Seven Ways to Set Up Your Event Booth for Success 


By Cassie Jo Arend

Whether you’re headed to a large tradeshow, small job fair, or hosting a virtual event booth, what you bring to the show matters. Here are seven tips for success as you navigate the new show year. 

  • The booth can’t do it all. 

Your booth sets the stage, but the people working sell your brand or product. That said, your booth does have a very important purpose. You have one second to catch an attendee’s eye, and your booth has the opportunity to help you with that. 

What sets your brand or product apart from others? Tell that visually through your booth. Quality can be portrayed with rich colors and textures. Innovation can be shown through images, videos and vivid colors. The goals can drive the design and help you get the right visitors to stop at your booth. 

  • Keep it simple. 

Too much stuff can be distracting from the message you want to portray. Keep giveaways or literature to a minimum while maximizing its appeal. Try limiting it to one brochure or rack card about your product(s), one general publication about your company and one or two small giveaways that are useful to anyone (i.e. chapstick, keychain flashlight or notepad). Then have other items hidden or to the side. For example, keep more detailed product guides or folders next to or under your table for use when having a conversation about that product or topic. It’s also nice to have a larger giveaway for the current or ideal customers who stop to talk. 

  • Step out and SMILE. 

People are the most important part of a booth. Don’t stand back and try to blend in with the booth or wait for someone to talk to you. Step out by the walkway, smile and talk to passersby. People are more likely to slow down and look at your booth if those working it are friendly and engaging. 

It’s fine to start with small talk, like offering a compliment on a hair style, noticing their nametag and company, or asking how the show is going for them so far. Trade show attendees are as unsure about how to start the conversation as you are, but it’s the exhibitor’s job to make them feel welcome. 

  • Know what to say. 

Everyone working the booth should be armed with consistent messaging about your company, brand and products. Remember, you want every visitor to walk away knowing more about what your company can offer them. 

Conduct a pre-tradeshow meeting to make sure your booth workers are all on the same page, understand their role and have a high level of comfort with the interactions and follow up they’re expected to conduct. 

  • Be consistent and branded. 

Your branding should be consistent throughout your booth; from the backdrop to tablecloths, promotional items or your clothing; it should all be consistent. If you are there to promote one line of products, don’t wear a shirt with a logo for a different product line. This only confuses your visitors unnecessarily, while making your company look less put-together. 

  • Give them a reason to stop. 

You don’t have to have thousands of dollars worth of promotional items, but something unique or interesting can always incentivize people to stop at your booth. You could offer a free item (think Yeti cooler or iPad) to one lucky person, but they’ll have to give you a business card to enter (hint, use this for lead generation). You could also have a fun but inexpensive giveaway if they talk to you (think drink/treat tickets or a branded mind puzzle). 

  • Follow Up

Be sure to follow up on any leads or connections you make at the event. The best way to keep people coming to you is to make a positive impact on those who have visited before. As soon as you return to the office (or before if you have a terrific administrative assistant), enter all of your leads into a contact relationships management system (CRM) and set reminders to call or schedule a follow-up meeting to learn more about opportunities to work together. Connect with new contacts through LinkedIn. This is the time to start an ongoing relationship by creating value for them through your newsletter, blog or your expert insights through social media.