9 Innovative Ideas to Attract Visitors at Your Next Trade Show
Trade shows are an essential part of your marketing effort and a unique opportunity to get some face time with your consumers, old and new. You ought to start your event planning months in advance and be meticulous and creative because no detail is too small and there is no room for glitches.
However, after you have put in the hours, there is nothing more disappointing than poor attendance and low engagement with your audience. It is disheartening and wasteful. Luckily, there are many proven methods to increase your visibility at any trade show, from exhibition stand design to thoughtful give-aways and gamification. Read on for our top nine innovative strategies.
1. Use social media wisely before and during the trade show
As a seasoned marketer, you have at least a couple of well-developed social media channels at your disposal to reach out to your base. Let your followers know early on about your trade show stand, and tease the attractive portions of your presentation. Once the trade show is underway, tweet and post regularly about what is happening at your stand, and use the event hashtags in order to gain exposure to attendees who are not your followers yet.
A good way of using social media is streaming live straight from the trade show or uploading stories for your followers. This real-time content may be useful for those, who cannot be present at your booth and encourage people who didn’t get there yet.
2. Create high-impact features within your exhibition stand design
The design and setup of your exhibition stand offer an easy way to stand out from the competition. Modular exhibition stands are an impressive innovation which more and more businesses find attractive because of their versatility, practicality, transportability, and ease of operation. You can adapt the size and setup as well as the content of your stand on the go, and you will easily shine among the standard low-tech solutions. However, whether you choose a bespoke stand or modular option, work with your designer to include specific visual features that will attract visitors’ attention. These need to be strategically placed for maximum impact, taking into account the exhibition hall visitor flow.
Lighting is key. The main lighting at the venue is usually good enough, but adding your own, maybe colored lighting into your display makes your booth more visible and appealing. It also points out particular parts of your stand, so in fact, you choose where visitors focus their attention. Besides, the lighting impacts the feelings – you can use it to create a warm, inviting atmosphere and get your visitors comfortable.
After a long day of walking around during the trade show people get tired. They consume energy, so do their phones being used all the time to take photos, check websites or text. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of your place setup! Think about a comfortable corner with free phone charging station, where attendees can lounge and recharge their devices (and their inner batteries).
3. Educate to engage
Think up an exciting topic that is relevant to the trade show and offer a mini-workshop or seminar for interested attendees. Keep it short, poppy, and concise, and identify clear knowledge gains in order to make the offering attractive.
4. Catering, catering, catering!
Free food is a classic way to draw people in. Pick something with a pleasant aroma – fresh cookies, popcorn, or good coffee – and have your staff serve attendees individually in order to start the conversation. Don’t simply lay the free food out on a table!
5. Offer memorable freebies
Design an innovative giveaway that will stick in your audience’s memory. Funky flash drive, a clever notepad, or a comfortable pen, are likely to stay with their recipients a while and allow your brand to stay at the forefront of their mind.
This should be the stuff they can pick up while walking around stands. The ideas are almost always branded and nearly endless (find some here).
What’s crucial is to make the giveaway desirable in some way. The more people want your item, the more likely you can cause buzz about you and your giveaway and attract visitors. Your freebies shouldn’t just lie so everybody can walk by and take it. Instead, engage your visitors – make them do something simple to get your giveaway – you’ve already created interaction. It is great when your freebie is different than others at the trade show – visitors will ask around on where and how to get it.
6. Have a high-end draw
Pick a trendy item, either industry-specific or generally popular and have booth attendees enter a draw for it. The quality of the item will confirm your company’s good standing, and you will collect many new contacts for your next marketing campaign.
You can go even further – provide a game and make attendees compete to win the prize – they will love it. This idea might seem straightforward, but it works. According to experts games have a positive influence on humans cognitively, socially, motivationally, and emotionally. They leave a lasting effect and willingness to seek out more of experiences like these.
Then, why don’t you use it? Successful gamification can make your booth special – people love winning prizes and if you add some competition – it turns out a bull’s eye!
7. Put your product in action
The best-attended exhibition stands are the ones that show and don’t just tell. Let your audience see your product in use or, better yet, let them use it and guide them through the process. Just like in childhood, the enjoyable play makes for memorable experiences and lasting relationships. It’s also a great way to make some direct selling – it may happen that visitor tries your product, gets excited, and wants to have it immediately.
8. Prepare all hands on deck
Your trade show success rests in the hand of your staff, so engage them early on, train them to put on their best performance, and make them part of your design and implementation process. Staff needs to have a relevant product and/ or service knowledge and it is important to specify a code of conduct to ensure that there is consistency in the level of service they will be providing.
Your staff should be outgoing – being able to start a conversation is key to staff performance at your booth, because the last thing you need is your crew too shy or introverted to talk to incoming visitors. Train your team on how to approach people openly, how to start a conversation in interesting way and then how to connect with potential customers.
9. Invest in a mobile event app
There are now some great mobile event apps, which can significantly help with attracting more visitors to your exhibition as well as keep attendees updated and engaged. From push notifications to networking with useful features such as internal one-to-one chat and interactive maps. Event apps can be designed to fit your event needs and maximise the experience of visitors.
Guest author bio:
Reno is a founder and director of an event company and exhibition company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, office refurbishment, signage systems, event branding, exhibition stand design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends.