Tradeshows are one of the most effective methods for communicating with your audience. 99% of marketers said they found unique value from tradeshows they did not get from other marketing mediums.
Generating brand awareness, engaging new leads, and building relationships as the leads are taken through the buying cycle are the top three reasons for marketing participation.
55% of attendees purchase a product or service from information gathered at a tradeshow. So how do you design your tradeshow participation to get in on that action?
The reality is, if you’re in a 10x10 booth you have less than seven physical steps as an attendee walks by to catch their attention. This is even more critical if you’re at a large tradeshow and an attendee will only walk by your booth once.
Consider these seven points with every step an attendee takes away from your booth:
- First and foremost, bring the experts. You’ve invested money and effort in participating in the trade show, so promote your rock star subject matter experts to gain credibility with your audience. A breakout session with the experts can go a long way to engaging leads too. Position your rock star as a consultant who can provide insight and recommendations for solving problems. And while you’re audience is in the booth, don’t forget to scan their badges. These are people that are interested in your topic and are looking for a solution, so grab their names for post event follow-up.
- SHOUT your solution and benefits from your booth design through the various pieces of content available for attendees to take home. Attendees won't necessarily know your brand name and product offerings, so you can't count on them coming over to talk if you end up being a service provider they don't need. Have available later stage assets for existing leads or those that appear further down the buying cycle.
- Avoid barriers (like tables) between you and attendees at the front of your booth. Break the visual line of booths around you. A flat screen with an eye catching video or extending the line of your booth above the top of the infrastructure are two great ways to stand out.
- 20% of UBM’s POP survey attendees say that games or activities make them more likely to stop and visit a vendor’s booth during an event. While it’s critical to draw the eye of the attendees, don’t stray from your brand image. You want attendees in your booth for the right reason: they have a need for your product or solution. For example, I once saw a software company use a gorgeous model to draw attendees into their booth. The booth was flocked by attendees, but at the end of the day, that company got limited to no follow-up from those who entered the booth because they solely interacted with the model and not a subject matter expert.
- Fun tchotchkes or a raffle are always great ways to draw interest. Residual value is key when selecting a tchotchke. Think about what attendees will use or keep on their desk so they will be reminded of you as they travel down the buying cycle. Fair warning: I’ve gotten tchotchkes over the years that every attendee wanted but will never grace my workspace.
- When selecting your booth location look for high traffic areas like refreshment areas, corners, or entry and exit ways. Positioning yourself near complimentary products can also work to your advantage.
- Get social: both in person and in the digital realm. This is your chance to meet people and build relationships! So don’t sit down, instead get out there and chat! Hang out beyond the 10x10 perimeter of your booth. A friendly “hi” and a probing question go a long way to getting noticed by leads who have a need for your solution. Take pictures with booth visitors and tweet them. Include both your company twitter account as well as the hashtag for the tradeshow. It also provides another connection to you and can be a great reminder of your exchange when the attendee gets home.
Creating the perfect space to engage the right leads at a tradeshow does take preplanning and organizing. But the results will put your pipeline on cloud nine!