Trade Show Displays: An Essential Guide for Successful Exhibiting

Trade shows offer a unique opportunity for businesses to showcase their products or services to a targeted audience. Trade show displays are one of the most effective marketing tools used by businesses to attract potential customers, generate leads, and close deals. But what exactly are trade show displays, and how can businesses make the most of them? In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to trade show displays, covering everything from planning to execution and follow-up.

1. Introduction

Trade shows have been around for centuries, and they continue to be a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and industries. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), trade shows in the US alone generate more than $80 billion in economic activity annually. With such a huge impact, it’s no wonder that businesses invest significant time and money into exhibiting at trade shows. But with so many exhibitors vying for attention, how can your business stand out?

The answer lies in your trade show display. Your display is your brand’s storefront, and it needs to be eye-catching, engaging, and informative. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create a successful trade show display.

2. Why Trade Show Displays Matter

Trade show displays are a vital component of your overall trade show strategy. They serve as your primary means of attracting visitors, communicating your brand message, and differentiating your business from your competitors. A well-designed and well-executed trade show display can help you:

  • Attract more visitors to your booth
  • Generate more leads and sales
  • Increase brand awareness and recognition
  • Build relationships with potential customers
  • Educate visitors about your products or services

Trade show displays are also a cost-effective marketing tool. Unlike other forms of advertising, trade shows allow you to interact with potential customers face-to-face, which can lead to more meaningful connections and a higher ROI.

3. Types of Trade Show Displays

There are several types of trade show displays to choose from, depending on your budget, booth size, and goals. Some of the most common types include:

  • Pop-up displays: These are lightweight, portable displays that can be set up quickly and easily. They are ideal for smaller booths or businesses with limited resources.
  • Modular displays: These displays are made up of multiple pieces that can be configured in different ways to suit your needs. They are more customizable than pop-up displays and can be expanded as your business grows.
  • Custom exhibits: These are custom-built displays that are designed to meet your specific needs. They are the most expensive type of trade show display but offer the most flexibility and creativity.

4. Planning Your Trade Show Display

Planning is key to creating a successful trade show display. Before you even start designing your display, you need to determine your goals, budget, and target audience. Some questions to consider include:

  • Choosing the right booth size: Make sure your booth size is appropriate for the number of products or services you want to showcase and the number of staff you will have on hand.
  • Selecting the right location: Choose a location that is highly visible and easily accessible for visitors. Consider proximity to other booths, traffic flow, and lighting.
  • Creating a floor plan: Sketch out a rough floor plan that shows the location of your booth, display units, furniture, and other elements.
  • Creating a schedule: Develop a schedule that outlines when you will set up your booth, when staff will be working, and when you will break down your booth.

5. Designing Your Trade Show Display

Designing your trade show display is where you can really let your creativity shine. Your display should be visually appealing, informative, and on-brand. Here are some tips for designing an effective trade show display:

  • Keep it simple: Your display should be easy to understand at a glance. Use clear, concise messaging and avoid clutter.
  • Use high-quality materials: Invest in high-quality graphics, signage, and materials that will withstand wear and tear.
  • Highlight your unique selling points: Make sure your display highlights what makes your product or service unique and valuable to potential customers.
  • Incorporate interactive elements: Consider incorporating interactive elements, such as touchscreens or demos, to engage visitors and showcase your products or services.

6. Choosing the Right Graphics and Signage

The graphics and signage you choose for your trade show display can make a big impact on visitors. Here are some tips for choosing the right graphics and signage:

  • Use high-resolution images: Choose images that are high-quality and eye-catching to grab visitors’ attention.
  • Keep text to a minimum: Use short, punchy headlines and bullet points to convey your message quickly and clearly.
  • Choose the right colors: Use colors that are on-brand and attention-grabbing.
  • Incorporate your logo: Make sure your logo is prominently displayed on your display to help visitors identify your brand.

7. Booth Staffing and Training

Your booth staff can make or break your trade show display. It’s important to choose staff members who are friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about your products or services. Here are some tips for staffing and training your booth:

  • Choose the right staff: Look for staff members who have strong communication skills, are knowledgeable about your products or services, and are comfortable talking to strangers.
  • Train your staff: Make sure your staff is well-versed in your brand messaging, products or services, and any promotions or special offers you are running.
  • Provide incentives: Offer incentives or bonuses for staff members who generate leads or close sales at the trade show.

8. Setting Up and Preparing for the Show

Setting up your trade show display can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a smooth process. Here are some tips for setting up and preparing for the show:

Arrive early: Arrive at the venue early to ensure you have enough time to set up your booth.

Test your equipment: Make sure all of your equipment, such as monitors or projectors, are working properly before the show starts.

Have a backup plan: Bring extra supplies, such as extension cords or replacement graphics, in case of any technical difficulties.

Dress appropriately: Make sure your booth staff is dressed appropriately and on-brand.

9. Maximizing Your Booth Traffic

the battle when it comes to trade show displays. Here are some tips for maximizing your booth traffic:

  • Use social media: Promote your presence at the trade show on social media and encourage your followers to visit your booth.
  • Offer incentives: Offer visitors incentives, such as discounts or free samples, to encourage them to visit your booth.
  • Host a giveaway: Hold a giveaway or raffle to encourage visitors to stop by and learn more about your products or services.
  • Offer demonstrations: Set up a demo or interactive display to engage visitors and showcase your products or services.

10. Following Up After the Show

After the trade show is over, it’s important to follow up with any leads or potential customers you met at the show. Here are some tips for following up after the show:

Send personalized emails: Send personalized emails to each lead you met at the show, thanking them for stopping by your booth and providing more information about your products or services.

Make phone calls: Follow up with leads by phone to answer any questions they may have and gauge their level of interest.

Send promotional offers: Offer special promotions or discounts to encourage leads to make a purchase.

Evaluate your success: Evaluate the success of your trade show display by measuring metrics such as the number of leads generated or the number of sales made.


Trade show displays can be an incredibly effective way to showcase your products or services and generate leads. By following these tips for planning, designing, and staffing your display, you can make the most of your trade show experience and achieve your business goals.