Doing well at a trade show requires planning – the same as you plan all elements of your business. Hundreds, or thousands, of attendees will be on hand at any given show, but that doesn’t mean they’ll magnetically gravitate toward your booth. But by following our Four Critical Elements of Trade Show Success, you’ll put yourself in the position to reap the greatest possible rewards. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Critical Element #1: Requirements

measure-After deciding what products or services to unveil, the first step in trade show planning is determining the amount of space you’ll need to present your brand and offerings. How much space is necessary? The answer is: As much as it takes to tell your story.

It’s important to not limit yourself in this regard. You’ll likely be using your booth at a variety of shows, and the last thing you want is to miss out on promotional elements that could really make a difference in the number and quality of people who stop by to check you out. The best advice is start full-size. You can always scale back if you’re attending a trade show where space is restricted. Look good. Go for it. The whole world’s watching – including your competition.

Critical Element #2: The Floor Plan

It’s always smart to have a map before entering any unknown territory. Accurate floor plans will tell you many things you need to know in developing your trade show strategy:

floor_plan-• Traffic flow

• Entrances and exits to the building(s)

• Location of registration area

• Location of breakout sessions

• Location of food and other vendors

• and more

All these factors can influence where you choose to locate your booth. Make sure you get appropriate floor plans of the exhibition area ahead of time as part of your plan.

Critical Element #3: Booth Psychology & Location

Location-Location-LocationNow that you know your space requirements and how the exhibition hall will be set up, it’s time to decide on the best possible location for your booth. This decision isn’t as simple as it may sound.

Location, Location, Location.

Is there such a thing as the perfect location? Absolutely. It’s a proven fact that some spots are better than others within the big mix of exhibitors at trade shows.

When In Doubt, Go Right

turn-rightCrowds tend to move as one, and if after entering the hall people have a choice to head either to the left or the right, they’ll usually go right – and you should do the same. Groups will often travel a counter-clockwise route through the exhibit areas. Instinct will have them walking on the right side of the aisle, so that’s where you want your booth.

Just about any spot on the outside perimeter (as opposed to the inside) will be advantageous. Even better is a corner unit facing a long aisle. This location will keep you in front of more people for greater lengths of time as they travel up the aisle. Looking ahead, they’ll always see your booth, and we all know how important visibility is in influencing the human psyche.

Your Booth Can Be a Magnet

magnet-By creating a unique and attractive booth presence, you can literally magnetize visitors to your space. Think eye-appeal. Don’t be afraid to push the limits and create something amazing that people can’t overlook. Even if your location isn’t the greatest, a stunning presence will still attract the people you want.

This is why we said earlier to go big on your initial booth design. Booths can always be resized, and by having all the necessary elements in place, you can confidently remove certain parts for downsizing and still maintain the most important pieces to attract and convert visitors. It’s a lot harder to try adding sections to a booth presence at the last minute than it is to scale down.

Critical Element #4: The Competitive Edge

A Trade Show Exhibitors Secret Weapon We’ve talked a lot about prime locations. But what do you do if you have little or no control over where your booth is positioned? You use your creativity to give yourself the competitive edge by adapting to changing or unforeseen circumstances.