Before you can set up your trade show display, you have to actually pick out a trade show booth. There are a lot of different types of trade show booths to pick from and dozens of accessories, of course, so the following guide should help you to narrow it down to the type of booth you’re after and the accessories that you need to put on a great display at the next trade show.
Every trade show display starts with a table. Whether you choose to go with a canopy to throw over it or a literature rack to put on top of it or a banner to drape across it, it all starts with the table. When selecting a table, you have to take a moment to consider size, portability and stability.
Look for a lightweight table that will be easy to lift and move around. If you can’t lift it yourself in the store, then you won’t be able to lift it yourself at the trade show. Try to find a foldable table. Some tables boast of being “pop-up”, others fold into surprisingly tiny sizes, but if you can’t fold it up and throw it in the back of a truck, a van or on top of a car, then it won’t do you much good. Finally, stability is key, but how much stability you demand depends on what you’re selling. If you’re showing off some cast iron skillets, you’re going to need a tougher table than if you’re at a comic convention. Just check the maximum load the table can bear before making a purchase.
Banners and Signs
When it comes to banners and signs, you’re really better off having them professionally printed, even with the extra dollar or two that costs. Hand painted signs scream: I’m not very serious about this stuff! If you want to look professional, be professional at your trade show booth. Throwing together a hand painted sign just looks sloppy and amateurish.
That said, don’t be too ambitious: black on white really does tend to get the job done. If you’re worried that that lacks “pizazz”, not so. In truth, the reflective nature of a white banner attracts the eye, while the black text offers clarity, meaning that black on white is a lot more enticing than a fancier, multi-colored banner.
Canopies and Tarps
If you’re setting up a booth outdoors, then a canopy or a tarp is a must. Besides the fact that you need to protect your products, samples and literature from the elements, people will be wanting to spend time in the shade. Next time you’re at a trade show, take notice: the people who offer buyers shelter from the wind and sun with tarps tend to bring in a lot more business just because they offer a more pleasant environment.
When setting up indoors, a tarp or canopy can offer a sense of professionalism to your trade show booth, but this might wind up being a bit of a marginal difference. Still, if you have a tarp, you may as well use it.
One of the most effective accessories, and one of the cheapest, is really the literature rack. By propping your brochures up, you wind up looking a lot more professional, your brochures are visible from several yards away and people will be walking over from nearby booths just to make out the title on the brochure. Compared to stacking them up on your table, there’s a clear advantage here.
Beyond that, just make sure you have a comfortable chair to sit in and plenty of pens handy.
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