Trade shows are events that take a lot of time, effort, and resources to prepare for. When executed well, they can also be an exceptional tool for finding new clients and making more sales. In this post, we’re sharing seven trade show best practices to help ensure that you’re making the most of your trade show experiences.


1. Perfect Your Branding

This is the first impression that many people in attendance will have of your company. That first impression will be made based on what your company looks like in the materials that you use. Be thoughtful with your branding, choosing images that are bold but simple. While a display filled with more complicated graphics may be eye-catching, they won’t do the job of creating a clear impression of who you are and what you do. Streamlining your branding will help to make your business memorable.


2.   Bring Takeaway Items

With your simple and bold designs in mind, create takeaways for attendees. Think of things like stickers with your logo, bracelets that attendees can wear throughout the event, and simple drawstring backpacks that they might use to carry items around in the space. These items will promote your brand and will remind visitors of your company when they look at them after the event has ended. Use these logo design tips to be sure that yours will be eye-catching, both during and after the event.


3. Put Your Business Name on Display

Trade show best practices start with designing your space before you ever pack up and go to the location. When designing the actual display that you’ll use for your space at the trade show, be sure that the name of your business is prominent. Visitors to your display should know exactly who you are as soon as they see your table and signs. You’ll be paying a premium for your dedicated space, so be sure that you’re making the most of it.


4. Collect and Give Contact Information

The trade show is only the beginning of your interactions with individuals in attendance. It’s the beginning of a conversation that you’ll want to continue in the weeks following. To make that happen, give your contact information to each visitor and collect theirs as well. While business cards are effective for helping individuals find you later, they aren’t enough. You’ll also want to create a contact form where those individuals can give their email addresses. With those contacts, you’ll have a database of interested individuals that you can use to send out follow-ups, newsletters, and exclusive deals to help generate sales after the show.


5. Pay Extra to Advertise

When you’re already spending money for your spot at the show, spending even more may not sound like the best trade show practice. However, it’s well worth it for many businesses to pay more to advertise in the official trade show materials. That might be having a spot on posters for the event or an ad in the welcome packet.  Extra exposure to your company, along with your information in print, can only help.


6.  Include an Interactive Element

If possible, create an interactive experience for those who visit your business display. When you give your audience something to do, they’ll be more likely to spend time at your booth, engaging with your brand. That could be as simple as a touch screen to look through photos to a demonstration of your product in action. When others passing by see that people are having fun and enjoying the experience, they’ll want to join in. Soon, you’ll have a crowd forming, people talking, and your business becoming a brand that people want to know more about.


7. Be a Good Host

This goes back to our first tip but bears repeating. Your job at a trade show is to make an excellent first impression. You want to show attendees who you are and give them a reason to want to know more. Your display, the experience you provide with interactive elements, and the items you give away at your booth will do wonders. But don’t forget about the one on one interactions. Choose the right people to staff your booth. Friendly, confident, and knowledgeable staff will engage your audience, answer questions with authority, and leave visitors feeling like they got to know the business.

Trade shows are an investment in both time and money. They’re also a valuable tool to reach a large audience of engaged and interested potential customers. Use the trade show best practice tips above to make the most of your trade show experiences and find the return on investment you’re looking for.

Checking for pre-approval will not affect your credit score.

Jess Barnes | Jess has a passion for helping small business owners build their brands and connect with their customers. She writes about money, tech, and marketing for blogs and businesses.