The ever-present question on the mind of a business owner is how to promote their service effectively and to the correct audience. There are many channels available, especially given the prevalence of social media, but sometimes nothing beats the traditional trade show.
How does one create a tradeshow booth that effectively attracts an audience and sells a product at the same time?
When one talks about trade shows it should actually conjure up the scent memory of coffee. If it doesn’t, you’re going to the wrong conference/ Star Wars convention.
How can you make your booth, and subsequently your coffee, a selling point? Connect it to your product!
Liz Pullen described her experience with a VISA booth, who used coffee to both illustrate and caffeinate:
“They had a house credit card that when they used it on a mobile payment system, it started up this enormous espresso machine and made you a drink (I can’t remember whether it was coffee, an espresso or latte). They illustrated their point about how easy it was to make a mobile payment and I got a delicious, fresh hot drink.”
Not to mention, the time spent waiting for the coffee is extra time to discuss the product, the service and establish a repertoire with the customer.
If you can learn some supreme barista tricks, extra points.
Here we go with another sense-based recommendation. This one is all about sight, and your booth should be too. An aesthetically pleasing booth is far more catching for customers and far more exciting to work in.
Imagine this: a booth laden with ivy and rocking a steam machine with you dressed as some type of Tarzan-esque apparel.
Benefits: You get to have a centerpiece display (as everyone will walk by out of curiosity or voyeurism) and wear a loincloth to work.
Possible negative outcomes: none.
Less racy displays are equally as effective and potentially more relevant. Puneet Bhagar speaks about his stand-out booth experience and why it brought the event to its knees.
“Once in a construction industry trade fair we didn’t raise a stall at all. Instead we put a team who did a mock drill of constructing a brick and mortar structure for about 3 days. In the glitter of neon signs and colorful exhibits it became a clutter breaker. Got everyone talking. Also awarded the best exhibit for the trade fair”.
Having the best booth doesn’t mean the biggest financial burden. It is simply the platform to creatively capitalize on your product.
Do something different– even if that involves a lot of extra paper.
3. Use That Technology
It is safe to assume that every person at the trade show will be on their phone, with activities ranging from “Words with Friends” to “Draw Something”. Why not have them use that phone for good instead of destroying otherwise healthy relationships with their highly competitive friends?
QR (quick response) codes are tremendously effective tools to allow both a visual and immediate connection to a company. Kristen Hovde explains the QR’s encroaching presence.
“I think printed literature will be a thing of the past, especially with QR codes being the latest trend in trade show booths. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are codes directly on the booths that, if an attendee or exhibitor snaps a photo of with their smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, etc), they are taken directly to the company’s website, a video, or any other information they want to relay to their audience. It’s very cool and I think we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of these. Social media has definitely taken over the event industry by allowing exhibitors to communicate with a larger target audience while on the trade show floor.”
They love using them…let that benefit you!
4. Prizes for Social Media
This is in the same breath of using QR codes and generally supporting the use of technology for promotion. Offering incentive prizes (discounts, take home prizes or the like) for Facebook check-ins, tweets and other mentions on social media gets the name out there. Having take-away prizes keeps those names out there.
Check-in services are an upcoming and soon to be very important part of the art of the booth.
Prizes can include a ribbon, a dvd player, anything will do!
5. Play Dating Games
Trade fairs encourage mingling, but without facilitation people can end up grouping and high school lunch situations begin to occur. Your booth can remedy this by encouraging social games and exchanges. This creates a better atmosphere and can encourage booth visitation.
Curt Finch provides a personal anecdote detailing his experience with “mingle games”:
“We did a thing where everyone that walked into the show got a sticker on their shirt with a number. You had to find the other person with your same number, come to our booth and get entered for a prize. (a really good prize.) This got people chatting with strangers and meeting people, as well as brought them to our booth (in a good mood.)”
Think of the smiles you’ll create!
These are the top 5 ways to enhance a booth’s effectiveness and even more, it’s fun factor. What other ideas have you seen implemented? Let us know in the comments.