Trade shows are powerful lead generation, networking, and brand awareness events for every industry. However, it isn’t cheap, because having a presence and being a presence at a trade show are two entirely different things.

When planning your next trade show, it’s essential to make the most of your investment. Like all investments for your company, careful planning and fine-tuning the details is a must.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can optimize your trade show booth for success.

Get Social ASAP

One of the most valuable assets, pre-event, is social media. Often an overlooked step, social media can make your booth a must-visit destination during the trade show.

From the moment you lock in that trade show slot, launch a social media marketing campaign. This can influence industry leaders to follow your company on social, and maybe even share a few of your social posts.

Social media marketing for a trade show also compels your target audience, whether B2B or B2C, to plan a visit to your booth. Every event has a hashtag, so get it implemented into your daily social posts as soon as possible.

Social media post ideas can be about:

  • Special guests at your booth
  • Swag that you’ll be giving out
  • Food and drinks
  • Games, discounts, and promotions
  • Free product samples or trials
  • And much more

Location, Location, Location

The location of your trade show booth is very important. You want as much foot traffic as possible, and paying more for prime real estate isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

However, you need to be very proactive and act fast to carve out the perfect location. Most companies, especially competitors with bigger event budgets, will be chomping at the bit to get those prime locations.

This is good, because if you can land a spot between very well-known companies at the event, you can showcase how your products and/or services fill the gap, are more cost effective, and simply better than the competitors to your left and right.

This is something you can’t do online, which makes trade shows the perfect place to get your business in front of as many potential customers/clients as possible.

The Booth Awe Factor

After you get that prime piece of trade show real estate, you have a lot of work to do. The big-time players in your industry will most likely have amazingly aesthetic booths. This means you need to step up your game to stand out next to them.

A very attractive booth is colorful, has plenty going on, but also has your brand marketing vision very clear. It is definitely a delicate balance. Unfortunately, people do judge a book by its cover, and the same goes for your booth.

Investing more in a booth that has the awe factor is essential. You can lock your business development and marketing teams in a room to get this done, or there are other affordable options without the potential room for error.

For instance, a trade show booth rental could be the perfect solution. Rentals free up your team to focus on event details instead of booth aesthetics. This allows them to really get signage, swag, and other promotional elements just right.

Choose the Right Booth Hosts

Have you ever been lured into a trade show booth only to have only 50 percent of your questions answered? This is common, and makes choosing the right booth hosts vital to a successful event.

Find the delicate balance between very knowledgeable team members and very social ones. Like a two-wave, military-style assault, your friendly, social team should be the greeters and swag givers. Then, when pressing questions pop up, the experts can rush in as support.

You definitely can’t go wrong with this method. Finding these team members is easy too. Think about those who interact with clients and vendors the most. They are your promotional team. Those who are in those product design and development meetings every week are the Q&A support team.

Run a Trade Show Contest

Lead generation is at the forefront of your trade show efforts. One of the best ways to generate those coveted leads is to run a contest during the event. This increases booth foot traffic and allows you to collect names and email addresses in a very non-intrusive way.

For instance, you can run a giveaway each day of the event and gather plenty of leads. This keeps people coming back to your booth daily, giving you more time to nurture the relationship with them.

Ready to Optimize Your Booth?

Trade shows are ideal for businesses to connect with customers, competitors, and industry allies. You can use the event to generate leads and boost your brand awareness in a fun and informative way. The above booth optimization tactics can certainly help. What are some of your past trade show booth secrets?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.