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How to Develop a Great Trade Show Program

Trade shows offer businesses a great chance to display their products and services, meet others in the industry, and attract new customers. However, with so many competitors wanting attention, creating a display that stands out from others and promises to solve a visitor’s problems is essential. Here are some ways to develop a great tradeshow program.

Step 1: Pre-Show Planning

Preparing for a tradeshow is essential. Start by understanding your audience’s needs and determining what you want to accomplish at the tradeshow. What message should visitors see first? What message will draw the attention of show visitors? How many interactions will result in the ROI you need to recover the cost of participation?

For example, in the early years of introducing its solutions for Doctors, a Voice Dictation company simply said, “We Get You to the Golf Course Faster.” It was provocative enough that even if they did not golf, almost every Doctor stopped to ask for more information.

Step 2: Designing Your Display

Your display should reflect your overall branding, including logos, colours, and messaging. Ensure that your display attracts attention and considers the flow of traffic and visitor interaction.

Step 3: Interactive Elements

Having a strategy to engage with visitors is crucial. For some clients, incorporating interactive elements is the way to go. These may include touchscreen kiosks, product demonstrations, games, or contests—anything that encourages participation and keeps visitors at your booth longer. This allows your staff to engage with visitors as they wait in line for their chance to try your technology or win a prize.

The average visitor will only spend three minutes in your exhibit. Be prepared to act quickly to collect your visitor’s information, take note of their needs, and establish a follow-up time or meeting.

Step 4: Marketing Materials

Have plenty of marketing materials, such as brochures, business cards, and product samples. Ensure these are professionally designed and provide valuable information to visitors. A single-page flyer is often more likely to be taken home than a thick brochure that might make visitors overweight in airline luggage.

Step 5: Staff Training

How do you prepare for a single sales presentation? Will your staff be ready to make 100 or more presentations at the tradeshow? Your staff needs to be friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging. They should be able to answer basic questions about new products, provide information, and effectively communicate your brand’s message. If your staff lack experience, they need to know who to ask or make a note of the request.

This is a highly specialized style of selling, and there are many professional trainers in the Tradeshow industry, including myself.

Step 6: Follow-Up Strategy

Have a follow-up strategy in place after the trade show. Collect contact information from visitors and reach out with a thank you message, additional information, or any special offers.

Stand out from your competitors by sending a thank-you message for visiting. It’s the least you can do when considering your prospect may have spent thousands of dollars on airfare, hotel, and admission so they could visit your exhibit.


A successful trade show display is more than just a table and some brochures. It’s a comprehensive, engaging experience that can leave a lasting impression on visitors. With careful planning, a strong design, interactive elements, and a solid follow-up strategy, you can create a trade show display that stands out and communicates your brand’s message and values.

Remember, the key to a successful trade show is the visual appeal of your display and the interactions and experiences you provide to the visitors. Good luck with your trade show!

Need more info? Click HERE to get a free copy of our guide, Tradeshows Made Simple. And as always, for expert advice, contact one of our Industry Experts at sales@wk.graphics.

Brian Keobke Avatar