Five Tips for a Successful Trade Show Booth

Here are some great tips from my friend Steve Boutwell, Director of Client Services at Kean Miller in Baton Rouge, LA:

My firm exhibited at a large conference of in-house attorneys this week. The experience reinforced the notion that if you put a lot of thought and effort into trade show marketing, it can pay big dividends. If you don't, well, it won't. A few thoughts:

1) Engage passersby: If you engage them, they will come. If you simply nod, or read internal email from your firm about someone finding a set of keys in bathroom on your Blackberry/iPhone/Android, or eat, or stare into space, you’ve lost them. However, if you engage attendees with a “good morning”, or a “how are you” or some other acknowledgement, you’ll have more success.

2) Shiny Objects: Like bees to flowers, have shiny, colorful, unusual trinkets. Pen? Multicolor highlighter? Candy? Why bother! We are a Louisiana firm, so we had our own hot sauce, Mardi Gras beads, cookbooks, and Gumbo mix.

3) Elevator Speech: Be prepared to tell a compelling story about your firm in 15 seconds or less. Rehearse it well and be prepared to make it interesting. Follow your story by asking about theirs.

4) Information Capture: Ask for a business card, send a follow up communication (we are sending New Orleans pralines), and add contacts to your CRM.

5) Never Leave: Man your booth as if your life depended on it. Some of the best conversations we had were during times the in-house counsel were coming from, running to, or avoiding the CLE sessions altogether.


I love the tip about giving Mardi Gras beads. Giving something that's uniquely New Orleans is a great idea. Now if Steve asked attendees to pull up their shirts and show show off to get the beads -- that would be priceless.

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Fletcher, Rohrbaugh & Chahine, LLP - April 30, 2012 1:35 PM

Very useful and interesting tips! I'll be sure to utilize this list in the near future. Thank you for posting and I look forward to more!

annaharris1 - May 17, 2012 5:03 AM

Some other important tips I describe below.
1> Remember Your Goals: Consider how to convey your message using imagery. You may want to emphasize your company branding. If you are promoting a new product graphic images should evoke emotion.
2> Consider Your Target Audience: Focus on the benefits of your products and services and how they relate to your targeted audience.

Suncoast - December 27, 2012 1:51 PM

Thank you for your helpful tips on how to attract consumers at trade shows and how to be successful at these events!

Hi-Tech Export - January 1, 2013 11:58 AM

I appreciate your time and effort for successful trade show.
Step by step with great info…
Thanks for sharing.
It’s really great job.
Keep it up!

Skyline New Jersey - October 29, 2013 4:11 PM

Thank you for your post here. Setting yourself apart from other booths at a show as well as appealing available and interested definitely brings people in.

Exhibitor Source - December 20, 2013 3:03 PM

I really like the shiny objects one. It is really weird how it works, but it works.

Xtreme Trade Show Exhibits - March 5, 2014 2:34 PM

Good post Steve. Never ever leave is one of my favorite things to tell new exhibitors. Well being there constantly is not always possible, but keep breaks as short as possible because you never know when your leads will come through.

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