You can only gain from a trade show what you’re willing to put into it. If you’re only attending a trade show to keep up with industry trends and spy on your competitors, you’re missing out on a dense sales opportunity and the chance to build awareness for your brand. Likewise, if you’re only in it for a quick sale, your booth is certain to just blend in or worse - turn interested customers away.
By shifting your primary focus toward the attendees, you give your company the best chance to generate significant buzz and engage in lasting partnerships. We have put together five key ways that you can make this happen at your next trade show:
1. Differentiate your space
You’re going to have to adapt to the limitations of each venue and event in. However, having an arsenal of products, presentations, branded decor and deliverables, will keep you agile in your efforts to stand out among the sea of booths at any trade show.
- Think outside the booth
How many booths have been simply rectangular tables with some branded backdrop and a pyramid of products? Mix things up with a more interactive display, different shapes, and reimagined format.
- Take up space
Consider how to fully take up the spaces that you can, while adhering to your allowed dimensions. This may include extra-tall vertical displays, making use of the floor, climbing the walls, and beyond. All venues were not created equal so make sure you know if you can take up more space.
- Make your booth modern
Use video, VR, modular furniture and displays, and add LED lights or music for the ultimate immersive experience.
- Add unique textures and materials
Tile, stone, wood, metals, acrylic textures, and plush items like bean bag chairs can mix up the space kinetically and visually.
- Invest in programmable displays that match your presentation and brand story
- Implement your exact and ideally unique colors on EVERYTHING you can get them on
- Be the ultimate accommodator
Offer a phone charging station, branded bottles of water, weather-specific items like hand-warmers or sunglasses, and add a bench or two for customers to relax.
2. Don’t wait until the event starts
Whether you’re a trade show veteran or an up-and-comer, you should always start to hype your events with your business/consumer network early and often. Buzz creates buzz. By pre-engaging with potential leads before the event even starts, you’re warming up customers to your brand and its products/services. If this is done effectively, it should place your booth on the radar of relevant consumers and businesses heading into the trade show, fostering engagement.
From your social channels to your email lists, tell your audience what to expect at your next event and what they’re missing out on if they don’t attend.
3. Gamify your presentation
It’s not just for gamers or introverts, gamification is one of the most engaging ways to ensure that your booth is a true sticking point for passersby.
Technology now allows for a personalized, interesting and immersive experience to activate your potential customers and engage them in a meaningful way.
- Put up a photo/video booth with a green screen or hand-held props and display a custom hashtag for visitors to share.
- Set up a live video stream on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitch
- Get visitors playing with a gaming console, karaoke, or augmented reality experience
- Partner with other booths on a scavenger hunt or challenge
- Don’t neglect the age-old prize giveaways like putt-putt, Plinko, or raffles
- Build up to the event with a social media challenge and reward the winner at your booth
4. Brand your booth, brand your booth, brand your booth
As you work to create an environment that is engaging for your visitors, complete the experience by branding each element to drive home your identity into the minds of each and every lead. Here are a few ways you can make sure your space is on-brand:
- Company colored lights, flags, and banners
- Branded video presentations
- Logos on various shapes, objects, giveaways
- Company colored/branded furniture
- 3D logo projection
- Floor logos
- Brand relevant audio/messaging
- Your actual products/demos
5. Be the booth you would want to approach
Beyond differentiating your booth visually and through engaging tech and games, you need to hit the mark in terms of professionalism and friendliness. Your team shouldn’t be slouching, huddled together, poorly dressed, too eager, or too loud. Rather, your team should be welcoming, warm, sharp, smart and ready to be helpful without disrupting an attendee’s experience.
This can often be an unspoken aspect of trade show performance that isn’t easily traceable. You can display attractive decor, enact new tactics, invest in new tech or offer engaging exercises and have leads fall through the cracks or ignore your booth altogether if the actual personal interaction is lacking or unappealing. This element alone will dictate the efficiency with which your investment in this entire trade show experience will effectively ROI.
As you work to boost your booth’s engagement, make sure your team is properly prepared. For traveling trade show teams, it all starts with WorkTrip. From travel and event itineraries to internal document sharing, WorkTrip has you covered before, during and after your events to save you time, stress and money while you make your business happen.
To learn more about lead management, read our guide called "A Trade Show Team’s Guide to Lead Management: Taking a Collaborative Approach Between Marketing & Sales."