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Small Spaces, Big Impact! – How to drive traffic to your booth

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Inline exhibitors need different strategies to compete with the “bigger kids on the show block “ who have island spaces. Without depending on size, you need to exhibit smarter to draw visitors to your booth.

Traffic to your trade show exhibit is comprised of two parts. What you can do before the show and what you can do at the show. Before we get to some strategy suggestions, here are a couple of tips to be on the look out for great ideas:

  1. Throughout the year save samples of invitations you and your co-workers receive to events – print or electronic – that you may be able to repurpose for your use in the future.
  2. When you attend trade shows during the year, collect ideas and samples from your walk about that could prove useful in your future show marketing plans.


Promotion is key. Start by holding a brainstorming session with your creative agency and/or internal staff. Casting a wide net of ideation can be fun and energizing for your team.

It’s important to consider multiple touchpoints in your marketing plan to connect with all, or even a target segment, of your prospects, customers and partners. Be sure to begin promoting your trade show participation 2-3 months before your event.


  • Put a notice on your home page with the show name, location, and your booth number, with a link to request tickets or a show appointment.
  • Publish posts on your blog about topics that might interest your audience such as your conference presentations, dining suggestions, or must-see destination places of interest.

Social media

  • Post teasers to build suspense and momentum leading up to the event.
  • Share photos of activities and progress with plans for the event.
  • Invite followers to meet-up before or after the show.

Snail mail

  • Rent the pre-registration list show management.
  • Extract contacts on your database from your attendance at the show in the past.
  • Send a postcard, incorporate a puzzle, for recipients to complete, a scratch off, peel or punch, to redeem at your trade show booth for a gift.
  • Incorporate a companion gift. Send part of a gift inviting the recipient to collect the other part in your booth. For example:
  • Mail a coaster and offer a mug or wine tumbler to visitors to your booth
  • Mail a package of seeds and offer a seed starter kit to visitors
  • Mail a key for visitors to gain entry to, or open, a locked prize in your booth
  • Send your top prospects a printed invitation to hospitality your company is hosting.


  • Send prospects, clients and partners a message announcing your participation and inviting them to your booth. Be sure to include the show name, location, date and your booth number.
  • Offer an incentive for visitors to respond and/or come to your stand.


  • Never underestimate and old-fashioned favorite – a phone call or text message – to your clients inviting them to your booth.


  • Add a notice to your sales orders announcing the show name, date, location and your booth number. Just remember to remove the notice when the show closes.

Press relations

  • Issue a release to your industry publications about your participation in the upcoming trade show and the key innovations you will be premiering/promoting/demonstrating.
  • Contact the editorial team of your industry publications to invite them to hospitality your company is hosting

At Show


  • If your booth space is against a wall, ask about show height restrictions. In many cases, building higher than eight feet is allowed, offering you additional real estate at no extra cost to attract attention from visitors.
  • Smaller exhibits need open space for visitors to feel welcome entering your booth. Be careful not to block a natural traffic pattern within the space.
  • If you need furnishings, design for conversation such kiosks or a bistro table with stools or for comfort and relaxation such as a sofa.

Exhibit Design

  • Graphics are essential to getting the attention of passersby. LED skins offer the ability to combine images and motion that will stop visitors in their tracks.
  • Make your graphics stand out with outstanding lighting. Consider an overhead light to fully illuminate your booth.
  • Use flooring to your advantage. Consider carpet inlays and different materials such as cushioned tile that offer colors, textures and branding options.

In-Booth Activity

Your booth staff drives traffic on the show floor. To do that they need to be confident approaching visitors in the aisle and engaging them in conversation. For more on booth staffing tips take a look at these:


Giveaways can be tricky. You want to attract visitors that are interested in the products and services your company offers – not just a free gift. If you decide to offer a gift, select one that aligns with your brand and can carry your logo or URL. Giveaways that are useful tend to be the best options.

For example, if your company is in the food and beverage industry – scents and free samples draw aisle traffic. If your company is in publishing, a journal would make a nice thank you gift. Wearables like ball caps, lanyards for phones and luggage tags are practical and advertise your brand. Otherwise, think of ways to comfort your visitors with consumables - bottles of water, pre-packed snacks, hand sanitizer or even a package of scented foot soak. Lastly, a personalized take away, like a caricature, is a great traffic builder and thank you gift in one.



For more ideas and inspiration from trade show experts, contact your Ion Exhibits Account Executive today.