As quickly as 2014 is coming to a close, 2015 will start with a bang, and before we know it, the trade show circuit will be a-buzz. Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to find new customers, meet new business partners and build new relationships.

Though there is plenty of value in exhibiting, so much work goes into planning and preparing for a trade show. You need to make sure your booth is interesting, informative, fun and staffed with team members with the right skills and personality to represent your whole company.

Trade shows can cost a lot of money; in addition to the price you pay for your trade show booth space, there are often travel expenses involved, as well as the cost of designing and building the booth itself.

However, your investments of time and money will be worth it if you exhibit optimally. You need to figure out how to keep your trade show booth “alive” even after the show is over.

Below are 4 tips and guiding principles to make sure you are maximizing the effect of your trade show booth.

Have an eye-catching display

This seems like it should go without saying, but if you want people to remember your booth after the conference has ended, you need to make sure your display is memorable on a number of different levels. First, all the basics must be done right; proper lighting, an open entry space and a visually attractive display are absolutely necessary. Next, you need to get creative to draw attendees into your booth space.

What about and interactive visual display? Or host a contest in your booth with prizes that gets people wanting to participate? Make sure your freebies are creative and are convenient to carry. Instead of handing out pens like the majority of other booths are doing at the show, why not try something a little more interesting? A memorable booth is the first step to making sure the people you meet at the show will remember you.

Include your social media information in your materials

No matter what you are handing out at your trade show booth, make sure that whatever you are hoping your attendee is bringing back to the office has more than just your basic contact information. It is possible that your potential customer wants to get to know you better before committing to making a purchase or putting in an order. Give your social media information – your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, etc. – so that your customer can get to know you comfortably.

Make your social media interesting and fun!

Now that you are bringing people to your social media pages, make sure they will stay there and hopefully visit again, or possibly even share the page with friends. To do this, consider posting photos from the trade show booth and ask thoughtful questions that will elicit more than one-word answers.

Make sure that you are actively photographing your booth and the activity happening inside of it. Get pictures of people showing interest in your goods and/or services, asking questions, and listening to their responses.

On your website, add a link from your homepage to a new page with these photos and other interesting information about the booth. Consider a tagline including how many people stopped by, how many giveaways were taken, or how many new customers signed up.

Ask people if they’d like to receive your newsletter or other free information

One of the best ways to keep your trade show booth alive is to stay in touch with the people who came by to check it out. Ask people to sign up for your newsletter, or do a lottery drawing of business cards for a prize giveaway. Make sure people know why you want their email address and then they will be more likely to share it.

Your company has spent a lot of money on marketing at the trade show; make the most of the opportunities to stay in the mind of the people who’ve visited your booth.