A successful trade show can have a huge impact on your company's growth and a 10x10 booth is a smart and affordable way to have your brand seen by some of the biggest influencers in your industry.
It's important that your booth represents your brand well because it could be an important growth tool for your company.
Below we've listed five common mistakes we often see that can sink your show but are easy to avoid.
Use this simple list as a guide for easy mistakes to avoid and you'll start each show with a solid foundation for success.
Mistake #1: Too Much Text On Your Display Graphic
This is the most common mistake that you’ll see at every event.
A company is excited to tell everyone about their products and services, which is great, but their display back wall is not the place to do that.
If the entire text on your 10x10 trade show booth display graphic takes longer than three seconds to digest, it’s probably too much text.
Think of your trade show booth display graphic as a storefront
Use Quick Text With A Singular Focus
Your trade show graphic text should be easy to read with a singular focus.
Aim to only cover 20%, or less, of your exhibit with text, which includes your company name.
The rest of the space should be made up of complementary visuals (roughly 40%) and white space (roughly 40%).
Remember that all fonts should be at least two inches in size for every three feet your attendees stand from the graphic. Also, try not to put more than three font styles on a single panel.
It’s easy for attendees to be overwhelmed with too much text or even misunderstand the details. Potential customers may assume you can’t meet their needs without ever talking to your staff.
If you really need to do bullet points, be sure they are brief and general in nature. Again, you want people to engage with your staff.
Always think of your back wall as a marketing tool, not a sales tool. Use your exhibit to attract guests and then let your booth staff do their thing.
Mistake #2: Not Enough Lighting On The Back Wall
Another common mistake in 10x10 trade show booths is to skip the lighting.
Many people don’t want to pay for electricity at the event when they have a smaller booth. Don’t let your exhibit fall into this trap.
Lighting gives your booth, and in turn your brand, a polished and professional look at an affordable cost.
If your booth is dim and requires any more effort at all to view, people will likely pass by. Trade shows are a stressful and chaotic few days and attendees are naturally attracted to the brands and booths that make things easier for them.
Adding just a couple small LED lights allows you to spotlight parts of your graphic, brighten your 10x10 booth, and make your entire exhibit more inviting.
Another way to boost your exhibit’s lighting is to consider a backlit display. There are plenty of quality options that are both easy to assemble and affordable for 10ft spaces.
Mistake #3: Not Leaving Enough Space In The Booth To Move Around
10x10 trade show booth spaces fill up quicker than you think.
Trying to squeeze more displays or monitor stands will not only make the booth look cluttered but it will keep people from coming in to engage with your staff, which is why you are there in the first place.
These types of panels allow you to hang a monitor or show off your merchandise, or do both at the same time, right on the back wall.
With your monitor or merchandise on the back wall, your staff has space to freely move around and engage attendees in your booth. This free space is actually what allows your team the ability to show products or walk through a presentation on your monitor.
Mistake #4: Not Enough Pre-Show Marketing
Waiting until the show starts to begin conversations with current, potential or desired customers is a mistake a lot of brands make, especially when using a smaller sized booth like a 10x10.
If your event is a few months away, create a list of people you want to contact in hopes of meeting at the event.
It’s important you have a clear list of goals and metrics for your event. This way you know what you’re trying to accomplish and who you need to talk with to reach that goal.
Two Months Before Your Trade Show
Send out emails or Linkedin InMails to the desired contacts.
These messages can be created in several ways. You can introduce your company or let customers know of exhibiting this year, provide free content, communicate your booth information and more.
Here are several email template ideas to help you maximize your marketing effort.
Special or secret incentives for customers who respond and set up a time to meet at the event can be a good way to break the ice and increase appointments.
Don’t be afraid to talk up the show a little bit. If you can convince others the show is worthwhile for their brand to attend, the easier it is to get a meeting.
One Month Before Your Trade Show
Run a few social media or YouTube ads letting your desired target market know you’ll be at the event and why they should be at the event too. In these ads, always make sure to give your booth number, an incentive, and a call to action.
You never know, you may reach someone who is already attending or you may convince the right person to look into the event.
The more of your target audience that attends the event, the better your chances of success are.
Two Weeks Away From Your Trade Show
Send another round of emails and InMails with the goal of setting up dates and times to meet.
Be sure to include an easy way for them to schedule a meeting with you. Perhaps you can have a landing page with a meeting calendar created or ask them to respond with good times that work for them.
Keep your contact information and booth number visible and don’t forget to push the incentives and clearly ask for a meeting.
Last Week Before Your Trade Show
Post photos of your team's journey to the event with the event’s hashtags and links. Let everyone know where you are and how they can get a hold of you.
Once at the event, show your booth being assembled and your hotel. Announce your team is ready on all your social media outlets.
During Your Trade Show
Keep the social media posts coming and use the show’s hashtags and links when possible. For one, it’s great social media content that you’ve already paid for. It’s also a great way for people at the show already to find you.
These simple pre-show marketing steps are simple and affordable for any company but they can have a huge impact on your trade show success.
Mistake #5: Not Coordinating Everything In Your Booth
Your entire booth from your staff’s clothes to your exhibit and brand messaging should have a consistent look and feel, even in a smaller 10x10 trade show booth.
Too many times, businesses will claim they offer a premium product or service in their industry but then they use a cheap DIY trade show booth display in their 10ft convention space.
Unfortunately, this strategy will not make the first impression you’re hoping for.
When planning out any trade show booth, you need to think about how the customer will view your space. If any part of your appearance isn't consistent, you’re going to limit your potential.
Here are a few quick tips on how to easily coordinate your booth
Match Clothing or Colors
You want your staff to be easily identifiable and a simple and affordable way to do that is matching your attire.
Consider purchasing matching shirts for your staff specifically for your event.
Matching clothes doesn't always mean you have to wear matching t-shirts or polos however. Try just wearing matching colors as long as the staff outfits coordinate with the brand message.
Make Your Giveaways Relevant
Don’t just give away pens and stress balls because they’re cheap and easy to order.
Your giveaways should be relevant to your brand messaging.
For example, If you’re a brewery, give away bottle openers. If you’re an accountant, give away a budget notebook.
Think of how your freebies can actually be used by your guests while helping drive your brand recognition and recall.
Be Sure Your Show Message Matches Your Booth Message
If the goal of your booth at this event is to promote and sell a new product line, don’t use your general branding trade show display that highlights your 24/7 customer service number.
Your message needs to be consistent across your graphics, literature, monitor loop, and staff talking points.
If any part of your message is not consistent and focused, you’re in danger of becoming overwhelming and missing opportunities.
10x10 trade show booths are a versatile and profitable way to have your brand seen. Whether it's at major industry shows in front of a large number of powerful decision makers or at smaller events with familiar names and faces.
Regardless of the event, you want to maximize your opportunities. By avoiding these five common mistakes above, you’re giving yourself a great foundation for a successful show.
If you have any questions on how to layout your trade show booth or display design, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 877.663.3976.