• What’s the best way to stand out at the convention?

With only a few seconds to grab an attendee’s attention, you’ll need effective graphics and lighting to be noticed on the convention floor. Who is your target audience? What do they want to see? What side will they be coming from? Graphics need to be easily viewable, placed at eye level in order to be easily identified by the speeding attendee. The message should be simple and bold. Once they are reeled in from the aisle, it’s up to your booth staff to continue the conversation and deliver the pitch.

  • Is attending trade shows still a popular and effective way to reach potential clients?

Yes! According to CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in 2019 there were over 175,000 attendees, 4,500 exhibitors and 1,000 speakers! The truth is that having a trade show booth is still one of the most effective ways of finding new clients and creating more brand awareness.


  • I want to get into trade shows – how much does a booth cost?

Calculating costs can be tricky, but generally it boils down to the following:

  1. Trade show display, graphics and signage, flooring, furniture, and audio/visual.
  2. Services such as material handling, electrical, installation/dismantling and labor.
  3. Travel expenses
  4. Marketing prints such as business cards and brochures and product giveaways.

The average display is $100-150 per square foot. Most startups opt for a 10×10 booth size. So this would cost between $10,000-15,000 for a 10×10 display only.

EXHIBITOR Magazine provides an excellent breakdown of the budget that goes into an event, with the booth space making up 35% of the budget.


  • Why should I rent or purchase a booth display? I can make my own graphics.

First impressions matter. Having a custom rental booth is akin to looking professional at a job interview. A jacket and tie is the expected minimum, but a tailored suit can give a lasting positive impact. This can affect the attendee psychologically:

The sequence that we encounter matters in how we judge subsequent information. The exaggerated impact of first impressions is related to the halo effect, that phenomenon whereby the perception of positive qualities in one thing or part gives rise to the perception of similar qualities in related things or in the whole. – Psychology TodaySource

Success breeds success! A strong first impression: properly lit product displays, lightbox displays, hanging signs, and letterbox logos (when properly executed) can make for a strong booth display. To achieve this, you will want to partner up with a custom exhibit house. By working with IMI Exhibits, the focus becomes branding and presentation.

Your participation in a trade show is an investment – strengthen it by hiring IMI Exhibits to custom tailor an environment that will fit your needs.

  • What’s the best way to strengthen my investment if I rent a trade show booth?

Advertisements, booth rental, and travel expenses can take a toll. While the cost of a trade show is high, it pays off with increased clientele and product exposure. It’s important to take action to increase your company’s success when delving into the convention arena. Here are a few tips:

Check out the show beforehand. Always scope out the convention the year prior to joining as an exhibitor. It may help to check YouTube for a walk through of the previous year, but nothing beats being there in person. The most important question to answer during this trip: “Will it be worth it?” Is there enough foot traffic to this show? Can I generate leads here?

Register early to get a good spot. It always helps to be early when it comes to registering for an event. You can message the convention registrar if you have a specific booth spot in mind. There are a few tricks behind getting a good location, as outlined by TSNN. Most conventions offer a discount for registering early, take advantage of this to get the most out of your ROI.

Make connections. Social media may help in this regard, but you want to make sure that you collect your leads. Exposure and B2B contacts are just as important. Don’t skimp out on promotions. While this eats into the budget, having a raffle or giveaway can capture an audience that will generate leads.

Tracking ROI. Make sure you’re tracking the ROI for your event. If you don’t, there’s no way to gauge whether or not the event was a success. What does each lead cost? Which of your staff captured the most leads? This helps answer the most important question: Is this show worth it?

  • How do I save money at a trade show?

If executed properly, trade show results justify the costs with the generated leads that turn into new sales. By keeping your costs low, you can have a greater ROI.

Early bird specials. As mentioned in the previous question, the early bird discount is offered on registration, but also on other services such as electrical, drayage, rigging, and others. Altogether these discounts can be significant, so plan ahead and keep deadlines in mind.

Exhibit Rental. Renting the display saves a significant amount (up to 30%) when going through a custom exhibit house. There are many fees that you waive altogether when renting: including storage, maintenance and refurbishing fees.

Target move in & move out. Social media may help in this regard, but you want to make sure that you collect your leads. Exposure and B2B contacts are just as important. Don’t skimp out on promotions. While this eats into the budget, having a raffle or giveaway can capture an audience that will generate leads.

Pop up Displays. If you’re just starting out, pop up displays are a godsend. Using a lightweight aluminum accordion frame and a printed custom fabric, you can reduce shipping and labor costs, while maintaining a professional appearance.

Double check the billing once the show ends. More than often the general service contractor may have tacked on a service charge or two that wasn’t part of your booth. Always check and follow up anything that looks suspicious on your invoice.

  • I’ve got my booth, how can I attract a crowd?

Now that you stand out from the crowd, here are a few things you can do to make them stop in their tracks:

Product demonstrations. Every county fair has that one booth that’s pitching kitchen knives or blending/juicing tools. It never fails to attract a crowd. People love to watch a before and after, they stay and visualize themselves using the product in their own kitchen. They can see themselves bragging to their significant other about their nifty purchase. People want to see how things work. Having a product demo is an amazing way to gather a crowd. After the demo, people want to know more information. How will it make their lives easier? How much does it cost? How long is the warranty? It pushes the audience to ask your sales team questions: the leads will pour in.

Have fun. The booth person with the ginsu knives isn’t a salesman – they’re a performer. The entertainment factor is what stops the crowd, the performer isn’t trying to sell them something – they’re offering a distraction with an elaborate show-and-tell. It serves as a disarming effect, the attendee’s curiosity is piqued and wants to learn more. There’s no better time to collect their information or schedule a follow-up.

Host a promo activity. Combining the previous two points, creating an activity that targets your audience, like a time trial, raffle, industry trivia game can attract traffic. Use social media to announce your activity, some shows can add you to their schedule of events and even announce it over the PA system. If you can make the event social media worthy – tying in a post + hashtag for the event that the attendee can make, it can boost awareness and help them remember you.