Even with online marketing tactics on the rise, trade shows should not be excluded from your yearly B2B marketing budget.

Exhibit Surveys Inc.'s Trade Show Trends Report indicates that 49% of trade show attendees come to shows with intent to purchase. This indicates a huge amount of buying power walking around and potentially looking at your booth.

We’ve gathered a few trade show booth ideas from the experts to help you plan your next exhibit.

Be Different

Steve Olinski - Content Strategist at Oracle

For an effective trade show booth, set yourself apart from the others and try to stand out. Trade show attendees tend to feel overwhelmed in a gargantuan booth, so sometimes simple is better.

Steve recommends an intimate setting with a table and chairs so your visitors can get comfortable. A minimal booth with light refreshments is a great way to encourage attendees to stop and see what you have to offer.

Give Away The Best Stuff

Janine Popick - CEO of VerticalResponse

A very important part of your trade show presence is what you give away. Having the best giveaway can lead to attendees lining up at your table and walking away with something memorable with your company name on it.

Janine explains there’s three questions you should ask before determining what to give away -

  1. Is it useful? - Give your attendees something they need and they will use it again and again. Backpacks, pens, and other daily necessities guarantee that you’ll see someone walking around with your branded schwag.
  2. Is it cool, funny, or silly? - Silly giveaways like stuffed animals and light-up sunglasses generate buzz and encourage people to snap photos wearing your stuff. It's good social media "bait," too.
  3. Does it fulfill an immediate need? - Snack, drinks, and a place to sit are a great way to draw people to your booth. Solve their immediate problem of hunger or tired feet and they may listen to what you have to say.


Lew Hoff - President of Barzitan

Trade show attendees are constantly on their phones checking messages, tweeting trade show comments, and writing notes. Give them a reason to stay on the floor as their phone battery depletes - become a charging station!

Either rent a dedicated charging station or build one yourself. Hang a “Charging Lounge” sign and set up a table, chairs, power strips, and universal chargers to draw attendees to your booth.

Use this increased foot traffic to get your message out. Set up iPads or a video monitor with a promo video of your offering, and use this time to chat with your charging patrons to let them know how you can help.

Nurture Your Leads

Be sure to collect email addresses to follow up with any potential leads.

Heather Holdorf recommends being transparent with attendees and let them know they’re going to be placed on an email list with an opportunity to unsubscribe.

Attendees receive a lot of emails following an event, so try to send them interesting content and don’t spam their inbox.

If you’re going to follow up personally with a lead, wait a few days. Many trade show attendees receive tons of calls immediately following an event.

If the trade show is on a Friday, wait until Wednesday afternoon to call. This gives your lead a chance to breathe and wade through the pile of information they received.

Automate Your Follow-Up

If you’re looking for another trade show exhibit idea, we recommend automating your trade show follow-up or writing and automating a series of follow-ups at regular intervals.

A few well thought out emails sent automatically to your leads can save time while helping you reach the masses that were (hopefully) flocking to your booth.

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