show exhibiting in general. Companies allocate an average of 31.6% of their marketing budget to events and exhibitions, yet 70% of them have no objectives set for their trade shows. Failing to create an exhibition marketing plan with stated goals and objectives is one of the major reasons companies fail to reach their trade show potential.