A great trade show booth highlights your brand, tells your story in an interesting, engaging way, and draws in your audience. When it’s done right and your booth is a hit, it makes the countless hours spent making sure everything is just right, and even the time spent hosting worth every minute.

What about when things go wrong? We tend to beat ourselves up even when things are outside our control. It’s even worse when you could have avoided those mistakes from the beginning.

Highway 85 is here to help you avoid the eight most common mistakes we see in bad exhibits.


Failing To Have A Clear Message

The main goal of your booth is to tell a story, and every good story has a message. The Grimm brothers made it easy; they ended every tale with the moral of the story.

Your booth needs to communicate a clear message. That means that you, as the host, need to know what message you want attendees to hear. Do you offer amazing tech solutions? Fabulous customer service? A great place to work? Nail your message and then create a booth that makes that clear.


Exhibits Are Too Cluttered

The average conference or trade show attendee spends less than five seconds looking at an exhibit before deciding whether to walk away or step in to learn more. If your booth is a jumble of too many tchotchkes or your graphics are chaotic (no cohesive palette or theme), the average adult mind fails to comprehend your message in those crucial few seconds. The result? They move on to the next booth.


Go Big Or Go Home Isn’t Always The Advice

Are you relatively new to the trade show world? If so, launching a modular display right out the gate may not be the best idea. After all, you’re still discovering what your target audience wants and expects, and you learn what works as you go. This is especially valuable if you participate in multiple trade shows. It makes sense to save your big splash for the main event and iron out the kinks at the secondary shows.


On The Other Hand, Sometimes Size Does Matter

In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. At most events, the big booths get the prime real estate, with locations close to the entrance, along main aisles, and right in the center of the action. The result is that smaller booths see less traffic.

If this is your industry’s big event, the granddaddy of them all, your main lead generation opportunity, then it’s not the time for a small pop up display. No, this is the place to announce your presence with authority. Custom exhibits, modular displays, kiosks, and eye-catching graphics are in order.


Unfocused Giveaways

One of the most deserved stereotypes about trade shows is that attendees walk away with a lot of free swag. The average booth gives away pens, stress balls, water bottles…you get the idea.

Do you want to be average? No. That means your tchotchkes and drawing giveaways need to represent your business or theme. At ExhibitorLive 2017, we handed out skateboard business cards and gave away longboards because they fit our theme: Come Roll with Us. Get creative with your own giveaways to generate buzz around your display and attract great leads for your sales team.


Failing To Connect With Attendees

A trade show booth is essentially a face-to-face marketing opportunity; most companies only participate to generate strong sales leads. The operative phrase there is “face-to-face.” If your staff fails to connect with attendees because they’re too busy on their phones, your booth isn’t fulfilling its main purpose.

Avoid this problem by choosing booth staff carefully. You want people who understand and support your goal, with the personality and attitude that face-to-face marketing requires.


Failing To Train Booth Staff

In addition to choosing the right team to work your booth, you need to train them on the best practices, including body language, communication, proper etiquette, and performing non-booth tasks away from the booth. The sole job of these people is drawing people into your booth – especially client leads. Also, make sure they have exemplary product knowledge and can answer any question attendees ask about your company.


Having a Weak Booth Layout

A lot of factors go into creating a powerful layout, and how they all interconnect. Where are you in relation to your competitors? What’s the traffic flow? Where are the entrances? Are there community meeting spaces? Everything plays a role when planning your trade show booth space: the positioning of the furniture, signage, the height of your walls and so much more. A good creative team helps you work through these issues.

Are you ready to avoid these common pitfalls at your next trade show? The creative team at Highway 85 is on-hand to answer your questions and create your next amazing exhibit.