Best Trade Show Booth Ideas For Small Budgets | 23 Top Tips!

23 Best Trade Show Booth Ideas For Small Budgets! Cheap Display Tricks and Hacks

When your business is part of the trade show business— Things can get expensive. So we want to give you 23 of the best trade show booth ideas for small budgets! Make sure you read all the way to the end to get the most bang for your buck! Trade shows are big business. In fact, a trade show is one of the best ways to get your business noticed (as long as you do it the right way— Which we’ll show you!). According to statista, in 2016,  trade show revenue was a whopping 12.81 billion. Not million— Billion! You don’t want to miss out on a piece of that enormous trade show marketing pie. But there are a few things you must do to get the most out of your investment for doing trade show marketing. If you’re a newbie trade show exhibitioner or even a seasoned pro— Sometimes things get tight, and you need to learn how to make your trade show exhibit booth design look like a million bucks on a dime. There is one main thing you can do to simplify your budget and is one of the best trade show booth tips to attract visitors involving some awesome booth banners.

First and foremost, you want to have a clutter-free display design.

Don’t get the shiny object syndrome and think you need to buy every single thing out there to promote what you’ve got. You want to plan things out a bit, or it will look junky and push customers away. Imagine going to an unorganized thrift store or yard sale. Having too much clutter makes it look like a place people go to get something for a dollar— Instead of paying top dollar for your goods or services. Unless you want your booth to look like the show “Hoarders,” you’ll want to keep things looking streamlined and sharp.  You want your booth to look like the go-to place! When you have too many things going on in your display booth, a potential customer can get overwhelmed while looking at this, get distracted by that, and the list goes on. This is where a well-crafted booth banner comes in.

Do you still think more is better when it comes to stuff in your trade show display?

If you do, you might change your mind after you learn about this groundbreaking research to blow that theory out of the water. There was a study by Sheena Lyegar from Columbia University testing the idea that “more is better,” when it comes to sales.  In this field experiment, on two consecutive Saturdays, researchers got dolled up in-store uniforms in Menlo Park, CA, inside a high-end grocery store. Here are the details: One week 24 flavors of exotic jams were offered as samples to people. The other week only 6 flavors were offered. People used to think that more choices were better for the consumer because people like options. The researchers thought if they offered a bigger selection, they would get more sales. The results of this sales experiment are shocking! Keep this in mind as you make your 10 x 10 booth layout ideas.

tradeshow booth

What do you think happened in this test? Was the purchasing behavior what you and the researchers thought?

When 24 flavors were an option— 60% of people walking by stopped to taste the jams. When 6 flavors were offered, 40% of people did sampling. More people stopped by when there was more selection, but the million-dollar question is: Which study group bought more? The group with more options or fewer options? Of the 24 flavor groups— 3% purchased In the 6 flavor study day— 30% bought jam. This is statistically very relevant to show a point— When it comes to sales having more stuff isn’t always better. That was the old way of thinking. Too many choices make people subconsciously think to themselves— “There are too many things going on here. I’m leaving. Making a decision is too much work.” Their brains will be overwhelmed, and their eyes will be drawn to booths that look more professional and organized. They will have a harder time making a decision to do business with you if there’s too much stuff in your trade show poster. Nobody wants to do business with people who have an unappealing trade show booth. Bottom line— Get rid of the junk. Keep the most important things in plain sight to attract customers. You might be wondering— How can I focus on what is the top priority? How can I pick out the most important things for my trade show booth display ideas? I have so much to do; I don’t even know where to begin! 

Use something I call the “Focus Pocus Trade Show List.” It’s pretty simple. Create a list of all the things you want, whether it be banners, business cards, matching table covers, or a massive step and repeat banner (trade show backdrop).

Here are the steps to help you create trade show booth ideas to attract visitors in an easy to follow bulleted list:

  • Write down all the things you want for your trade show display.
  • Now rank each item from 1-10.
  • 1 is the most important.
  • 10 is the least important.
  • Rewrite them in descending order.
  • Review your list.
  • Buy the most important things first.
Make A Checklist Make A Checklist

If you want to do your display in the cheapest way possible— Buy your top priority items first.  You don’t have to buy everything you want all at once. You can create a buzz with one cool item, and when you get more customers to invest in another piece.

If you’re low on money, create your trade show display design step by step - generate some tradeshow banner ideas!

Let’s say you owe $30,000 in credit cards. But you want to have $100,000 in the bank. Focus on baby steps with your debt and your tradeshow setup.  If you have $30,000 on your credit cards, it’s not likely that you’ll have $100,000 in the bank tomorrow. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to having a tight budget when you’re doing your booth display. You can pay off a bit at a time. Then you’ll only have 20,000 in debt. Subsequently, 10,000 in debt. Someday you’ll have a zero balance. Then you can start putting money in the bank. Add $500 here. $1000 there. Keep your eye on the end goal, not your current $30,000 in debt.


You can Buy one retractable or two x banner stands for a professional-looking booth design with a low price and a big impact.

Then buy a customized table throw. Next, add standard high adhesive decals. Or trendy kiss-cut stickers with your logo. Finally, add a high-impact long-lasting canopy with your branding.  If you focus on your goals and take step by step toward them— You can attain that $100,000 in the bank.  Just like someday, you’ll have your dream tradeshow design setup! Now I want to touch upon how to increase your sales so you can reach your financial goals. It’s about your booth, but . . .

In reality, your trade show stall design ideas need to be ALL about your customer.

So, I want to plant the seed in your mind and let you think about exactly what products and services are right for your perfect customer. How can you tie your customer and your brand into a cohesive design? [Hint: Knowing your ideal customer is critical!]. We’ll cover more of this in a little bit. How do I connect the dots with my brand and my customer with my tradeshow banner ideas? Have a “Theme” that ties in with your brand and the image you want to portray with well-crafted trade show signage. Now I want to talk about some real-world examples. These may not be like your business, but you will still get something from seeing these examples. Let’s say you have a natural body products business.

What do you think a great trade show booth would look like in the natural body products industry? What words come to mind? 

Here is what I thought of:

  • Earthy
  • Natural
  • Family
  • Eco-friendly
  • Hippy
  • Yoga moms
  • Green

What kinds of things in a booth would convey these words to a captive audience and give them a great user experience?

  • Products available to try out
  • An attractive natural-looking color scheme with an earth tone logo tablecloth.
  • Small bowls of the natural ingredients on the table: Beeswax, oil, essential oils, etc
  • Business cards
  • Bowl of all-natural candy

Another excellent idea for a body product booth could be a card stock for handouts with useful information. Share some of your expertise that has a benefit to your customer or your potential customer. Cardstock has many uses in trade shows and more, use them to your advantage as often as you can. They are affordable and a great way to send your home show booth ideas to visitors. Imagine having the benefits of your Lavender soap typed out on an extra-large natural colored printed card stock with a botanical drawing and the reasons why lavender soap is an excellent choice for them to buy. By using a beautiful large cardstock handout with helpful information, you are promoting goodwill and educating people. As a “bonus” you’re also supporting your brand while being the good guy!

What if your brand is entirely different than an all-natural products company? 

Let’s say you offer website design or a startup that needs a modern high-tech twist. Keep your exhibition design even more straightforward. What are some words that come to mind for this?

  • Fast
  • Black
  • Sleek
  • Modern
  • High-tech
  • Efficient
  • Technology
  • Computers

Imagine what a cool tech company would want to show off with their trade show marketing.

  • A mesh banner with their modern logo and an abstract computer at the back of the booth
  • Trendy die-cut stickers for giveaways to attract people into their booth.
  • Matching company shirts for your customer service reps.
  • Black tablecloths showing off their kiss-cut stickers right beside their mailing list.

Put your focus on the most eye-catching attractive things in your booth, first. 

Focus on a couple of main things to get you started to get people to learn more about your company with your branding.  Wait! There are even more fabulous exhibition design ideas!

Give something away at your trade show to make a good first impression.

Here are some cheap trade show display giveaways to help your brand recognition.

  • Sharing samples with clients is a great way to let them know how good your products are and how they can help them.
  • Offer a free report if someone signs up for your email list.
  • Giving away stickers is one of the best trade show booth ideas to attract visitors
  • If you’re really tight on money, you can give away mints or candy.

People love freebies, especially if they’re getting a cool die-cut sticker with your logo or catchy slogan or something that adds value to their life.

When you give something away, there is a thing called reciprocity— It works. The law of reciprocity is in your favor when you share something with a potential customer. When you give people something, it may have them wanting to give back to you. There was a study focusing on 279,669 physicians. These doctors were given a meal that was valued at less the $20 while a drug was being promoted by a pharmaceutical company. These physicians had a statistically higher rate of prescribing the medication as opposed to other similar drugs. The pharmaceutical company didn’t even take them out for an expensive meal. When these physicians were the recipients of a simple lunch sponsored by the industry, the results showed increase prescriptions promoting name-brand products to patients on Medicare. Pharmaceutical companies do giveaways— Because they work. The law of reciprocity will also work for you, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Many law firms use refrigerator magnet calendars for high-end handouts. Giving away something that is functional and has your website, hotline, and your photo is a reliable way to build your credibility and your brand. If someone is picking up a calendar magnet, they actually need it and won’t throw it in the trash. You don’t need to spend a lot to make a good first impression— Just giving away some small will make a great first impression that can turn acquaintances into customers. Keeping your focus on a couple of essential items will help you save money and increase your revenue.

And the next step is to decide on your “Perfect Customer.”

This is important to know because if you’re selling t-shirts to pregnant moms, as opposed to customized t-shirts motocross riders— You’ll need an entirely different trade show display design.  The customer is different, so your booth should show that. 

Of course, you might think you want to sell to everyone. This is a HUGE mistake many people make!

You want to use “Focus Pocus” to nail down who you want to attract and buy stuff from your booth or business. Knowing who you are selling to first is one of the most critical steps in trade show marketing. So, when your perfect prospect walks up to your booth, you already know what they need! You want to sell to people who can afford your products and service, or at least have a credit card to use for it. So, figure out these questions: Who is your perfect customer? What traits would describe them?

  • Age
  • Demographic
  • Industry
  • Income
  • Budget
  • Why would they come to your trade show booth?
  • What would they buy?

Another thing to think about is this— How can I serve my customers, so they come back for more?

Give your potential client the best possible service, even if it’s just handing them a die cut sticker with your phone number.

Ask yourself these questions as well:  

  • What are my perfect customer’s deepest wants and desires?
  • Which products or service would fill their needs?
  • How can you help them?
  • How would you get them to sign up for your email list, consultation, or buy your products off the table or even pre-order before your products are even created?

I want you to wave your magic wand, and  ask yourself another question:

What would you like to see in a booth if you were a potential customer? 

Pick out two or three of your favorite elements first to develop your style so you can make your mark on your footprint.

  • Classy
  • Style
  • High tech
  • Earthy
  • Comforting
  • Trendy
  • Modern
  • Rustic
  • Country
  • Rugged
  • Feminine
  • Empowering
  • Professional
  • Cutting Edge
  • Outdoorsy
  • Bold

Every booth needs this for immediate branding: A classic table throw (or matching table covers if you have a large booth and need more than one table), branded with your logo, slogan, color scheme inviting your customer to inquire about your company.

Always think about your branding— Even if you can only afford the basics.

You want every element of your trade show marketing to have a cohesive flow with design elements that tie in together, whether you’re using adhesive decals, kiss cut stickers, or handing out customized card stock for handouts, which are cheap trade show displays. Simply put— Make everything match and flow into the color scheme of your branding palette.  Unless your perfect customer wears polka dot bow ties with pinstriped shirts and pimped out socks. The totally funky and mismatched may be what you want to go for. It boils down to this: What would your customer want to see in your trade show marketing?

tradeshow booth advertising

Think about your customer in every element of your design.

Another of the best trade show booth ideas for small budgets is to use your imagination. Close your eyes and imagine you only have $100 to spend. What is the one thing you can’t live without when it comes to branding your booth? Come up with a decision and put it on a trade show booth signs such as a vinyl or mesh banner.

You can make a big impression with a simple vinyl banner idea.

There are several options for this: step and repeat banners, vinyl banners, or mesh banners with your logo or branding. The most affordable trade show banner ideas are on classic vinyl. These vinyl banners come in a variety of sizes to fit every need. They are simple, easy to hang, can be customized to your exact specifications, and are likely to beat out other vendors if they are well done. They are weather-resistant, tough as nails, and way more flexible! You can make a bold statement with only a simple banner if you have a low budget for your trade show marketing.

Another option for easy cheap trade show elements is a vinyl step and repeat banner.

Where have you seen these high-end trade show banners ideas? Exhibit booths at conferences with high-end-looking displays? How about the red carpet in Hollywood? Amaze them all with conference booth ideas. People flock to step and repeat banners. They’re inexpensive to print and are great for getting more brand awareness on social media. You can ask people if they want their photo taken in front of the banner. People love to feel like they are unique and in the spotlight. Then ask them to tag your company on Instagram or Facebook for free advertising! Step and repeat banners with your brand scream, “We mean business, and we’re serious about serving our customers!” with a magnetic style. When you use a step and repeat banner, it will give your business instant credibility. People associate these types of flags with high-end, reputable companies— Make yours one of them!

Step and Repeat Banners

If you do outdoor events or want an even more modern feel, mesh banners are another option to make your display design a step above the competition.

A mesh banner is suitable for more significant design elements of your trade show display ideas. Instead of catching the wind, a mesh banner will hold fast and not blow around too much. One of the best trade show tips for mesh banners is to make sure you have contrasting colors in your design. If you want to know another of the mind-blowing and simple trade show ideas for small budgets— 

Breathable Mesh Banners Breathable Mesh Banners

Let the printing company design your banner for you.

It will save you money and time. The folks are printing companies to understand design. They create eye-catching banners and understand how to market your business. You can order your banners here and get them designed for free!

Another tip to save you money is to connect with other vendors and sponsors before the tradeshow.

If you want to be a sponsor and get noticed (But still want to save a few bucks), Bplans suggests getting together with someone who also wants to be a sponsor at an event and split the advertising and printing costs. What a great way to make a business connection that could domino out into more customers! Friends refer to friends. And the more friendly and connected you are with other businesses— The more referrals you’ll get. Another way to cash in on you’re your tradeshow booth investment is to make a simple, affordable poster specifically for the event.  Promote a tradeshow-only special. You can use 3m command strips for hanging on a shelf, wall, or event table. See more about 3m command strips here! There is another tradeshow secret many people don’t talk about (because they don’t want you to steal their business!). 

Here are some top methods to garner attention at your booth:

1. Floor Design:

Research shows that people often don’t look up, but they will look down when they catch sight of your Floor Decal! An underrated approach, floor decals are a great way to stand out from the crowd and give the impression that it’s imperative that trade show attendees stop by your booth. They can be used indoors or outside and can be designed to alert guests to sales, or special products and services. Everyone will have a sign, but you can be one of the few who also has stellar floor decals to draw people over.  

2. Retractable Banner Stand:

It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s an eyeful to view! Retractable Banner Signs live up to their name by being retractable and portable. The bonus is that they are lightweight and easy to use and assemble, but with fast application, it can make frequent trade show attendees market their products and booth with a little more ease. Whether a more economical version or top of the line, it can give you durable comfort to advertising.

3. Banner X Sign:

Banner X Signs are the type of sign you probably visualize at trade shows, due to their frequent use input-up/take-down marketing. Even beyond the typical trade show, they are used as a stand-alone at shops. Other times they are presented as an aid in product placement by a manufacturer to give their product an “edge”. and customers to a product, rental, or service. The X used in the name of these signs is due to the solid X backing, which holds up the vinyl sign in front. This should be considered and contrasted with a Retractable Banner Sign, to determine which will be more attractive as a stand-alone or part of a Trade Show Display.  

x banner stand Get X-Banners Here

4. Backlit Film Printing:

Scrolling graphics speak to a high-quality product and a lot of preparation. They are part of POP signage, which wants you to see that sign more than the others around as a focused image. When customers or companies see a well-thought-out Backlit Print, they feel more relaxed and assured that the company knows what is doing, due to the professionalism and expense of the images.  

5. A-Frame Signs:

The great thing about advertising banners and signs, is that you don’t have to pick just one! Give your product or service the same care that a shop owner would by thinking of your Trade Booth sectionally. This means that even if you choose an A-Frame Sign for listing products, menus, or specials in one section… it can still be incorporated with other marketing strategies. Other times, an A-Frame sign is used as a stand-alone to create an easy, personable atmosphere. An A-Frame is affordable, classic people know what you are about, but you and your staff or associates do the interacting and networking. When looking for the perfect signage for your Trade Show or Event, be sure to note the difference between Economy and Premium versions before ordering your choice. Sometimes spending less is worthwhile, other times, the costs associated with a Premium option will be off-set by the durability or attractive presentation. If you are in a bind, we offer 24 hour overnight printing options.  

6. Create a sense of urgency on your tradeshow vinyl banner

According to Hubspot, using the psychological trick in your trade show exhibit design could hurt or help your advertising efforts— So do it the right way. Using urgency in a banner works— If it’s done the proper way. First, let’s go over the WRONG way. You may know having scarcity makes people buy, but there was a study done by Howard Leventhal. It was supported in a vaccination study that people often block out messages that are urgent, unless . . . They are given the correct steps on how to follow up.

7. Promote a sense of urgency with the proper steps on an X banner.

So an affordable tradeshow sale banner or poster could read something like this: Headline: Sale good until they close the doors! Subheadline: Talk to an associate for your immediate discount Headline: Get a discount for this weekend only. Subheadline: Sign our newsletter to get the special offer delivered to your inbox 

Lead the people with the right banner and symbols.

People like to be led— Especially if they’re on the fence about something and don’t know what to do. Be the light your customer needs, and show them the way to your business. You can even use arrows on your x-banner to lead the way to the correct table to get the show-only discount. We look forward to you getting the business you deserve!

Frequently asked Questions

How do you attract customers to your booth?

There are a few things you can do to attract customers to your booth at a trade show. First, make sure your booth is well-designed and eye-catching. You can also hand out promotional materials or free samples to lure people over. Finally, make sure your staff is friendly and knowledgeable and ready to answer any questions potential customers may have.

What makes a great trade show booth?

There are a few key things that make a great trade show booth: 

- It should be eye-catching and stand out from the other booths.
- It should be easy to set up and take down.
- It should be packed with information about your company and products.
- It should be organized and well-presented.

How do you attract people to trade shows?

There are a few things you can do to attract people to your trade show exhibit:

1. Make sure your exhibit is well-organized and attractive.

2. Give out freebies or samples to entice people to stop by your booth.

3. Have someone on hand to give demonstrations or answer questions.

4. Promote your trade show online and in print media.

How much space should there be between exhibitors at the show?

The amount of space between exhibitors at a show should be based on the size of the booth and the type of show. At a small, regional show, there should be about 3-4 feet of space between booths. At a large, national show, there should be about 10-12 feet of space between booths.

How do I prepare for a vendor booth?

There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a vendor booth: 

-Plan your space wisely. You want to make sure that you have enough room to display your products or services, and that people can easily walk by your booth.

-Think about what you want to communicate to potential customers. What are the benefits of doing business with you? What makes you unique? Be sure to showcase this prominently.
  1. Alice Carroll
    Alice Carroll

    Thanks for the tip that focusing on something eye-catching can be a good strategy to take when preparing a trade show display. My brother has been getting into studying herbal medicine lately and would like to be a retailer someday. Maybe attending trade shows would help him gain a significant reach in the future.

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