One of the biggest challenges in preparing for a trade show is developing an overall presence that will stand out in a sea of competition. This includes everything from trade show signs to the design and layout of your booth, marketing materials, giveaways, demos and more.

Let’s take a closer look at trade show signs in particular––signage can be one of the most eye-catching assets in your booth. Fortunately, there are some helpful guidelines you can follow to ensure that your signage attracts the kind of attention that will make your trade show investment a win for your company.

Trade Show Signs: Guidelines

  1. Consider size and layout. The size and layout of your booth will drive your signage design. If you’re in the center of a crowded trade show floor, you may want to use a hanging sign above your booth to attract attendees. If your booth has a table, your sign content should be above the level of the tabletop. These considerations will ensure that you don’t waste money on signage that visitors can’t see.
  1. Keep it simple. Your company may have many great reasons why customers should choose your products, but they don’t all need to be listed on a sign. Think in terms of your value proposition––what makes you different from other, similar companies or products? This is what must be conveyed on your signage. If you have more than one value proposition, try to select the most important element. Signage is similar to an “elevator pitch” in that it should be very concise and convey enough information to leave customers wanting more information. They will get that information by talking to your booth staff, gathering marketing materials, and checking out a product demo.
  1. Have a single call to action. You may have several actions you want people to take in your booth, such as participating in a demo, taking collateral, placing a sales order, leaving a business card or talking to your booth staff, but your signage should make it clear that there is one action you want them to take above all others. Typically, this call to action is more likely to be a lead-gathering action that will allow you to contact prospects later to close a sale.
  1. Focus on the benefits. When it comes to the products and services they buy, trade show attendees usually have one over-arching question that needs to be answered: What’s in it for me? The answer to this question should be a driving element in your trade show signs. According to B2B marketing expert Ruth Stevens, your signage should use words that give booth attendees a good reason to stop, avoid jargon, and present your products as a solution for a problem the customer has.
  1. Be seen from afar. Another important element of your trade show signage is visibility. Venues are thousands of square feet with hundreds and sometimes even thousands of competing brands all vying for attention. This means that getting seen––and more importantly, remembered––is not easy. Show attendees can become disoriented quite easily, so the more you can make your booth visible from a distance, the more visitors you can attract. That is why you need to consider the space around your booth, not just within it. Banners that float above your booth can be a great way to increase your visibility, as are flag stands that may sit just in the aisle. These should be colorful and eye-catching, branded to help attendees find you in the sea of competition.
  1. Be consistent. Consistent branding across your marketing elements increases the trust that attendees will have in your brand. Signs, collateral, and your overall booth design should all use consistent colors and design elements to ensure it doesn’t look like you cobbled together your booth at the last minute.
  1. Design for the long term. Booths can be very expensive, so it’s important to make sure you get the most mileage out of your more permanent booth materials. Using the same booth for multiple years, across several trade shows, helps keep your per-show cost down. Having your more permanent booth signage talk more generally about what your company provides, without excess emphasis on specific product lines that may change, can help to reduce your annual trade show spending.
  1. Aim for Open Space. Try to maintain as much open space in your booth as possible. This will allow traffic through your booth to flow more naturally, and enable visitors to take in your most important messaging without feeling overwhelmed. A simple guideline for the amount of additional signage would be to have one floor stand sign, and one tabletop per table or display. More than that, and your booth may begin to look cluttered.

Attending a trade shows can be a costly endeavor, so it is crucial to make sure you get the most bang for your buck as you prepare your trade show signs. What guidelines do you follow for your signage? We’d like to hear from you in the comments.