Lesley Spencer Pyle

Lesley Spencer Pyle is the founder and president of the, Inc. Network which includes Home-Based Working Moms ( and ( Pyle has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Parenting, Dr. Laura's Perspectives, Family PC and many others. She has 4 children ages 18 months to 14 years and has been working from home since the first baby was born! Copyright 2008 by Inc. All rights reserved.

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Secrets to a Successful Trade Show Booth. How to Create a Top Notch Booth

Lesley Spencer Pyle

March 24, 2009

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Making the decision to exhibit at a trade show can be a difficult one. The investment can be huge and you may not get an expected return on your investment. Doing your work before, during and after the show will help your investment pay off.

To show or not to show

Research the shows you want to attend. Find out how many people attended previous shows. Select shows where the buyers of your product and service attend. Inquire with the event organizers to see if they will be making any changes to this year's format. Speak with previous attendees and exhibitors to find out their experiences.

It is recommended to attend the show as an attendee before becoming an exhibitor. This gives you an opportunity to see the crowd they are drawing. Note what was appealing about particular booths and what did not draw your attention. Therefore, if you do exhibit, you know what set-up will work for you.

The build up to the big show

If you decide to be an exhibitor, work closely with the tradeshow organizers for advice on developing an effective booth in that particular venue. They want you to be successful as much as you want to succeed.  Ask questions about what your booth rental includes. Also, what do they provide (tables, backdrops, etc)? Verify what restrictions the organizer has on the type and height of signage. Also, many trade show organizers offer early sign-up discounts, so be prepared to act early.  

When thinking about the booth set-up, think clean and lean. Graphics should be simple and easily read from a distance. Include your tag line in your banner and advertising materials. Your logo, colors, and tag line should be consistent on all of your marketing materials and trade show displays.  

Submit press releases and notify your customers that you will be exhibiting in their area. Also, provide an enticement for them to come in and visit your booth.  

Now the show begins

Arrive in plenty of time to set-up the booth.  Allow time for unexpected issues.

Bring in the troops. It is important to have adequate help in your booth. Your booth should never be left unattended. So plan for enough staff to be accessible to visitors and to give everyone breaks so they remain fresh. However, your helpers need to be well versed in your product or service. But if your cousin Edith wants to help, but she is shy and not personable, she may not be a good choice. Recruit someone that is going to be a good reflection of you and your company. Prior to the show, it may be beneficial to roll play with anticipated questions.

By creating a contest or drawing, you will attract people and create excitement around your booth. A requirement for the contest could be completing a submission form or submit a business card. This allows you to gather their contact information to be used for future marketing efforts.

The party's over; it's time to go home

You may feel a sigh of relief because your hard work is finally done. But wait - there's more. It may have required a lot of effort to get the show organized, set-up, staffed and run. However, your work has just begun. Follow-up on any leads you have collected and do it immediately after the show. During the show, if time, write key words on the back of visitor's business cards to remember who they are and what they do. This will help you write personal follow-up notes after the show.

Trade Shows are a lot of work, but your hard work can really pay off to get your product or service in front of your target market.  To see the success it does require that you do your homework about the venue, create a professional booth and continue to follow-up on leads.


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