5 Ways to Make a Splash with Your Trade Show Booth

If you’re exhibiting at a trade show, you need to create a unique experience for attendees. You need to differentiate yourself from everyone else that is exhibiting, pulling attendees attention towards yourself. And that starts with your booth.
This isn’t always easy for smaller companies with smaller budgets. Maybe you’re already stretching your budget to have a 10×10 booth. That doesn’t mean you have to just blend in and be part of the crowd. Your booth can still be unique and draw attendees.
Blog: How are you building a strong event presence?
Here are a few last minute ideas to help make your trade show a remarkable one.
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1. Stay Active on Social Media

You’re probably thinking, “this isn’t about my booth.” But having an active social media presence at GATS can be a game changer.
Active social media participation can help you connect and resonate with attendees. They can see you’re exhibiting and all the cool things happening at your booth (and yes, you should be including your booth numbers and any giveaways you have).

Additionally, those who can’t make it to the show can experience it through your posts.

Just because someone isn’t there doesn’t make them dead to you. In fact, there are people who are just as active in the event’s digital space as the event’s actual attendees. And you can’t ignore them.
Capture what’s going on at the show and demonstrate the splash you’re making. The person tuning in on social media, the additional foot traffic, and the new social media followers might be the real decision makers you need to talk to.
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2. Give Something Away

People love getting free stuff. If you’ve exhibited at trade shows before, you already know this.
There is no arguing that promotional items will impact your ability to attract additional traffic. Good giveaways and swag can generate some real buzz about your booth around the show.
Investing in a few high quality promotional items can be expensive. Don’t worry about having a dozen iPads. Instead, you might try having one big prize to give away at the end of the show and supplement with lower quality items, such as hats, shirts, koozies, cups, etc.

Most people aren’t going to talk about your pens across the show.

For big impact items, obviously, you can give to individuals who are real prospects. But make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunity to collect contact information for follow up after the show.
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3. Have a Fun Game

Ok, this is related to the previous point, but it’s also worth talking about on its own. People love games and competition. There’s a whole study of gamification, especially in marketing, that can attest to this. And it can really enhance the quality of your trade show booth.

Think about it like this.

If you have a fun game in your booth, while your (for lack of a better word) competition only has brochures and pens, where do you think people will end up? That’s right, at your booth.
This is a great opportunity to get attendees engaged. People will come up and talk to you when they see an immediate benefit. And they’re far more likely to recall your brand after the show if you give them a memorable experience.

Don’t forget to use your game as a way to collect attendee information for post-show follow up.

Oh, and if you’re interested, this post on Guerilla Marketing ideas for trade shows has some great ideas related to this point.
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4. Use Technology

Trade show booths don’t have to be a blast from the past. In fact, modern technologies are quickly bringing events into the future.
CCJ Spring Symposium Recap
Recently, digital signage, television screens, and interactive technologies have become common sights in booths. It’s a great way to attract attention, and companies are taking advantage of this.
[box]These elements are being used to show processes, educate customers, showcase testimonials, and generally differentiate exhibitors.[/box]
Proximity marketing is another new technology that you can deploy to your advantage. And it’s not terribly complicated. As attendees wander near your booth, messages are sent to their mobile phone. You might tell them about your giveaways, someone who is visiting your booth, or even your game.
If you want to see more about this, check out iBeacon.
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5. Be Personable

If you can do nothing else, you have to follow this as a rule. At the end of the day, all of these new technologies are cool and fun, but trade shows like GATS are all about human interaction.
Blog: Measuring the Results of Your Event Marketing
When you’re choosing people to work your trade show booth, make sure you’re choosing the most outgoing and personable employees you have. If your booth staff is sitting around playing with their phones, people will avoid you. They’ll just keep walking.

Staff your booth with people who are willing to get out in front of your booth and get attendees to stop.

This can make a world of difference. Even if you haven’t gone out of your way to get cool prizes, fun games, or interesting technologies, your people can mean the difference between a positive experience and a bad one.

If your people aren’t personable, your booth will be forgotten and avoided.

Everyone wants to have the booth that attendees rave about. But too many companies are willing to sit back and rely on the same methods year over year. All too often, this leads to exhibitors questioning why their event presence didn’t perform as well as they would have liked. This year, why not come out of your shell and try to incorporate a few fun experiences into your GATS booth.
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