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Trade Show Exhibit Booths and SEO

May 4th, 2009 · 12 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

Trade show exhibit booths are a lot like websites and blogs. If you want traffic at your trade show exhibit booth (and why have an exhibit booth if you have no traffic), then you’d better understand and practice SEO for trade show exhibiting. S.E.O. stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s necessary for blogs and websites if you want to rank high on the search engines and get traffic. The same SEO ideas and principles apply to trade show exhibit booths. Just because you have a trade show exhibit booth, that doesn’t mean people will come. It isn’t like the movie Field of Dreams where “if you build it, they will come…” Well, maybe the trade show zombies will come, but that’s another post. Here are the basics of trade show booth SEO.

WHAT’S YOUR POINT! First you have to figure out why you’re exhibiting in the first place. Why are you at the trade show? What are you selling? What makes you different? What makes you better than the other guys with other trade show booths? What is your USP (unique selling proposition). What is your trade show marketing message? If you don’t know these answers, how will your prospects know, and why should they come to your booth? You need to figure out your “point” and make sure it’s clear, compelling, and communicated.

KEYWORDS! You’ve got to figure out your keywords, and make sure they are big and prominent on your trade show display design, just like you would want them to be prominent on your webpage or blog post. What are people searching for or looking for that you provide? Figure out your keywords, and put them in your booth design and all your other trade show marketing materials.

LINKS! just like people on the internet will never know about your blog or website if you don’t create links to it; similarly, people that will be attending the trade show won’t know about your trade show exhibit booth if you don’t send out pre-show mailers to people that will be attending the show. Don’t rely on random foot traffic (or that they’ll notice you on the list of 1,001 trade show exhibit booths. Let people know in advance about your exhibit booth. And of course, your pre-show mailer must have your clear marketing message and keywords on it.

REWARD! Why should people visit your website or blog, and why should they stop by your booth? Of course, your mailer should explain what benefit you can provide to your prospects, but how about offering a reward as well? Consider having and handing out trade show giveaways, such as trade show giveaway pens. Put your company name and contact info on the trade show giveaways so people remember you.

TRAFFIC! Remember, the key to a successful trade show exhibit booth is traffic. Don’t cross your fingers and hope for traffic. Plan ahead and optimize. Figure out your unique selling proposition. Figure out your keywords. What are people searching for, and what do you offer of value? Get those “links” with pre-show mailers. Publicize and advertise! Build hype in advance. Get the word out! And reward people that click through (or in the case of trade show exhibit booths, that stop by your booth space).

So remember for your next show to practice SEO for trade show exhibit booths. Here’s to your “optimized” trade show exhibit booth being a huge success, and may you have more exhibit booth traffic than you can handle!


12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Todd Morris // May 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Steve,

    We still haven’t done a trade show yet … but now that we’re here in Texas, I may have to look into it. What’s really nice is, when I do get around it, I’ve got a whole blog full of advice to use as part of my “pre setup” checklist.

    Thanks in advance,

  • 2 The Trade Show Guru // May 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Hey Todd,
    I’m glad if this little blog can be of help some day! 🙂 ~ Steve

  • 3 Will // May 5, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I like your first one. I know nothing about trade shows, but I am always having to remind myself to be aware of what my point is. Good advice for any walk of life.

    For some reason, your “REWARD” makes me think of my dog and her love of dog cookies.

  • 4 The Trade Show Guru // May 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Hi Will,
    Yes, knowing what ones point is applies to a lot of things…
    I’m not sure about the dog cookies… maybe that would be a good “trade show giveaway” for a dog show. 🙂 ~ Steve

  • 5 Will // May 7, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Steve, what I meant is that to get my dog’s complete attention, all we need to do is go within a few feet of the cabinet where the dog cookies are. People are not so different. If they think there is something free available, they will pay attention. Just look at how popular those sample servers at Costco are! But yes at a trade show, I would substitute something else for the milk bones!

  • 6 The Trade Show Guru // May 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Hey Will,
    Are you admitting that you shop at Costco?
    I have to admit that when it comes to the free food samples, I am a bit of a “Costco zombie”. Hence, we try to limit are trips to Costco to less than one a month… ~ Steve

  • 7 Mitch // May 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Nicely written, Steve, but I’d like to add one more thing; be engaging! I mean, I know that sometimes being in a trade show booth can beat you down, especially if you’re not immediately getting the results you need, but if you’re sitting there looking bored, who’s going to respond to that and come over to talk to you?

  • 8 The Trade Show Guru // May 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    hi Mitch,
    Very good point about “be engaging”!
    Trade show exhibiting can be very tiring and at times, painfully boring, but as you say, you can’t look tired or bored. Very true. ~ Steve

  • 9 Kikolani // May 13, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Very good way to help the internet marketing types use tricks they know to help in real-life trade show marketing.

    ~ Kristi

  • 10 The Trade Show Guru // May 15, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Hi Kristi,
    Most marketing basics are just that… basics.
    And they apply equally to both the “real world” and the “virtual world”. Thanks for dropping by! ~ Steve

  • 11 Master of the Philippines // Jun 2, 2009 at 12:21 am

    In case you haven’t looked, this post is on the first page of G for “trade show seo” out of more than a million (I closed the tab before memorizing the number). This means you’re getting good at SEO for more than just trade shows.

  • 12 Trade Show ROI // Mar 11, 2012 at 10:54 am

    A pre show press release and a related blog post about our new featured product really brought in more people to our last show Exhibitor 2012 in Las Vegas.

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