Peter Eberly, Director
Product and Vertical Marketing
In the sea of every exhibit hall, there’s usually one display to which all attendees flock. It’s the display with the most interesting look, the best food or maybe a photo booth where everyone wants to get a picture.
It’s not easy to stand out from the crowd and wow trade show attendees, but it’s important to try. After all you invest in the trade show process — buying the space, investing in the booth and arranging for the best representatives from your company to attend — you don’t want your efforts to go to waste by having a ho-hum booth presence.
Experts agree that it’s important to attract attention at your booth. The question is how to do it on a limited budget. Solution: think creatively.
Start with a brainstorming meeting with your team. Consider what you’ve done in the past and how that stacked up against your competition. What do you remember about the booths that got the most traffic at the last show you attended? Unless the company had some revolutionary new technology or product or already had a significant brand presence, their team likely found an innovative way to attract attendees.
Social media can be a huge driver of event attendance. Social offers “low-cost, highly targeted opportunities for exhibitors to reach an audience,” says Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital in “Trade Show Booth Bait: How to Attract More Leads.”
For example, using the trade show hashtag allows you to offer incentives for attendees to stop by. Gamification also helps attract attendees; offering prizes or scavenger hunts, for example, are great ways to get people to your booth.
Whatever you do, it’s important that your display aligns with your company values. You want the memory of the experience to resonate with your brand. For example, if you’re planning a photo wall, make sure it includes your branding. Hosting an after-hours event with a specially designated wristband for entry is also is a good way to draw attention.
Looking for some other ideas to encourage people to stop by your booth? Consider these that our team has created or seen at various events throughout the years:
- Photo backdrop or ceiling of flowers to encourage pictures and gawking at the ceiling
- Giant gumball machine with a giveaway based on guessing the number of gumballs
- Virtual or augmented reality experiences
- Putting green
- Digital, interactive games
- Performers (magicians, billiards trick shot pro, zombie in a cage (really!), remote-controlled robot, BMX trick rider)
- Custom filters and branded lanyards for photo booth ID badges tied to a giveaway
- Cocktails (be sure to consider your audience and image if you go this route)
- Girl Scout cookies or other food offerings
- Chair massages — events can be grueling, and many people appreciate a way to relax or rest their feet for a few minutes
There are innumerable interesting and innovative ways to attract people to your booth. Be sure that your incentives are appropriate for your company, that they connect to your brand, products or services and that they can be promoted on social media to ensure the best return on your investment.