It’s (Trade) Showtime!

How old is the trade show? Its roots can be traced back to Medieval Europe (picture Ye Olde Blacksmith demonstrating their wares). Today, trade shows are a bit more sophisticated, but their purpose remains the same: to connect with potential customers and promote your business or product.

Whether your show is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), you want to put together a great attention-catching display at an affordable cost.

If you’ve never put together a trade show display, here’s a quick and easy guide:

The Basics

Here’s what you’ll need.

Promotional Materials

Trade Show Booths: Size Matters

A standard trade show booth is 10’ x 10’, but most shows offer a variety of sizes and formats for your display needs.

There are four basic booth configurations:
Inline — one side facing an aisle
Corner — sides facing an aisle
Peninsula — three sides facing an aisle
Island — all four sides facing an aisle

Inline booths are the most common (and most affordable), while island booths are the priciest.

Booth Supplies

Once you have your booth, what else will you need?
• Signage: Make sure you have plenty of signs for your booth
• Promotional items: Brochures, postcards, flyers
• Business cards and business cardholders
• Giveaways (aka Swag): These are the goodies you’ll be handing out. What should be on the list? A few popular choices are candy and snacks with your logo, reusable custom water bottles, drinkware, personalized tote bags, custom audio devices, custom t-shirts.

Bringing a bowl to hold business cards is a fun way to keep track of booth traffic. You can also use this info to follow up after the show. Don’t forget pens, notepads, post-its, paperclips, tape, and staplers. You don’t want to run out of supplies while talking with clients or taking orders.


In addition to your booth, promotional materials and signage, you’ll want to take advantage of technology for your trade show display.

Go big with a TV monitor, or keep it small with iPads or laptops. Create a PowerPoint or a video that showcases your business or service.

Don’t forget social media. You can post live before and during the show. You might want to advertise a contest in your booth. Have entries come through the Facebook page, and then have the winners come back to the booth to get their prize.

Trade Show Strategy

Okay, so you’re set up and ready to go. There are generally three strategies at a trade show.

Meet and Greet:
Position your booth so that it’s inviting to both new and existing contacts. You can set up a couple of chairs and a table for a quick meeting. Think about including a giveaway that promotes your business and grabs attention.

Product Demonstration:
If you have a product to demonstrate, you can do it in the booth or, especially if space is limited, run a video of the demonstration.

Brand Awareness:
The goal is to cut through the clutter and make your brand stand out. You want to create something memorable. You might work up a theme for the booth that ties back to your brand. Whatever you do, be bold and creative.

And last but not least: You’ll be on your feet a lot. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Farmhouse Creative can help with your trade show needs (except the comfy shoes). Feel free to contact us!