How to get the most out of your conference booth

VMware booth at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference

Conferences can be insightful and a great source of opportunities. At the same time they often also are costly and time intense. This guide is all about being prepared and getting most out of your conference presence.

In addition to this article we've also created a checklist for you to download and print out. You can find it here:

Download Checklist

Pick the right conference

When evaluating a potential conference ask yourself:

    • Are my potential customers visiting

    • Are my competitors exhibiting? (if not there might be a reason, so better find out why)

  • Compare price, exposure and prestige, in order to compare with other conferences that are relevant to your industry

  • Reach out to the organizers

    • Ask about discounts

    • Talk with them about the best spot for your booth (traffic, co-location with booths that have a similar topic, noise level, …)

  • Talk to former participants

    • Find out if the show was worth their time and money

    • Ask for any recommendations they may have (tricks, lessons learned, …)


Know where to spend and save

Save costs by planning ahead

  • Is there an early bird discount for the trade show?

    • If not, ask for a discount. It never hurts to ask.

  • Are there other companies that you could share a booth with? (companies that sell a complementary product)

  • Save costs by booking early

    • accommodation

    • flights

    • merchandize

Try to find a hotel early, and be there one or two days ahead. This might help you socialize with others that arrive early, and might help you get in touch with organizers, participants, and speakers.


Spend money where it matters
  • Don’t save in the wrong areas. Make sure your appearance and booth look professional to stay memorable.


Appearance Matters

Now that you have decided to invest in a conference booth, make sure you have the right appearance to show your prospects who you are, and what you stand for.

Prepare your Booth

  • Check first what equipment the conference organizers offer
  • Next make a list of the things you need additionally, and prepare them ahead
  • Order Snacks and Sweets: pamper your prospects
  • There are many booths at a conference. Think about how you can differentiate to attract prospects:
    • Choose an element that visually stands out to attract people to your booth (colors, signs, teddy bears, uniforms)
Promotional Materials
Conferences are crowded, and often prospects don’t have much time. Prepare promotional materials that properly represent your brand. There are many other participants at the fair you want to be the one to stay in your potential customers mind
  • Sweets
  • Flyers & business cards:
  • Stickers:
  • Bags to put all materials in:

Prepare your sales process

Prepare for volume
  • Make sure to have enough representatives, so potential stop-ins don’t pass you by

Prepare your offering

  • Prepare your sales pitch

  • Think about giving out a discount or freebie

Make Invitations
  • Invite your existing clients to visit you at the booth
    • Ask the conference organizers if there are free tickets for your clients
    • Schedule meetings with potential and existing clients at your booth
Host a side event
  • Invite important clients and prospects to a side event (dinner, talk, workshop)
Prepare a process for immediate follow ups
  • The sooner you follow up, the better
  • Prepare a sheet to fill with prospect details while you talk
  • It will help you send relevant mail in the follow-up
  • See which journals/blogs/websites have reported about the conference and its participants
  • Have your agency get in touch with them to see about being featured ahead of the show
  • Prepare a press release and get in touch with relevant media and bloggers