Looking to up your trade show game? Consider adding a trade show presentation to your toolkit. A well-crafted presentation can help you attract, engage, and inform your target audience. It’s an effective way to add interactive content that’s also easy to set up and use. And it can help increase your leads, add to your brand message, and jumpstart your sales.
Why Add a Presentation to Your Trade Show Booth?
Trade show video or slide presentations can benefit your booth in a number of ways:
- Providing another way to use vertical space
- Disseminating information to visitors while leaving booth staff free to talk to possible leads
- Help you get noticed and remembered on the trade show floor
The Keys to a Successful Presentation
Elaine Cohen, Founder of Live Marketing in Chicago, has further insight into how effective a presentation can be. She notes that there are 10 things that should be factored into every trade show presentation:
- Start work at least two to three months in advance of the show – Give yourself plenty of time to make sure your trade show PowerPoint [or other presentation format] is both informative and engaging.
- Set clear goals and measurable objectives – Decide what you want to achieve at the show and how you will measure your results.
- Know your target audience – Match your tone, style, and content to your target demographic and psychographic profiles.
- Make sure the presentation is properly integrated with the rest of your trade show marketing strategy – All marketing materials should have a consistent theme, message, and look.
- Involve the right decision-makers from the start – For instance, coordinate with your marketing team to ensure consistency.
- Remember your brand message – Use your trade show presentation to build brand recognition by highlighting what makes you different from your competitors.
- Focus on high-level messages and solutions, when possible – Use no more than four major message points.
- Keep it short – The ideal presentation should be between 7 and 10 minutes.
- Amortize the presentation costs by reusing trade show presentations and other collateral materials at future shows, press conferences, and meetings.
- Document your process, and measure the results – The data will help you refine the presentation for future uses.
Setting Up Your Presentation
Stick with PowerPoint, or Choose an Alternative?
PowerPoint is a popular choice for presentations for a few reasons. It’s easy to use, both to create presentations and to set up the equipment you need to display them. As a Microsoft® product, it’s readily available and is fully integrated with other word processing tools.
Is it the best choice, though? While many people choose PowerPoint slides, there are other options out there. All are free or have a free subscription option. You won’t lose anything by checking them out, even if you decide to stick with what you’re used to!
Some alternatives to PowerPoint include:
Microsoft Sway: Microsoft Sway is like PowerPoint but with some major improvements—and it works online right in your browser. Sway has plenty of useful features, such as the ability to pull content from virtually anywhere, including websites and social media. With a simple drag-and-drop method, you can embed Tweets within your slides.
Prezi: Unlike PowerPoint, Prezi allows you to make presentations with a non-linear flow. It’s also packed with well-crafted slide templates that can help you create slides and presentations more easily. The only downside is that other providers have more options for creating customized slides and graphics.
Canva: Presentations with Canva is a simple, easy-to-use interface with lots of free images and design templates. With this simple browser tool, you can make gorgeous slides that are virtually guaranteed to get attention. It’s less useful if you need dynamic, animated slides, but is perfect when what you’re looking for is spectacular imagery.
Emaze: It’s a great all-around option with the ability to create mixed-media slides with audio and video content as well as images. Even the free version offers hundreds of templates. You can also import PowerPoint presentations into Emaze and then upgrade them with new content.
Powtoon: If you want to create slideshows with lots of animation, Powtoon is a great choice. Sometimes, plain text slides don’t allow you to say what you need to. Powtoon displays and explains more dynamic concepts.
Design Tips for a Powerful Presentation
Creating a slide show isn’t as complex as it seems. In fact, the simpler your slides are, the better. Try out these presentation design tips, and you can’t go wrong.
- Focus your presentation tightly on your objectives.
- Keep text to a minimum – Use bullet points and other easy-to-read formats, so booth visitors or people on the trade show floor can quickly absorb the information.
- Keep the layout simple – This is especially important for looping presentations. Choose a clear font and contrasting colors to make the display easy to read. It’s usually best to put a light font on a dark background to reduce glare.
- Don’t overdo it – A looping slide show should spend around a minute showing each slide. To keep your presentation at the right length, keep it to 10 slides or fewer.
There’s more than one way to set up a presentation. Which is best for trade show presentations? For a trade show exhibit, you generally have two options:
A continuous loop: Once the presentation is set up, it doesn’t need any further user input. Slides are auto-timed to change at regular intervals. They can be synced with a voiceover or other audio. When the presentation ends, it begins again from the start.
With this kind of slide show, each slide should be self-contained. This is important because viewers won’t always watch from the first slide to the last. They might come in at slide 2 or 10. They should be able to understand each slide and catch the gist of your presentation, even if they haven’t seen previous slides.
User-directed: The display is static until a visitor starts to interact with it. They can choose how long to view each slide. This kind of presentation has more interactive potential, as the user can click on hyperlinks or use action buttons to modify what they’re seeing.
A user-directed presentation offers possibilities the continuous loop does not. When users have control over the presentation, you can show more complex info. They’ll be starting at the beginning, so each slide can build on information from preceding ones.
It also means you have the chance to collect data about how people use and view your presentation, like:
- How long people spend on each slide
- Whether they click through when given the option to visit a website
It also allows you to add an email entry point, so you have another opportunity to collect contact information.
The Presentation Space
The presentation style you choose should be one that fits your trade show display space. Think about how users will interact with the presentation. Are there are certain locations where they’ll find it easier or more comfortable to view your trade show presentation? Consider:
- The size of your trade show exhibit space
- The lighting
- Furniture and display placement
- Where surrounding booths are located
For instance, the presentation should be in a well-lit area, but not one where glare might make it hard to view. The viewer area should be in a place that won’t be disturbed by traffic in and around the booth. It may be helpful to have a couple possible locations in mind. If your initial location turns out to be unsuitable once you arrive at the show, you have a backup option that works without having to rearrange the booth.
Tailoring the Presentation to Your Needs
An effective presentation is focused on helping you achieve your goals. So it’s important to know what your goals are and know that you can deliver them. Then build your trade show presentation around those goals. Hit all the key points that your audience is likely to be interested in.
An intimate booth environment, in which you host a smaller number of people, is a good opportunity for an interactive presentation. User-directed navigation, where the presentation is driven by user choices, helps drive engagement. If your company is one that deals in a relatively low volume of visitors and leads, upping the engagement factor is vital for a better conversion rate.
If your booth is geared toward a high volume of visitors, a different tactic is needed. In this case, a continuous loop on the perimeter of the booth space is a better option. A compelling presentation that offers valuable information helps keep your booth full. It also helps keep visitors occupied while they wait to talk to a staff member.
A Good Presentation Makes a Better Booth
Developing a trade show presentation is a simple and effective way to provide a better experience for people who visit your exhibit. It gives you another chance to provide essential information and helps you get the most out of your booth space too.