As an exhibitor, trade shows can be a great way to generate new business but can also be extremely stressful. It can takes months of preparation to get ready for your time on the trade show floor, so the last thing you want is for potential new clients or customers to walk past your booth without a second look. If your bottom line relies on the new business you generate from trade shows, you’ll want to consider the following trade show booth ideas and design tips for your next exhibit.
If you find that attendees tend to pass by your booth without stopping to learn more or exchange contact information, it may be because your booth simply isn’t memorable or unique enough. You need to find a way to pull in passers-by, engage them, and establish contact for after the trade show has ended.
Let’s face it- a boring booth will usually result in a bored prospect and, eventually, a lost customer. It’s important to engage with everyone who shows interest in you, but simply acknowledging their presence and hitting your autopilot sales pitch isn’t enough. You need to make each and every interaction a memorable experience. Conference and trade show attendees have visited dozens, sometimes hundreds of other booths in the same day, and chances are they’ve seen the same old boring tricks over and over again.
So what can you do to make your booth stand out?
Consider something unorthodox. For example, try engaging attendees in a conversation about an issue they’re facing with their business that your organization can help solve. When they’ve named it, have them write it in marker on a balloon. Talk them through the solution that you offer and, once you’ve convinced them that your company can solve the problem, collect their info and have them pop the balloon! They get to watch their problem disappear with a single pin prick (which, let’s face it, we all need a little catharsis after a stressful day on the trade show floor). On top of that, the sound of the balloon popping–and the laughter that’s bound to follow–will draw attention to your booth.
Branded swag is another great way to generate interest and boost foot traffic, but if you go for the same pens, stickers, and keychains, you might as well be throwing the money you spent on these knick-knacks in the trash. Consider something more practical, like a USB charging cable, a reusable water bottle, or branded tote bag. You want to pick an item that people have a good chance of using (and reusing) on a daily basis.
If the trade show is located in a particularly hot or rainy place, you could give away water bottles or umbrellas with your logo or branding on them. Giving away items that have the chance to be used on the show floor rather than stuffed in a bag and forgotten can easily spread awareness of your brand across the entire trade show floor.
One of the biggest problems we see with company booths is surprisingly simple- companies spend too much energy on their marketing strategy and not enough time on their customers. They take steps to collect all kinds of data from their potential customers yet don’t do much to tailor their exhibit to their customer’s wants and needs. Think about it- after hours of wandering an exhibitor hall, do you think attendees want to stand in place and stare at your logo while they hear their hundredth sales pitch of the day?
Try going above and beyond for your attendees: give them something that other booths don’t- amenities! You could offer food and drink or just a place to sit and relax. If the event has no WiFi or venue makes you pay for WiFi access, offer a hotspot for attendees to use for free. You could also incorporate a cell phone charging station so your prospects can recharge their devices while learning about what you have to offer.
Presentation Is Everything
Is it really worth it to spend all of the extra time and energy involved in setting up the sharpest, most aesthetically interesting booth in the exhibition hall? Yes it absolutely is.
You’re potentially spending thousands of dollars to be there and you’ll be surrounded by your competitors, so why waste the chance to outdo them? Operate on the assumption that your competition will have the most amazing, engaging, beautiful booths you’ve ever seen, and do you best to one-up them. Spend time creating a memorable appearance that will draw people in from afar and keep them interested up close (like this giant gongfrom the 2018 NAAM conference). You essentially want to create the booth that attendees will talk about that night at dinner. Don’t use plastic table tops, cheap tablecloths, or drab colors. Make it colorful, make it beautiful, but most of all: make it memorable with excellent trade show booth ideas.
Being an exhibitor at a trade show is not easy, but with a few tweaks to your approach and display, your efforts will be worth it. Always keep the attendee in mind and try to tailor your booth to make their experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible.
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