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Increasing sales is the single most common trade show and exhibition objective. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, it is the goal of 83 percent of marketers. So how do you maximize sales at trade shows and exhibitions? To achieve this goal you need to attract plenty of attention in a competitive environment. And most other exhibitors have the same goal.

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Here, we present 15 top tips for exhibition services, ideas, and features that will help you to attract visitors and maximize sales at your next trade show.


maximize sales at trade shows

1. High-Impact Exhibition Stands

Your stand is likely to be the first thing visitors will see. It needs to impress them. Modular exhibition stands are the most cost-effective option, as they can be re-used, while also allowing a good degree of customisation. However, a full custom-built stand can really pack a punch through the use of unconventional shapes and designs. Picking the right stand for your business is a key decision. It will greatly impact your success so it is worth spending time on this one.

maximize sales at trade shows

2. Digital Photo Booths

Digital photo booths allow customers to capture a memory or a moment in time. They provide entertainment through the inclusion of filters of special effects. Photo booths also allow companies to brand the photos that are created. Branded photos make it easy for visitors to share their experience and photos on social media, enabling the brand to reach a wider audience too.


3. Relaxing Lounge Areas

The inclusion of a lounge area gives your visitors a chance to step off of the main exhibition floor, sit down and talk to staff in a more relaxed environment. The provision of refreshments, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone chargers can also help to keep visitors at your stand for longer. A lounge area can facilitate more meaningful sales-based conversations.

maximize sales at trade shows

4. Live Social Media Walls

Social media walls and other similar exhibition services work by encouraging visitors to get involved in the online discussion. They can help your hashtags to grow in popularity on social media, therefore brand engagement too. Moreover, positive messages displayed on the wall can help to attract new visitors to the stand, increasing the chances of making sales. However, these need to be actively monitored to manage effectively to moderate any good, negative or even detrimental exposure.

maximize sales at trade shows

5. Competitions or Contests

By running a competition, or hosting a quiz or physical contest, you can start to generate a buzz throughout the exhibition. The competition itself can also serve as a memorable moment. The activity allows brands to build a deeper relationship with customers. On top of that, the provision of a prize can help to create interest in your products or services.


maximize sales at trade shows

6. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is still new enough and rare enough in home settings to have a novelty factor. More importantly, it allows marketers to change visitor’s perception of their surroundings. Virtual reality at events can provide attendees with a memorable experience. The virtual world you create can also be cleverly branded, to increase awareness. In fact, VR is one of our top trends for 2018.

7. Personal Invitations

Send out personal invitations to customers or contacts that you hope will attend.  This is a good way to attract high-value visitors. Sending personal invitations also can let your contacts and customers know they are valued by your business.


maximize sales at trade shows8. Ads in Trade Publications

Advertising in trade publications is an effective way to attract a more general audience. By placing ads it lets attendees and prospective clients know in advance that you are going to be at the exhibition. Those who are reading trade publications in your area of expertise are also more likely to take an interest in your products if they have seen your brand in an ad.

9. Branded Giveaways

Freebies are a great way to allow customers to try products before they buy. Giveaways like baseball caps, for instance, can generate goodwill, while spreading awareness of your business. Anything you hand out should be clearly branded so that other attendees see passers-by with your freebies. This will entice other attendees and make them more inclined to visit your booth.

10. Speaking At the Event

Gaining a speaking role at the event can help to establish you and your business as thought leaders. By poising yourself as an expert, you can increase your standing at the event. It can also, on a more simple level, help to create greater awareness of your brand and what it has to offer customers.

You can also add a speaker to your booth to create a buzz and more engagement. Canon is a brand that does this very well. Every year at the major photography conference WPPI, they have a star-studded panel. The speakers often have live demonstrations, and lectures to inspire others to want to work with Canon. Below is a screenshot of part of the 2016 line up.


maximize sales at trade shows

11. Well Designed Uniform

A very simple technique to attract attention is to create a branded uniform. Create a uniform specifically for the show that your staff will wear when manning the stand. This is especially effective for businesses people wouldn’t expect a uniform to be worn.

12. Downloadable Content

It is important to understand that exhibitions can become crowded and people can be in a rush. Therefore, not everyone will have time to stop by your stand and read lots of material. A great solution to this, however, is to offer content that can be easily downloaded to a smartphone or a memory stick and read or viewed later.

13. Collaboration With Other Exhibitors

One method that can be extremely effective for attracting traffic is to take team up with other exhibitors at the trade show.  Come to an agreement where you will both direct visitors to each other’s stands if they seem like they will be interested in what the other is selling.

14. Eye-Catching Lighting

maximize sales at trade shows

Lighting can sometimes be overlooked in the quest for a great exhibition stand. Effective, eye-catching lighting arrangements can draw plenty of interest. In fact, lighting can make or break your booth. It is important to make sure your lighting fits the overall mood of your exhibition. Lighting should be positioned to draw attention to things like products, logos, and displays. Speak to your AV team to ensure you are using lighting intentionally to create the results and emotions you desire your attendees to experience.

15. Gamification

Adding a game element to your stand design can be a clever way to attract visitors. Furthermore, gamification can also engagement visitors, enticing them to stay longer.  The sky is the limit on gamification. From bespoke games specially designed to showcase your company’s products or services, to more generic games such as stress tests or puzzles. Gamification has a proven track record to enhance exhibition visitors’ experience as well as improve brand recall. So use it!


maximize sales at trade shows

With these tips, you are now armed to attract more visitors & maximize sales at trade shows. Remember the better the experience your visitors have, the better the chance they remember your brand and products. Enhancing attendees experience and engaging your audience is your best bet to a successful booth! What’s your favorite tip for attracting more visitors & maximize sales at trade shows? We want to here! Comment below!

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Reno Macri

Author Reno Macri

Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in retail designs, graphic productions, signage systems, event branding, exhibition stands design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends.

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