Between travel, budgeting, booth setup and breakdown, post-show events, and the rest of it, even the best trade show marketer knows there’s bound to be a snafu or two.
Many of these little miscues are out of your control. But those aren’t the mistakes you need to worry about. What you should be worried about are the completely avoidable mistakes, especially if they’re related to your booth.
To that end, here are the 7 things your potential customers should never see in your booth.
1- Low-quality materials and/or poor workmanship
Regardless of your industry, the product you sell, or the charisma of your salespeople, your booth is an extension of your brand. In other words, the way people perceive your booth is how they’ll perceive your brand. A booth that looks cheap or feels flimsy because of poor workmanship reflects a cut-rate, flimsy brand.
That’s far more costly to your business than paying a little extra for high-quality materials and expert booth construction. So, fortunately, this mistake is fairly easy to avoid.
2- Misfit flooring
We’ve written about the flooring at most trade shows before, but long story short, it often leaves a lot to be desired. But it’s a mistake to think that you have to accept the trade show floor as the flooring for your booth. You can use vinyl flooring, floor mats, or other high-quality materials to serve as your booth’s flooring. That way, the dull carpet of the trade show doesn’t reflect poorly on your brand.
3- Dull colors
Designing artwork for your booth is one thing, but ensuring that artwork is translated from your screen to the booth without color degradation is easier said than done. And like poor materials or misfit flooring, dull colors will make people less likely to want to learn more about your company. To avoid this mistake, make sure you’re working with a print vendor who can guide you through the process of executing your designs effectively for display on a tradeshow booth.
4- Blurry, pixelated, or distorted graphics
Like dull colors, blurry, pixelated, or distorted graphics are often caused by failures in the production process. Regardless of the cause, though, given the short amount of time you have to capture trade show attendees’ attention, graphics that don’t clearly communicate your message to your potential customers must be avoided at all costs.
We’ve written before about the importance of creating a booth with your objective in mind. The most effective booths have design elements, layouts, and features that all work together to support your objective. But when distractions find their way into your booth, it becomes difficult to keep your audience focused on the actions you want them to take.
By all means, make your booth fun and interactive. But remember that things like loud colors, too many monitors, or strobe lights—though they might attract attention—will ultimately distract your potential customers from meaningful interactions with your salespeople.
Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes for a minute. Would you trust your business to a company that can’t even bother to double-check their spelling on a booth that’s going to be seen by thousands of people? Typos are completely avoidable, so double and triple check, and don’t be caught with this mistake at your next trade show.
7- Pointless promotional giveaways
This one could fall under the category of distractions, but it’s such a common mistake, it deserves its own number. When you don’t think through your promotional giveaways, they won’t help support your trade show goals. Plus, if your giveaways don’t fit within your strategy in some way, they’re simply a waste of money that could be more effectively used elsewhere in your trade show budget.
For example, if you run a commercial carpet cleaning business, your giveaway should be relevant to your business. In that case, giving away carpet cleaner samples makes more sense than giving away a branded bottle of sunblock.
Looking for Examples of Excellent Booths?
We talked a lot about what it looks like when trade show booths go wrong. For a look at what happens when trade show booths go right, head over to Riot’s Flickr page where you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your next trade show booth design project.