In three seconds, visually effective trade show booths deliver a powerful statement about your company, attract trade show participants and maximize sales opportunities. After these three seconds, however, even the best sales pitch can't change a customer's first impression about your business. In today's tough economy, it's more important than ever that your trade show display makes the most of these three seconds and establishes your company as an industry leader. Trade show displays that fail to do this are a disappointing waste of time, money and energy. Follow these four rules to ensure your trade show display makes the most of its three seconds.

Rule #1: Know your display options. When it comes to trade show displays, one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is rushing to purchase a display without understanding all their options. Even if you are on a tight deadline, taking the time to research different types of trade show booths will ensure your company invests in the right type of booth. For most trade shows, a portable display offers maximum flexibility and delivers the biggest bang for your buck. Pop up displays and fabric displays are two types of portable displays that feature flexible panels, which can be easily adjusted to accommodate different booth sizes, configurations and visuals. If you are exhibiting at a smaller event, consider a space-saving, table-top display. Choosing the right type of portable display for your trade show will ensure you maximize available space and stand out in a sea of generic trade show booths.

Rule #2: A picture is worth a thousand sales. When it comes to effective trade show displays, the old adage - "a picture is worth a thousand words" - really is true. Before you even get to try out your sales pitch on a prospective customer, the visual elements of your trade booth display will already have done the talking. Be sure graphics and banners with your company and product are visible, well-lit, and feature a large, easy-to-read typeface. Include banners or other visuals featuring your logo and product in several locations around the booth so the images are visible no matter where your customer stands. If applicable, include graphics demonstrating your product in-use. Finally, remember your company image is valuable, and that there is a fine line between cost-effective graphics and looking cheap. Before you select a graphic design or printing company, ask to see samples of previous trade show artwork. Poorly printed graphics are unprofessional and damage your company's brand.

Rule #3: Make every part count. Whether you include banners, lights or other accessories, be sure each element of your display has a purpose. When designing your exhibit, keep the overall goal for your company in mind. Are you trying to maximize sales leads? Creatively promote a new product? Every element of your booth should work together to achieve this purpose. Prevent visual clutter and keep your message succinct and direct by choosing only the most effective visual elements. No matter how flashy and attention-grabbing an accessory is, if it does not compliment your message, it does not belong in the booth. You want to be remembered for your company's innovative new product - not for your bright pink lighting.

Rule #4: Don't forget logistics. When deciding on the type of trade show display to purchase, a major factor to consider is how your booth will be transported. Shipping a trade show display with a professional company that specializes in trade show freight can be expensive, especially if you are attending several trade shows across the country. However, transporting the booth yourself can be a logistical nightmare, and also limit the size and scope of your company's display. If you will be transporting the exhibit yourself, choose an easy-to-assemble, portable display.

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Find out more about trade show displays. Get more information on portable display and trade show booths.