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10 Ways to Make the Next Trade Show Your Best Ever


By Ken Newman of Magnet Productions

This is an excellent article…it does need to be qualified depending on the type of show you are participating in but overall everything he says is spoton

original article here

Here are my top 10 tips for making your next trade show outstanding:

1. Realize smaller can be better When selecting your booth size, keep in mind that investing in a 20×40 might not guarantee you a more successful show. A smaller booth that is constantly packed is a lot less expensive than a large half-empty booth and will generate much more excitement. Think of your last dinner party. Doesn’t everyone seem to congregate in the smallest room in the house?

2. Make sure your booth staff is ready to talk to attendees. Some pointers: Don’t sit down. Avoid standing in groups of two or more fellow staffers. Stand near the aisles. Look out at the crowd and make eye contact. Smile. Don’t say, “Can I help you?” (They’ll say, “no.”) Instead, look at their name tags. Use their name. Ask them what their company does. Ask them what they do. Invite them into the booth. Now you’re getting somewhere.

3. Quickly follow up on leads. Three-quarters of the leads generated at trade shows are never followed up on. And when they are followed up, it tends to be way too late. Those 2,000 leads you got don’t mean anything if you don’t do something with them. You need a way to categorize your leads as “hot,” “warm” and “cold” — and with hot leads, there’s no such thing as getting in touch too soon. First contact should come within days of the trade show’s end. When weeks or months go by, your email or phone call just ends up lumped together with all the other spam and telemarketers.

4. Use giveaways to build booth traffic This doesn’t mean just giving stuff away. Use that giveaway item to quiz the audience on what they’ve just heard. Use it to get them to ask questions. You can also use higher-priced giveaways (from thumb drives to HDTVs to wads of cash) as an incentive to get people to the demo stations and get them into the booth. And consider “green” giveaways with eco-friendly merchandise. Cheaply made swag just ends up in the trash and then in landfills. You want your giveaways to last, so that attendees hold onto your branded item as long as possible.

5. Keep product demos short Seven minutes is ideal. Ten minutes is the limit. Fifteen minutes … Get the hook! Trade show attendees have a lot of real estate to cover. Don’t feel you have to tell them your entire story. Pique their interest. Get them to want to know more. Get them into the booth.

6. Limit your seating A seating area with 50 chairs is intimidating. Few people want to be the first to sit down. Also, if you have an audience of 25 people, it still looks half empty. But with a dozen or so seats, you’re looking at a standing-room-only crowd. People walking by will be more interested in what’s going on if all the seats are full. It’s only natural to wonder what could be going on over there.

7. Have at least one crowd gatherer We are not talking about scantily clad eye candy for your booth. We’re talking about warm, engaging, gregarious greeters. We’re talking about men and women who know how to chat up people in the aisles, ask them questions, invite them into your booth, introduce them to your knowledgeable (and well-trained) staff. These crowd gatherers will continue to invite people to stop and listen even after the presentation has begun. If you skip the crowd gatherers because of the stereotypes, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

8. Insist on an “open” booth design Think about the lines. Think about the traffic flow. And think about how much you enjoyed the last time you couldn’t find your car in a parking garage. Try to design your booth in a way where there are virtually no impediments in any direction for someone coming in or someone going out. Make the booth’s architecture as open as possible to create maximum flow. You want people to just stroll through and almost accidentally find themselves in the booth. Booth layout and thoughtfulness has much more to do with success than booth size and “impressiveness.”

9. Do your pre-show work! Promote in advance using social media. Send e-blasts to prospective attendees. Offer up a promotional tease to get people into the booth before the show even starts. Tweet from the trade show floor with your latest news and special offers. Utilize video. Do a “Live from the Trade Show Floor” spot and a daily wrap-up. Announce news and promotions with all the fanfare a live recording can offer. Make it short, interesting and something to get people excited in anticipation of your event.

10. Utilize a professional presenter Bippy the Mime making a workstation out of balloons may be impressive, but it’s not likely to ensure you qualified leads. Have someone represent your company who is engaging, knowledgeable and will interact with the audience. Most trade show demos seem to be staged readings of marketing white papers. Whether you hire a professional presenter or not, don’t do this under any circumstances. Everyone talks about “24/7, valued-added solutions.” Your audience will tune out. Say it in layman’s terms, and say it with passion. Show the audience that you truly care about your subject matter.


Ken Newman is the founder and lead trade show presenter for Magnet Productions. For more information about their trade show services, visit You can contact him at


Hott 3D  designs, manufactures and builds Trade Show and Exhibition Stands and is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Speak to us about a complete expo solution today.

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