We have all been to trade shows and have seen row after row of tables with draped cloth and boring backdrops. In this environment, what stands out? What is unique and catches your attention?
Generally speaking, the answer is nothing. Welcome to the problem. If you’re not interesting, people will not be interested.
Creating a remarkable trade show booth is simple, as long as you’re willing to invest the time, money, and a little creative juice in the event.
Use these 6 ideas to give you the boost you need to make your next event a remarkable one.
1) Make Your Booth Unique
Trade shows are a large investment in both money and time. If you’re going to make the investment in a trade show, the first item you should spend your money on is a booth that will stand out. Investing in an expensive booth that you can use and re-use for years to come is the best option. If you’re going to be cheap about your booth selection, you may need to look at another avenue of marketing.
Additionally, make versatility a priority while selecting a booth so that it can be modified to different sizes (e.g. 10x10, 10x20 and 20x20). This will give you the flexibility to increase, or decrease your trade show footprint while maintaining the visually stimulating elements of your booth and staying true to your brand.
Here is an example of a flexible and intriguing booth we developed for one of our clients:
2) Dominate the Swag Race
There is no arguing that the promotional items you select will impact your overall ability to attract attention and create buzz around your trade show presence. You most likely won’t be generating positive buzz with crappy pen giveaways.
Investing in promotional items that are as unique and as high quality as your offering is the key. If you’re worried about the cost, keep in mind that everyone doesn’t need to get the “big prize” (more on this next). Have some quality, relatively inexpensive (not cheap) items that you are will to give out to attendees.
As for big item giveaways, you need to aim for maximum impact. Obviously, you can give these items to individuals that are real prospects, but make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunity to collect contact information for followup after the show, before you hand these goodies out.
The rest of these “big prizes” should be part of an attention grabbing, fun and interactive experience. Why not incorporate a game in your booth and have the big items be the prize for the winners?
3) Host a Game (With Prizes!)
If you have a fun game in your booth relevant to your industry, while your competing entities down the aisle have nothing but brochures, where do you think people will end up? Make sure that your games have an element of fun and attracts positive attention. Leave the good ‘ole raffle and bingo games at the retirement home.
Don’t forget to take advantage of this opportunity to collect information. Have attendees sign-up to participate. This will allow you to build a list that can be used after the event.
We recently worked with a client to create a miniature golf hole concept. The obstacles were themed to the specific event and the target market was likely to be a golfer. Hole-in-one!
Don’t limit yourself to golf. It could be any number of games. Think of what your trade show prospects find amusing and relevant. If your game is engaging, has the right execution, and offer tempting prizes up for grabs, it would give your company the opportunity to be the talk of the show.
4) Demo Your Product (or Service)
If you are spending money on a trade show appearance, hopefully your product, or service is valuable and unique in the market. Think of the trade show attendees as recurring sales calls. If they are your target market, it’s time to demonstrate your value and show why they should award you their business.
If you have a product, or service that can be demoed, show its realtime value. Think of it like a mini-infomercial. Focus on the value you can offer to the audience, not the features. If you can make it hands on, do it. The more involved the audience is, the better.
5) Use Technology
Many modern technologies can be applied to the trade show environment to give an exhibitor the upper hand.
Recently, digital signage and interactive touch screens have been increasingly incorporated into trade show booths as a way to attract attention and display value. These elements can be used to show processes, educate consumers, showcase testimonials and many other functions that can differentiate an exhibitor on the trade show floor.
Proximity marketing is another technology that you may be able to use to your advantage. As attendees wander near your booth, messages are sent to their mobile phone containing special offers (maybe an offer to play your game) and other messages about visiting your booth. New technologies like the iBeacon can make this possible.
6) Stay Active on Social Media
Although trade shows are an “in-person” event, that doesn’t mean that social media can’t play a part in your overall trade show effectiveness. Active social media participation during the show can help you connect and resonate with two different audiences -- attendees, and those who couldn’t make it.
Those at the trade show can discover that you are there, and if you do it right, you can demonstrate that you are worth checking out. Be sure you are actively using trade show related hashtags so that visitors can easily find your posts.
Additionally those that did not make the show can experience the event vicariously through your posts. Just because someone is not there, doesn’t make them dead to you. Capture all the goings on at the show and demonstrate the social splash you’re making. You never know, the person tuning in on social media that didn’t make the show may be the real decision maker.
Trade show marketing can be a rewarding experience and can demonstrate a true ROI. Having a remarkable trade show booth is one element that can help you reach your goals.
What items and strategies have you included in your trade show booth to make it remarkable? If you’re interested in incorporating inbound marketing in your trade show initiatives to maximize ROI, download "The Inbound Marketing Guide To Trade Show" from Adhere Creative.
Originally published Mar 12, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019