Tradeshows are all about getting noticed. No matter your industry sector, an impressive and engaging presence at an industry-specific tradeshow is an important tool in attracting new customers. According to Exhibit Surveys, 39% of tradeshow attendees are 1st timers, and Trade Show News Network found that 81% of tradeshow attendees have buying authority. As an exhibitor, the tradeshow is a rare face-to-face marketing opportunity that can benefit your business immensely. Here are 5 tips that you can use to maximize your tradeshow presence, boost your brand awareness, and ultimately, drive sales.
Make It An Experience
Experiential marketing is a buzz-phrase in the tradeshow marketing world, and if you’ve been to a tradeshow lately, you’ve likely experienced it. Think back to the last tradeshow that you attended – remember the booth that commanded hordes of visitors with a unique and engaging activity, technology, or presentation? If you’ll recall, all of the other standard “show and tell” booths were sterile and boring by comparison – and their booth attendance duly reflected that.
Experiential marketing is a promotional method that encourages two way interactions between the consumer and a brand in an attempt to connect on a more personal level. When well-executed, experiential marketing makes consumers want to be involved, as opposed to making them feel as though they’re being forced to listen.
While experiential marketing is nothing new, it is hands-down the most effective way to seize the attention of customers you are trying to target. The best creative ideas for experiential booth marketing always involves actively engaging attendees, so get creative and think of unique ways to get visitors to interact.
The key is to show and NOT tell. You want your tradeshow attendees (i.e. potential customers) to feel drawn towards experiencing your brand for themselves, so offer them a creative platform to do so. Rather than just displaying your products with sales reps, for instance, find a unique way to make your display interactive with games, contests, performances, unique demos, or interactive tech. If you build it, they will come.
Pro-tip: aim to make your display inviting to guests – your goal is to entice them to be curious about your booth and be drawn in, not to be warded off by lurking reps. Encourage attendees to participate, and they’ll naturally be curious about your offerings.
Think Outside of the Booth
Many tradeshow vendors consider the perimeter of their slotted booth space to be the boundary of their territory when marketing at a show. You’ll likely be competing with hundreds (possibly thousands) of other vendors for attention during the show, so consider hosting a separate event or gathering outside of the event hall to entice visitors.
Should your budget allow, invite engaged attendees to an invite-only event or party near the event hall location, and make that sure your event is a bang of a good time. Ask guests to exchange their contact information, referral information, social media posts, or other collateral for an invite, and be sure to market your event as the “it” place to be that evening (consider having special guests, raffles for prizes, etc). Most tradeshow attendees are on the lookout for things to do after the show, so this tactic (although an additional investment) can build your brand awareness and rapport immensely.
If you have questions about event management, our experienced team is all ears.
Make Your Booth Comfortable
If you’ve been to a tradeshow, you know how tiring they can be. One unique way to entice a flurry of attendees is to create a digital lounge at your booth. This clever tactic used by tradeshow vets is best executed by providing comfortable lounge chairs and couches as well as coffee tables or kiosks with built-in device chargers. Once guests are comfortably seated and charging, offer them beverages and snacks in branded cups or dishware. If you are looking to have conversations to tout your product or service, this is a great way to make your guests feel comfortable.
To further enhance the experience and highlight your brand, offer your guests unique interactive tools that demo your product or service while they’re seated in your lounge. Make sure that you don’t pressure a demo or sale, else they may stray. Rather, offer tools that they can interact with directly without external interference that will educate them about your company or offerings.
Additionally, be sure to make your comfort oasis social by encouraging guests to post about your company and booth with company-specific hashtags that you can place on signage around your display. This will help spread the word and maintain the visitor flow.
Attractive Signage and Tech Interactivity
This goes without saying, but signage is the first thing that visitors see when they visit your booth. Make sure that your booth display goes above your typical company branding, and present your area with bold imagery, video, and text. You’ll want to be noticed from afar, so make this a priority. Consult with an agency (like ours) to have graphics and signage designed in a way that attracts visitors, and remember that there is a science to the use of color and text.
Additionally, be sure that you have digital signage that captures attention. Interactive walls and touch screens have become the new norm at tradeshows, as they are versatile tools and can be used for a host of different uses – from signing up guests, to displaying company services and history, to offering unique demos or customer engagements.
Go Digital, Be Social
At tradeshows, you have a small window of time to engage customers before they move on to other displays. How can you help ensure that a steady flow of guests find your booth? Start with an intelligent social media campaign. A study by Russell Reynolds found that 58% of US marketers use social media to engage their target audience during timely events as part of their real-time marketing engagement strategy, and 93% of consumers find user generated content to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.
Take advantage of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat by having a strong social presence during your industry event, and invite event attendees to interact and share about your business. In fact, aim to have a team dedicated to the task of posting, answering questions, making offers, etc. The more buzz you can build around your presence, the more visitors you’ll draw.
This ties in with prior points, but also be sure that your display is something to post about. You’ll encounter issues if your booth is a bore, so be sure to wow your guests then happily reap the rewards!
For more information about our tradeshow tips, or for information about our tradeshow services that are designed to boost your brand, please reach out here.