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Exhibiting with a new trade show display can be exciting.  Whether this is your first show, or a part of a more comprehensive trade show display exhibiting program, there are multiple opportunities to make mistakes that could not only affect your ROI, but cost you both time and money.  If you’re not prepared to find out the pitfalls the hard way, then let’s take a step back and review common areas where exhibitors fall short so that you can avoid making these mistakes at your next trade show:

Your Trade Show Display is a Cluttered Mess

Want to know what stands out from other trade show exhibitors, especially in rows of 10×10 displays or in 10×20 displays?  A messy trade show display can stand out for all the wrong reasons and turn off people who could be potentially interested in your goods or services.  Instead, focus on a clean presentation of your messaging and goods or services.  Smaller spaces are harder to fit into if there’s a ton of things in people’s way.  Consider a simple trade show display back wall with a reception counter or even a media stand to enhance your messaging.  If you attach this media wall to the back wall, then you’ve saved space and encourage people to enter into a clearer trade show display space.  Don’t get overexcited and start shoving everything you can think of into a smaller space.  The more elements present in your booth space, the more it discourages people from coming in to have a discussion about your products.

Your Trade Show Display is Outdated

A rule of thumb is that depending on how much use your display gets, storage, and pulling and packing, in the most careful of circumstances, it’s recommended to replace it every 3-5 years.  Often, even if the display is in perfect condition, your messaging or branding is outdated.  Have you redone your website?  Is there a new product to introduce to the market?  If the bones of the structure are still looking great, then try replacing the graphics in your trade show display to keep it looking fresh as long as possible.  This can also allow your company to order multiple graphics for various audiences, ensuring your messaging hits the mark every time with various crowds. Don’t show up to your next trade show with frayed, faded, or outdated graphics.  Trade show attendees will judge you on your trade show display; if it looks aged and weathered, they’ll assume you’re not doing so well because you’ve neglected your display. Make sure you put your best possible foot forward by keeping it in great condition or replacing items that need to be replaced.

Your Trade Show Display Doesn’t Clearly Communicate Your Goods or Services

If you’ve only got seconds to grab someone’s attention at a trade show, your trade show display needs to be able to communicate that clearly.  Is it clear looking at your graphics and messaging what your company does?  Do you manufacture widgets?  Are you a service provider in a niche area?  Can anyone tell?  If you’ve got a bit of a complex story to tell with your messaging, use multiple graphic panels in your trade show display, maybe a monitor, or even overhead signage to communicate your goods and services.  A visitor should come away with a clear sense of what your value proposition is and how you might be able to benefit their business.  If not, you’ve stumbled into a large trade show mistake.  If you only feature a smiling face of a nurse and a logo, visitors may be confused.  Are you a healthcare staffing agency?  Do you provide medical equipment?  Is there a technology you offer to streamline these services?  There’s a delicate balance and it’s your job to find it to communicate with visitors effectively.

Your Trade Show Display Lacks Lighting

Lighting is an often misunderstood element of a good trade show display.  Whether large or small, there are multiple options for exhibitors to illuminate their messaging and their presence on the trade show floor.  This could be as simple as attaching some LED lights to the top of a pop up display or it could mean purchasing a backlit display.  Light boxes are also common elements to include in trade show displays.  There are many options for exhibitors to take advantage of that will fit into a variety of budgets.  Consider your options before taking the plunge.  You could start simply by obtaining a pop up display with LED lights attached at the top and as your budget grows, you can always upgrade to a backlit display or larger light box.  Consult your friendly Account Executive for more information on what you can accomplish within your budget.

Trade shows are a great place to increase brand awareness and obtain more leads and sales.  However, they are also places where you can easily tank your expected ROI with a series of exhibiting mistakes.  Make sure you support your desired goals instead of tanking them by learning from these mistakes as you approach your next trade show.  For more great advice, ask your Account Executive what they recommend.

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