The trade show marketing process is like an onion. At its core, it’s about face-to-face communication and the creation of relationships. But in order to reach people on that human level, you must first peel away the outermost layer: the visual.

Every layer of the trade show onion is equally important to the selling process, but if your company doesn’t succeed with the visual component, you’ll never reach the core. Trade show marketing is initially a visual medium to attendees. So, in order to remain visible, you must avoid these four mistakes.

Lack of Pre-Show Promotion

If you don’t execute a pre-show promotional strategy, you might as well place your exhibit in the most dark, shadowy corner of the expo floor. If you want to shine a spotlight onto your booth, the majority of the work must be done prior to the show.

Attendees’ time is valuable — there are so many exhibitors and so little time. Most attendees have already decided which booths they want to visit before they even step into the convention center. If you want your company to be on that list, you must reach out and inform your current customers about your appearance.

When getting in touch with clients, be sure to communicate the ways in which your booth will add value to their trade show experience. Rather than a simple reminder, mention the special deals, awesome promo items, or new product releases that will be offered at your exhibit.

The Wrong Shows

Your booth will remain camouflaged if you place it in the wrong environment or in front of the wrong eyes. Before deciding on your trade show appearances, ask for feedback from your current customers. Which conventions are they most excited about? Don’t make the mistake of attending trade shows in which you won’t find your customers and target demographic.

When researching a show, delve into the attendee demographics from previous years. Are these people your usual client? If not, you’re better off placing your effort toward the other shows where you’ll be displayed in front of people who are looking for you.

Also, never assume the biggest, most expensive shows will yield the highest returns. Often times, it’s better to put your effort toward smaller, more niche shows that possess a demographic that fits your brand. By going where your customers are, you’ll receive more foot traffic and collect higher quality leads.

Invisible Booth Display

The most apparent way to be overlooked by attendees is to have an exhibit display that is boring or unattractive. If your booth doesn’t stand out in some way, it will fade into a sea of color and be disregarded. Expo floors are busy, stimulating environments, and in order to be noticed, you must find unique ways to catch people’s eye.

Make an effort to avoid overly simplistic designs, dull colors, insufficient lighting, and a lack of brand imaging. Your exhibit display should immediately communicate to attendees who your company is and what it is you do. It should be a physical manifestation of your brand — a unique visual representation that can’t be imitated by anyone else on the floor.

Booth Staff

Make sure your staffers aren’t wearing invisible cloaks. The visibility of your staff is less about what they wear and more about where they stand, their body language, and their ability to reach out to attendees who are walking by. Your staff should always remain in attendees’ visual field and never be hidden by tables or appear distracted or uninterested.

A highly trained, professional booth staff is hard to come by. The trade show environment is a selling setting that takes poise, knowledge, and a lot of experience to succeed in. If you hire a team of inexperienced introverts who cannot thrive in this habitat, don’t be surprised when attendees fail to notice your staff.