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The Dirty Little Secret to Designing Great Trade Show Exhibits

June 1st, 2009 · No Comments · Trade Show Marketing

The dirty little secret to designing great trade show exhibits is that you don’t have to be a “professional designer” to design a great trade show exhibit. I’ve worked in the trade show exhibit industry for years and have seen more trade show exhibits than anyone should have to, and while I can usually tell the “professional” designs from the “in house” or “amateur/do-it-yourself” designs, that doesn’t mean all the former are great and the latter are not. Quite the contrary. Often the “professionals” miss the basics. They’re more interested in the sizzle than the steak. But it’s the basics that convert prospects to customers and get the job done. So the “dirty little secret” is that if you want to design great trade show exhibits, be sure to cover these three “basics.”

1. First, your trade show exhibit has catch people’s attention when they are passing by your exhibit space. Consider your exhibit to be just one little tree in a forest (of many, many trees). So job number one is to have a attention-grabbing trade show exhibit design. When people walk by your exhibit booth, you’ve got to have a something to grab their attention. One time-tested way of “getting noticed” is to have a catchy tagline with a captivating background image.

2. Second, you must make sure that the next thing people see is WHO you are and WHAT you do. Make sure your company name is at the top of your trade show exhibit design and is easy to find. You must also explain what your company actually does. Test your design by having a friend look at it for a few seconds and then have them tell you who you are and what you do.

3. Third, you need to explain to prospects “what’s in it for them.” Your exhibit design must address this question to be effective. People reasonably are thinking about themselves and want to know if you can help them. As an example, if you a vacation or travel company, you might say how many different locations you service. No matter what, you must tell prospects how you will help them.

To conclude, the dirty little secret behind designing great trade show exhibits involves is that if you can cover the three basics above, you don’t necessarily have to hire a high-priced professional designer. The secret is that you just need to make sure you create an exhibit design that covers the three basic items above. Your exhibit design should catch people’s attention and draw them it. Your exhibit design must say who you are and what you do. And most critically, your exhibit design must state how you help or benefit customers. You can easily improve your trade show marketing efforts by just creating a trade show exhibit design that does these three simple things. Then maybe you can put the money you save by not hiring a high-priced designer into buying some cool customized trade show giveaway pens to hand out to all those prospects that your effective trade show exhibit design pulls into your trade show booth.

Good karma and good fortune with your next trade show, and may you end up with more trade show booth traffic than you know what to do with!


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