At all the trade shows and expos I’ve attended over the years, across a variety of industries, one thing remains the same – there are only a handful of booths that really stand out! Of course we don’t all have the budget to build a double story, 12m x 12m custom designed stand in the centre of the trade show, but this isn’t necessarily the stand that steals all the visitors attention. So how can you plan a booth that will stand out at the next trade show you attend?
In our eguide Visibility to credibility 5 tips for planning a successful trade show we talk about the importance of designing an open, inviting, eye catching booth that reflects your brands personality, no matter what size stand you have. To expand on this here are four ideas for drawing attention and therefore visitors to your stand:
1. Ensure your stand and those on it reflect your brand personality. Have all the staff wearing branded uniforms, and keep it clear of personal items at all times (no standing there checking phones!). Remember you will have 5 – 7 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they move to the next booth so first impressions count! Be approachable. All staff should be trained and clear on the objectives of the show. While on the stand, smile, laugh and be enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet new people. Consider hiring professional brand ambassadors (promotional staff) to be your front line if you happen to have internal staff that are prone to introverted behaviour. Starting up conversations with strangers may not be everyone’s idea of a fun day out, but a bubbly, well trained brand ambassador will bring visitors onto the stand and be able to introduce them to your internal experts a ‘warm handover’ of sorts.
2. Give the visitors a reason to come onto the stand and interact with you. Create a conversation starter on your booth. This may be an interactive product display, or relevant prize draw. Use the opportunity to get feedback from attendees on a new product or service,this can be done via touchscreen or ipad (everyone is used to interacting with those devices these days) or even more personally. I recently heard about a booth that got feedback and ideas from attendees using postit notes! They had a wall on their booth were the notes were shared, and at the end of each day the company shared those notes on social media to extend the reach of the show beyond the physical attendees. All on a minimal budget!
3. Think outside the box when it comes to drawing attention. Trade shows can be overwhelming for visitors, walking around looking at sometimes hundreds of displays in one day. So include something a bit different on your booth to make you stand out. Things like coffee or popcorn can be smelt by approaching visitors, welcoming them to your stand. Music or bubble machines will intrigue visitors, bringing them closer to find out what ‘fun’ is happening on your booth. Consider new technology if it is appropriate. There are great off-theshelf interactive products that you could include in your booth design, such as a graffiti wall, sports simulator or 3D photo experience. Or perhaps consider a customised digital comms piece, perhaps an online game or competition, that includes preevent, at the show and postevent components to ensure greater audience reach.
4. Don’t forget the basics. I know it should go without saying, but I have seen some disastrous booths in my time. So I do feel the need to point out the importance of clear signage, visible banners and effective lighting on a booth. LED lighting is a good way to make your stand more visually appealing by including back lit signage or wall uplighting great ways of attracting attention for minimal outlay. And of course, the tradeshow giveaway is still popular, and can be fun, but be active about it. Don’t just have them sitting on your booth, hand them out with a smile, no strings attached.
As with all trade show tactics, they should link back to your key message for the show, and be measurable. Attracting visitors to the stand is only one step, engaging them in a meaningful way on the stand is vital and then driving the right action involves a good follow up strategy. A comprehensive strategy and implementation plan that includes preshow, during show and post-show activities and having the right support team in place will maximise your results every time!