Trade Show Exhibit Displays: How to Make a Great First Impression

Your trade show exhibit display is a direct reflection of your company image. It also portrays the level of product quality and service customers can receive. Furthermore, it is the first impression you make on potential clients. In short, you need to nail your trade show exhibit display if you want to reel in potential clients.

In order to be effective, your exhibit needs to make a visually strong first impression. Furthermore, your exhibit display needs to clearly communicate your message and benefits in a matter of seconds. This small window of time is critical to driving traffic to your exhibit and maximizing sales opportunities. Why? Well, your competitors across the aisle are working aggressively to attract the same potential clients.

Initial Steps Towards Nailing Your Trade Show Exhibit Display

The first step towards producing a stellar trade show exhibit display is to answer the following questions:

  1. What do you want to accomplish at each trade show event?
  2. What are the specific objectives that define whether, or not, you’ve succeeded?
  3. How many events do you plan to attend over the course of the year?
  4. What sort of audience does each event attract – national, regional, or local audiences?
  5. How many displays do you need at each event?
  6. What type of image and marketing message(s) do you need to communicate via your display?
  7. What sort of location will you have at each event: in-line, corner, end, island?
  8. How much space does your exhibit display require?
  9. How will you transport your exhibit to each show? Will you require a company that specializes in trade show freight or will you ship and store the exhibit yourself?
  10. What sort of budget do you have for trade shows? Remember that exhibit displays can range from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $50,000 for a top-tier custom display.
  11. What sort of display lighting and booth accessories will you need for your exhibit? Make sure to include these items in your planning and trade show budget!

Types of Trade Show Exhibit Displays

It doesn’t matter if you opt for a custom exhibit or adapt a used or rental unit. The type of trade show display you need depends on the nature of the shows you attend and what you want to accomplish at each one.

Here are a few “standard” types of exhibition stands and displays.

Truss Displays

These exhibits are made of lightweight aluminum and steel tubing, which provides a modern and high-tech presence. Furthermore, truss displays are extremely flexible in terms of overall application and utilization. You can configure truss displays in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can construct your entire exhibit out of truss displays, or use them as accents for special features, display walls, islands, entrance ways, and more.

Trade Show Exhibit Displays - Truss Displays

Tabletop Displays

These displays offer a less expensive option for smaller events and feature a lightweight exhibit that, well…sits on top of a table. Tabletop displays typically have three panels with graphics and headlines attached with velcro, which makes them easy to change and update.

Backlit Trade Show Displays

Backlit displays and freestanding lightboxes feature LED lighting that illuminates graphics from behind and helps your display stand out in a crowded exhibit hall. There are a variety of options whether you are exhibiting in an 8′, 10′, or 20′ booth space. Backlit displays can be done with many types of hardware and frame systems, based on your exhibiting requirements.

Pop Up Displays

Easy and quick to set up and take down, pop-up displays are highly transportable and feature a lightweight folding frame covered with magnetic-backed fabric, vinyl, or plastic panels. The displays are a good match for small booth areas and can be used to create curved or angled walls for your exhibit.

Retractable Banner Stands

These pull-up banner stands provide a lightweight, easy method to accent your booth with additional graphics and brand messaging. They function as a window shade in reverse and can be placed together or in different booth locations, based on your design needs.

Panel Displays

Panel displays consist of fabric-covered rectangular sections that are connected to make a wall. They are versatile and can be readily adapted to different booth sizes and configurations.

In an exhibition hall, booth areas for displays are created with backdrop drapery, which is typically provided by the venue or event sponsor. However, these pipe and drape systems are quite flexible and many companies use them for other purposes, such as a divider for a large meeting room or attractive background for a speaker.

Trade Show Exhibit Displays - Generic 1

Selecting a Trade Show Exhibit Display Company

Choosing the right exhibit company to partner with is essential to the success of your trade show strategy. Start by carefully researching companies that create and sell quality trade show displays.

Look for suppliers that:

  1. Portray the skills to effectively communicate and service your needs
  2. Have extensive experience designing and producing a wide array of exhibits types and sizes
  3. Commit to meeting your budget requirements
  4. Have a consistent track record of on-time delivery
  5. Guarantee the work in writing

The best place to start sourcing a trade show exhibit display supplier is to visit a show and talk with exhibitors in non-competing industries who have the type of exhibit booth and display banners you like.

You may want to get referrals from professional organizations, your chamber of commerce, and/or colleagues. Of course, the internet is another valuable resource for finding trade show display companies worldwide.

Once you have a list of possible suppliers of set up a time to talk with a representative or two from each company. This will enable you to assess expertise, learn how each firm operates, ask about pricing and budget controls, request photographs of completed projects, and secure a list of references to contact.

A number of trade show exhibit companies also rent displays to companies interested in testing different types and sizes of exhibits before moving forward with a purchase. Exhibit rental is also a cost-effective option for organizations that exhibit only once or twice a year. Click here for more about trade show display rentals.

Graphics and Banners

You want your trade show exhibit graphics and banners to grab people’s attention and draw them into your booth. Most suppliers provide graphic services either in-house or on a contracted basis.

Check out the work they have done for others. If you don’t like what you see, hire your own graphic designer to help produce artwork for your booth.

Be sure graphics and banners with your company or product name are highly visible, well-lit, and features large easy-to-read type. You may want to have multiple signs in different areas of your booth. Keep your message succinct and direct. After all, you only have about three seconds to make an impression and turn a prospect into a viable lead.

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