Five common mistakes to avoid at your next trade show

by Bryan Kilpatrick

Trade shows are a vital part of marketing your product and/or services. The show’s attendees are usually present for reasons very specific to your industry, so the opportunity to engage those people about your business should not be taken lightly. That, of course, means making sure your booth or space is set up to catch eyes and draw people in. But too often, simple components of that booth setup aren’t executed properly, resulting in a lack of traffic to—or, even worse, a lack of interest in—the space and brand attempting to be shown off.

Here are a few of those things to avoid as you prepare for your next show or event:

Too much info crammed into a display

The key to a successful trade show is positive interaction, which is something that can be discouraged when a display features too much information. The intent is usually always good; businesses want to be transparent with potential clients and customers, so they want to convey as much information as possible. That’s great, but there is such a thing as information overload, especially in a busy and, at times, hectic environment such as a trade show. Plus, if you give away all the information on your display, what’s left for an interested party to ask?

Engagement is key. Plan your display to feature just enough eye-catching information to encourage attendees to ask questions and initiate conversation.

Improper graphic setup

One of the most common examples of improper setup involve pop-up displays, on which the panels are often misplaced or not properly aligned, causing the graphic to give off a confusing and unprofessional look. Fabric displays don’t have the same problem because the graphics are seamless, but far too often the pillowcase graphics aren’t zipped at the bottom. That small extra step of closing the zipper can be the difference between a graphic that sags and/or puckers and one that lays flat and displays clearly and cleanly.

The poor setup problem has also been known to manifest itself in the form of crooked retractable banner stands. That usually happens because the support pole isn’t set up straight or, in the case of a wider stand containing more than one pole, the supports aren’t extended to the same height.

Spending an extra few minutes making sure displays and graphics are properly set up can add an extra layer of professionalism that surprisingly goes missing in more trade show booths than you might think.

Lighted displays not turned on

Too many times, businesses go through the trouble of purchasing and setting up backlit trade show displays only to end up not even turning on the lights. This creates a multi-layered problem. Failing to take advantage of a light-up display—an item that was made specifically to catch eyes—is a huge missed opportunity. Additionally, graphics that are designed to be backlit are usually printed darker than those that aren’t, so failing to put any light behind the graphic usually results in a dull, dark look that won’t do you any favors in your effort to get your brand to stand out.

Set up those lights properly, and don’t forget to turn them on! The difference in quality will amaze you.

Pertinent info blocked by fixtures

It’s good to have more than one type of display item in an event space. Trade Show Kits, for example, can include a display wall, table top stand, podium, and more. But with all of those products comes the chance of blocking pertinent information or images such as logos that are important for trade show attendees to take away from your booth. Think about placing logos, word marks, and other impactful images and information higher on a display so that they’re not covered by podiums, tables, or other fixtures.

Trade show booths can also be rather small, so there is a balance to be found when it comes to deciding which items to add to the space. For instance, having a separate display wall, banner stand, monitor stand, and table within your space can unintentionally create a tight, uninviting area. Consider hybrid products such as fabric displays that include optional items like monitor mounts, shelving, and show cases to conserve space while still giving your brand the attention it deserves.

Indoor products used outdoors

Have you ever walked through an outdoor show and witnessed banner stands either tipping over or being held in place by sand bags or boulders? That happens when display products designed for indoor use are brought into the elements. There are many types of banner stands and other display products specifically made for outdoor use. They tend to be a little bit more expensive than indoor products, but that’s because they possess features such as spring-loaded poles, weighted feet or bases, ground stakes, and more. Many of those products are rated for consistent winds up to 20 mph, whereas the first 5 mph gust can easily blow over an indoor banner stand.

For more information on how to make your trade show booth or other event space stand out while avoiding these types of common mistakes, contact a Power Graphics representative today.


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