Increasing Trade Show Event Traffic
We’ve all seen them. Those dull booths at a trade show or in a convention hall that have a banner that says something about an organization of which few people have ever heard. Two or three people stand under the banner looking bored while visitors walk right past. You’ve got to wonder why they bothered to set up the booth in the first place. To prevent this situation happening to you and your company when you set up a booth at a show, you need to make sure your display attracts visitors, gains their attention for more than a few seconds, and even succeeds in selling your products or services.
Here are some tips that advisers suggest you follow to stand out from the rest and turn your booth from a bore into a bonanza:
Get word out in advance.
Promote your booth a week or two before the event. If you are displaying your booth at a convention or trade show that requires registration in advance, ask the organizers for the names and addresses of those who are attending and let those who have registered know you will be there, either through e-mail or direct mail (postcards can still work). Another way to create a pre-show appeal is to promote your booth on your website. Whatever pre-publicity you use, be sure you provide an incentive for people to attend your booth when they arrive at the event. You might want to advertise a giveaway or a free drawing for an appealing product that you will be offering at your booth. People will seek you out when they arrive, eager to put their names down for the drawing. Or you might want people to know that they can meet a well known personality at your booth.
An attractive booth is a big draw.
Make your booth stand out from the rest, either through the use of color or through an unusual design. A fresh coat of paint can quickly revitalize a tired booth. But avoid the temptation to overcrowd your booth. Too many items on display can overwhelm visitors and confuse them. If your company offers a wide variety of products or services, concentrate on only a few. Big and bold usually works well.
Do not rely only on the booth itself to draw attention. Attract people to your display by giving them an incentive to stop by and talk with you. Food and refreshments are usually a reason for people to stop, particularly if the convention hall is crowded and the distance from one end to another is fairly long. Another draw is to create a quiet area where visitors can sit for a while. As visitors sit and relax, you have the opportunity to engage them in conversation and to carefully direct the topics discussed toward your company and its products.
Some visitors might photograph or video your booth and send it to friends if it is sufficiently unusual. Make sure your company name is prominently displayed so it will appear in the picture. Consider setting up an opportunity at your booth for pictures or even selfies that will include your company name or logo. You may consider placing some form of audio-visual presentation on your booth.
Know your audience.
If you are displaying your products at a boat show for example, make sure that you choose aspects of your products or services that appeal to boaters. That advice sounds like a given, but it’s amazing how often presenters forget how important it is to create innovative displays that relate to the nature of the trade show or that highlight your latest products or services that are of interest to attendees. Avoid using the same booth everywhere you go without question. If the convention is limited to people from a particular area or state, make sure you are catering to them. People in Arizona are likely to be more interested in certain aspects of your business than, say, people in New York City.
Offer something free.
If you can offer samples of your product, they generally are a big draw. People always like free stuff. If you choose to offer key rings or notepads, ensure they are unusual and not similar to those all the other people are likely to be offering. People also enjoy surveys or tests. If you can provide a test that relates to your product or services, such as “How good are you at …?” it could prove to be a big draw if done well.
Be ready to talk to people about your product or services.
Practice what you need to say in advance. When someone asks you what your company does, you and your staff need to be able to explain briefly how it can help them. It is important, too, that you are ready for any questions that may arise.
Follow up the leads you gather at the show.
Within a week or two after the end of the show, send out an e-mail that reminds people of what they saw at your booth and how they can obtain your products or services. Be sure and follow up on those who filled in their information for a drawing, test or survey you might have conducted.
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