- Trade Shows
Designing Trade Show Booths: Boost Attendee Engagement
Trade shows are a vital part of promoting your business and increasing brand awareness. They are an opportunity for you to put your brand’s best foot forward both within your booth space and through networking at the show. They’re essential for spreading recognition of your brand and building your customer base.
But there are a LOT of businesses represented at trade shows, and many of those businesses will have big budgets and plenty of resources for developing their trade show booths. How will you make sure your booth stands out and creates engagement with trade show attendees?
Optimize Trade Show Booth Design
Begin by considering the show itself: themes, location, industries represented. To succeed in drawing the right visitors to your booth, “tailor your presence at the show and on social media to gather the most exposure.” This can be as simple as choosing carpet for your booth that matches the carpet in the rest of the room — according to CG Life, a life science/healthcare marketing and communications agency, this can help “to create a seamless transition between the aisle and your booth area.”
Tailor your giveaways and swag to the event location, says CG Life “When planning giveaways or swag for your booth, ditch the pens and USB sticks. Instead, go for something practical that the trade show attendees will appreciate during their time at the event,” such as fans or sunglasses in a hot climate, or umbrellas in a rainy locale.
Next, think about how you’ll attract attendees; to access your message and connect with your brand, they need to first notice your booth and be drawn to it. “The goal of your booth is to grab attention which is the easy part,” according to Australian firm Selby’s. “The hard part is actually grabbing attention while at the same time being on-brand.”
Incorporate attractive signage and lighting into your booth design to attract attention.
Trade Show Booth Location
Another aspect to consider — where on the trade show floor is your booth located. Try choosing a corner booth in a high foot traffic area of the venue. You’ll be competing with other exhibitors for the best locations.
Tell Your Story
The layout of your booth — the path attendees will take from entry to exit — should guide visitors through a journey from introduction to your brand to deeper engagement. Begin with the simplest possible statement of what type of business you are, to orient visitors immediately, and “articulate who you are and what you do,” Selby’s advises. “You can get all the attention you want but if no one knows who you are and what you do, all that attention won’t convert into brand equity and most importantly sales.”
Make Attendees Feel At Home
Create an accessible, comfy, “homey” vibe with wood and fabric instead of a cold, futuristic, all-metal design, advises meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider Cvent. Provide free water, wifi, and charging outlets to encourage attendees to spend time there. And “make sure that stopping by your trade show exhibit gives an attendee more information or a better experience than if they were to just visit your website online.”
Lots of companies put out bowls of candy for attendees; consider going above and beyond with actual food and drink. “Not only will food and drink get the attention of attendees, but it creates a more relaxed social atmosphere, perfect for starting conversations about your brand,” explains CG Life.
It’s important to create a memorable brand experience in your trade show booth, but the visual elements as well as the booth’s content have to align with your brand’s core values and aesthetics while being visually appealing. Use consistent visual and verbal messaging throughout the booth’s design, swag, and other materials.
Add Interactive Elements
Engage visitors during the show by incorporating interactive elements into your booth. This might include technology like touchscreens, virtual reality, or augmented reality. Low-tech is another option; hands-on experiences and demonstrations with your product or service give visitors another means of interacting with your brand — great examples include a photo booth, surveys, lottery draws, and more. “As long as they’re consistent with your brand,” according to the Tradefest blog, “activities can be a game-changing asset to attract prospects and make your trade show booth stand out.”
Employ Pre-Show Marketing Strategies
Your trade show booth’s success can start well in advance of the event. Make sure key visitors know where to find you by inviting them to your booth with personalized invitations. Use social media and email campaigns to tease your trade show booth features and upcoming reveals to your mailing list and VIPs.
Create a mini PR campaign around your brand’s presence at the show. “Reach out to bloggers, influencers in your industry, and trade publications before the event,” advises software marketplace G2. “It’s a great way to promote your business, especially before the trade show.”
Promote Your Presence During The Show
During the show, post photos to your social media to keep your contacts updated on your activities and your brand’s presence. If you have a blog, publish content that “reports” about the show and your brand’s activities there. This will help cement relationships begun at the show. “The information you include in your blogs can provide your new connections with additional insight and your perspective on the event, which helps establish more personalized relationships,” explains indeed.com.
Capture the contact details of attendees who visited your booth, so you can follow up with them after the show.
Follow Up With Post-Show Engagement Strategies
Always follow up after the show to continue the conversation with visitors to your booth as well as people you met while networking. “After the show, it is crucial to follow up on any leads you collected, and have planned touch points to reach the new and old contacts who visited your booth,” says CG Life.
Indeed.com recommends launching a trade show-specific followup campaign, where you contact each lead with a series of emails designed to keep your brand front of mind with your leads. Send the first message within two days of the show. Gather feedback on your booth by asking leads to complete a brief survey about the experience.
Following up with leads is also a way to measure your brand’s trade show success by quality of engagement and long-term impact on brand relationships and sales. If you begin tracking those leads immediately after the show, you’ll get a sense of how effective the show was for your brand.
Finally, review any surveys conducted during the show, and talk to your team to see what they learned interacting with visitors to your booth. Everything you learn about this trade show will help you make the most of future shows, expand your network, and raise your brand’s profile.
Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.