5 Must-Haves for Your Next Trade Show Booth

The late winter months herald the season of consumer trade shows. They tend to attract large crowds of like-minded consumers with themes like home and garden or electronics. For small businesses offering products in these markets, it’s a chance to tell your story to a targeted group of people who are already considering a purchase. Here are five must-have items to keep in your booth so you can make the most of this opportunity.


  • A Quick Business Statement – Make use of the short time you have with those who stop by your booth. Quickly describe what you do, emphasizing how it helps your customer. For example, “I have an auto repair business that offers 15-minute oil changes so you can get on your way.” Get more ideas here.
  • Prize Drawing – You may not have time to visit with everyone who comes to your booth, but you do have time to follow up with them later. So offer a drawing to people who will register to win a free prize you’re giving away. Ask for contact information, including email address, then follow up with a thank you and information about how you might help them.
  • Leave-Behinds – Consider giving away small items that have your contact information on them. For example, a garden store might give away computer screen wipes with their website address on it. When they go to the website, they can look for the latest spring plants. The key is to choose an item that consumers will likely use often and are related to your business. When it comes time to purchase, they will be more likely to remember your business.
  • Visuals – Attendees might not stop to talk, but they will look at images as they walk by, so provide visual samples of the product or service you provide. For example, a wedding photographer at a bridal fair might display a slide show of their work on a laptop.  A home remodeler might provide before and after photos showing the work they did for other clients.
  • Adequate Staff - The last thing you want is for people to have to wait to talk to you. Consider having one other person in your booth to staff the prize drawing or replenish your supply of giveaway items. That frees you to answer questions, listen to comments and make connections. It also helps to demonstrate that you are professional and well prepared and that talking with customers is a priority.


Trade shows can be an important opportunity for small businesses to connect with people who are already interested in the products you offer coming to you for information. Maximize your return by stocking your booth with these must-have items.

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