Tabletop Displays: Think Beyond the Tablecloth

Does your company use tabletop displays to promote your product or service? Most companies have attended an expo or trade show where all, or many, of the exhibits are tabletop displays. For this type of display, it’s generally not cost effective to hire an exhibit house or event management partner to plan for, set up, and succeed at the event.

I’m sure you are asking why this is relevant when expos and conferences are currently cancelled? Now is the perfect time to up-level to your tabletop display so you are ready to showcase your business when we are back on the road.

We are all in this together and if my experience can help you succeed, we all win.

My top 10 tips for tabletop success:

  1. Location, location, location: If you can, secure a table location at the end of a row. These locations provide great visibility, and you will have two sides of your display from which to engage attendees. If an end location isn’t available, look for a location near another expo offering that will have a lot of attendee interaction. This could be a refreshment station, an entrance or exit, near an information kiosk, etc.
  2. Table placement: In front of you or behind you? How you want to interact with attendees at the event will drive this decision. Do you have lots of literature? You may want to stand behind the table so you can maintain eye contact with attendees as they approach and as you describe your materials. Do you have a demo? You probably want to stand in front of your table so you can provide the demo up close and personal to attendees that visit your table.
  3. Attention grabbing display: In a hall full of other tables, attendees will not be able see items on your table from afar. The solution to catching attendee attention is a display element with height. There are lots of options to choose from: retractable banners, pop up table top displays, tension fabric displays, modular displays, headers above your table, and the list goes on. Tips 5-7 include a few key things to keep in mind when designing your attention grabbing display.
  4. Imagery and text: Select one large graphic image and one relevant message with fewer than 5 words. Attendees won’t be able read your mission statement in small print from across the room, and your company name or brand may not be familiar to them. An eye catching image and short phrase in a large clear font will catch their eye and entice them to stop by and learn more about your offering.
  5. Signage height: Great, you have decided to invest in a display taller than your table! Be sure the sign/display will be visible above the crowd. This means over 6’ in height if it’s on the floor, and total height over 6’ if the display is on top of your table. Pro tip: Select a display that is practical to pack, ship and set up on your own.
  6. Lighting: Another trick to get attendees to notice your display is lighting. Great lighting will set you apart from most other tables. It is attention getting and will help attendees read your sign. Many displays come with lighting built in or as an add on option.
  7. Technology: Put away those paper sign ups and bowls to collect business cards. Tech solutions are plentiful and will help you more easily gather attendee data. Examples include apps to scan attendee badges or business cards, or having attendees enter their information directly into your CRM. For either option, have an iPad elevated on a stand at your table. This frees you up from writing or typing information yourself and enables you to spend valuable time engaging with visitors at your table.
  8. Literature displays: Chaos or calm? If there is a lot of literature placed on top of a table, odds are it will get spread around, mixed up and generally look messy. Literature stands are a very inexpensive solution. They provide height, visibility, organization to your materials, and keep your tabletop clean and calm. Go ahead and buy two literature stands, it’s a good idea to have the same materials on both ends of your table so attendees don’t have to reach 8’ to pick up a copy of your marketing materials.
  9. Details matter: Bring your own table cover and skirt, don’t rely on what the expo will provide. If you want to custom print a logo on your table cover that is a nice addition. However, as soon as you have attendees in front of your table any images on the cloth will be blocked from view. A solid color that matches your display works just as well and provides a cohesive look to your overall display.
  10. Prepare your staff: Whether the tabletop is staffed by only one person, or by a few, preparing them for each event is necessary for success. All staff should be well versed on the products/services being offered, any future offerings, all materials in the display, and how to manage any tech issues that may arise. Staff should be able to engage with attendees and determine if your products/services are a good first for their needs, and politely disengage when appropriate.

What event and tradeshow questions are keeping you up at night? I’d love to hear what topics you would like covered!

Kate

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