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Marketing & Advertising

3 Ways To Attract Prospects On Trade Shows - A Checklist For Startups

by Wendy Dessler, from Outreachmama, on Nov 15
A trade show can be a great opportunity for your startup to get your name out there and introduce your small business to prospective customers.
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Thousands of interested customers, purchasing agents, decision-makers, and corporate buyers attend trade shows every year. Every business showcasing its products or services at a trade show has to work hard to stand out from the rest, and achieving this is not easy. According to a article on the value of trade shows, every business has three goals for trade shows: 

  • Generating leads
  • Building brand awareness
  • Developing relationships

None of these can be achieved without a plan. To make the most out of your trade show experience and attract more prospects, consider these tips. 

Make it Easy for Your Exhibit to Be Seen

Buyers are attracted to unique looking trade show exhibits. Make an effort to make your booth design as attractive as possible. Trade shows are large events, and many brands are competing for the limited space available, so standing out is an absolute must. Consider integrating your primary message across the top of your custom booth to draw attention and be virtually visible from any place in the exhibit hall. 

Secondary brand messaging should also be used to provide further details about your products or services and be easily seen once trade show attendees are close or inside your exhibit space. If you’re not sure about the type of look you want for your trade show exhibit, you should work with an experienced custom design house to help you design the best exhibit and incorporate your primary and secondary messaging into the design. 

In addition to having an appealing design and look, your exhibit should also be approachable. Having some smiling faces at the entrance is a must. According to Quality Logo Products, when it comes promoting your products, you should also have different display options to appeal to different people. Remember that people are different and some will want to interact with your staff while others will love reading materials or flyers. 

Create a Multidimensional Experience

Once you have done everything needed to attract and entice attendees to your trade show exhibit, it’s time to make the most out of their time in your booth. Every minute counts, so make sure that you have sufficient space and staff to handle everyone interested in what you’re selling or offering. Your custom island layout should be easy for attendees to navigate, obtain information about your services and interact with your line of products. 

From the time you start planning for a trade show, you have to focus on your exhibit’s structure and the individual elements within the environment. Consider every small detail including the furniture you’ll use, where to place it and how your startup representatives will meet and interact with interested customers or visitors. Deciding how traffic should flow is also critical when designing your custom island so you can gain maximum exposure and brand engagement.

Use Props and Pass Out Freebies

In addition to making your exhibit booth stand out, it helps to have something interesting in your booth. People are always attracted to engaging activities like contests and promotions. Consider incorporating creative props in your exhibit. For instance, if you are representing a veteran business, you can have a spinning prize wheel that visitors spin, then answer a few questions about your small business to get a prize in the form of a challenge coin

Creative props offer an opportunity to expand awareness, give something of value and stand out. Props can also be used to turn heads. For instance, if you are in the tech industry, you could have a mock giant tech gear right at the front of your booth to create interest. Offering freebies is also a great way to attract prospects on trade shows. 

From branded snacks and drinks to free candy and chocolates, giveaways are always a great idea, especially if they’re memorable and resonate with attendees even long after the trade show is over. The few minutes that an attendee stops to pick a freebie or gift, unwrap it and carry it away is enough for your give a 30-second elevator pitch about your services or products.  


In short, attracting prospects for your startup in a tradeshow starts with good preparation. According to a Huffington Post article on achieving trade show booth success, you’re not just spending money to turn up at a trade show and look appealing. With good preparation, the right custom island design and an ambitious product and service marketing plan, you can easily reach out to more customers and build new relationships for your business.   

Note: Full or partial copy of the publication is allowed only with the direct active link to InnMind platform.

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