Many small businesses rely on trade shows to help connect with the local consumers. Often, people discover new products and services by interacting with owners and employees one on one. There are several things you can do to drum up business at a trade show, but one of the best things you can do to make a lasting impression is to make sure your booth appears professional. Here's how you can increase overall professionalism at your trade-show booth.
1. Have a uniform
Even if you just have a family business, a uniform automatically give cohesion to your company. With uniforms, every employee looks similar and is easy to spot in a crowded show. Having a uniform helps to foster a sense of unity within the company workers, getting them psyched for the show. Plus, when done right, the uniform can be another source of branding for your product or service. Consider having screen-printed shirts from a company such as Absolute Screen Printing with the company logo on the pocket or a clever slogan on the back. As people see you walking around, they'll remember the logo and slogan much better. To complete the more casual uniform, have participating employees wear dark slacks or jeans and similar shoes.
If you find some people who are really big fans of your brand or shirt design, you could also sell shirts at the booth. You could also host a giveaway where people who purchase your services at the show can also enter for a drawing to win a shirt.
2. Invest in great signage
Homemade signs are great for roadside vegetable stands, but they can hurt the professional look of a trade-show booth. Instead, have your signs and banner made by a professional sign company. If you have more than one sign, be sure they match in font and color so your brand is easy to pick out from a crowd. Homemade signs are only great for items that have a naturally rustic feel. For example, if you're selling handmade goat-milk soap, a chalkboard sign made from reclaimed wood would match your item and send a professional message. A hand-drawn banner for computer repair services or photography would not.
3. Use simple color schemes and décor
The phrase "less is more" is especially true at high-volume, interactive events like trade shows. Instead of hanging every type of product you sell, select a few items to really showcase. You want to keep your display clean and uncluttered, as customers are easily overwhelmed by displays that look too busy. For example, if you're a photographer, hang two or three examples of your best work in large prints instead of hanging many frames and canvases of different sizes. Once customers enter your booth, drawn in by the great work, you could provide a catalog-style portfolio for them to browse. Have one wall dedicated to white backdrop and offer to take a trade-show portrait for free. By emailing out the free prints, you have immediate post-show contact with anyone who opted in for a free picture.
This principle applies to other items as well. If you knit, showcase top-selling items like mittens, socks, and scarves. If you're promoting a cleaning service, have a single display and a few printouts of testimonials.
4. Have the right help
It's crucial to really spend time interacting with the people who come to your booth. This can be tough to do when it's so busy and you're the only one there to answer questions or take orders. A professional operation has enough staff to handle demand. Be sure you have a few people who are available to help customers, and have a few employees (or friends) standing by on call in case things get too busy.