Trade show exhibitions are often great opportunities to target prospects and generate sales leads to add to your funnel. Time and time again, trade show events are often treated as a second thought, and not given the full time and dedication they deserve to give your company the most bang for its buck.
Planning and executing a successful trade show is a pretty big deal. But, here are a few ideas on how you can increase booth traffic at your next event, without pulling out your hair.
Have a Booth Design That is eye-catching and maximizes space
Investing in a well thought out booth design and layout can set your booth apart from your neighbors. Your booth design is the first thing potential customers will see and it’s what will influence their decision to come talk to you.
How do you know if your booth design is working or not? Walk through this checklist and identify the areas in your booth you can optimize.
- Stay on brand. Your booth display should accurately reflect your brand and mission. If your colors are red and white, but you’re using blue and green, it may be time for a refresh.
- Keep it super simple! If your trade show booth doesn’t grab the attendee’s attention within the first three seconds, they are most likely to move on. Potential customers should be able to quickly understand who you are and what you do at a quick glance. Avoid busy patterns and colors that are similar, which can make your booth look cluttered.
- Keep messaging at eye level. Logos and branding should be placed at eye level and repeated throughout the display in different areas of the booth. Unfortunately, anything below eye level will not be read or seen. Displays with end caps and counters should incorporate branding elements on all sides of the items so that passers can see the company from any angle as they walk towards the booth.
- Invest in lighting. Companies skip display lighting to cut costs. But is that costing you leads in the long run? Lighting options can be inexpensive and have a magical effect on booth displays. Booth displays with lighting grab attention and increases the booth’s overall visual appeal. Plus, who likes reading anything in poor light?
- High-resolution photography. When incorporating imagery in a display booth, it is critical to utilize high-resolution photography. A lower resolution image will become pixelated when the image size is enhanced for the display.
Promote Your Trade Show Booth Before the Conference
You don’t have to wait until the day of the event to target your prospects. There are several ways you can engage with prospective clients before they even walk in the door! Utilizing a variety of targeting tactics can relieve some of the stress on your sales team.
- Web Banner Ads. Digital banner ads live within selected websites that meet your target demographic. Geo-target banner ads around the trade show. As people browse through their phones and tablets while they’re at the hotel or even in an Uber on the way to the convention, they can be shown your ad inviting them to come visit your booth with an enticing call to action.
- Direct Mail Campaign. Already have an existing leads sheet or hot list? Send a personalized mail piece to the individuals a week before the event inviting them to visit your booth. This is great for companies that are launching a new product, providing on-site demos or offering prizes at its booth.
- Cocktail or Reception Mixer. Multi-day trade show events often have a networking mixer the evening before the first session. Utilize this opportunity to set out company swag and booth information on the tables of the mixer area, inviting those around to stop by your booth. You can also have team members hand out company swag and business cards throughout the mixer.
- Social Media. Utilize your company’s social media platforms to create awareness and excitement about the booth for your next event. Leading up to the event, share a photo of the new product you will demo or the “Enter to Win” raffle basket. Post photos and share booth location details of swag items, demos and new product information. The options are endless, but social media can be an extremely effective, inexpensive tool to increase traffic and engagement.
Choosing the right team to staff your trade show booth
A professional and engaging staff is the most critical piece of an effective trade show event. Potential leads can and will be overlooked without an attentive and professional staff, which means missed sales opportunities for your company. Here is a list of NO-NOs to keep in mind at your next trade show.
- No food or drink sitting out in your booth. Yes, that includes your Starbucks cup. If you must have food or drink to get you through the day, it needs to be hidden in an area that is not visible to passers. Team members can also take breaks throughout the day and step away from the booth to eat and drink.
- No cell phones/tablets/laptops in your booth. Team members should not be on their devices for personal or business use. If they need to take a call or respond to an email, they should have a back up in place to cover the booth and step away to handle whatever needs to be handled. When in the booth, employees should be actively greeting and engaging with attendees. Friendly reps are more likely to see significant increases in foot traffic and generate more prospects.
- Wear “on brand” attire. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a strategically designed booth and with staff that are wearing mixed color, non-branded attire. Think of your trade show team like a football team. We can distinguish the players from the spectators by their uniforms, so you should be thinking the same way for a trade show. If attendees are looking for someone to chat with, they need a way to distinguish your staff from others walking by. Coordinate attire prior to the event so that there is enough lead-time to order any necessary outfits and ensure your team has what they need.
I love trade shows! The opportunities are endless and it is a great way to interact with your customers. Even though they can be stressful, the value it can bring to your business is immense. Has this got you thinking about your next trade show? If you need any help, send me a message or leave a comment with your thoughts.