If you want your small or inline trade show exhibit to stand out on the show floor, design is an important consideration. Seven tactics that will help you draw attention:

1. Mix it up and add dimension. Just because it's an inline exhibit doesn't mean it has to have a flat, solid backwall. While you do want to keep it simple, changes of plane, finish, color and texture will help you stand out. Think insets, canopies, and even overhangs.

2. Keep your graphics simple. Select a couple of high-level messages and keep it to that. This will help create a clean, professional look and feel. If visitors want more information, your staff can help—or you can employ a touch-screen drill-down program to convey details.

3. Light it up. Use the fact that good lighting draws the eye to your advantage. Options include up-lighting, down-lighting, halo lighting or spot lights.

4. Integrate a theater or activity. When people see other people congregating they stop to see what's happening. Therefore, a great way to draw traffic to your booth is to have some sort of activity in your exhibit that visitors will stop to observe or participate in. One solution is to run ongoing demos. Another is to deliver a theater presentation. Just five or six stools and some standing room for the presenter is all you need. Both demos and presentations become even more compelling if your presenter wears a microphone.

5. Appeal to the senses—beyond sight. Display something people will want to touch and you won't be able to keep them out of your exhibit. And don't underestimate the power of a familiar scent or an opportunity to taste. Sound is also a draw (see #4 above.)

6. Integrate a game or activity. CUNA Mutual Group's Protect Your Turf quiz acted as both ice-breaker and conversation starter—and drew substantially more visitors than prior exhibits.

7. Train your staff to step into the aisle and greet people. A great exhibit team makes a world of difference in your ability to engage prospects. After all, they're the ones who have the ultimate power to create a positive—or negative—experience for attendees. When your staff performs well, good exhibits produce great results and great exhibits deliver stellar results.

How do you make your inline exhibits compelling?