Potential customers form an opinion about you and your company in just one-tenth of a second. And when you’re at a trade show, you have to compete to get their attention before they can even form an opinion. Companies continually ramp up their trade show efforts, making their exhibits flashier and more cutting-edge and spending top dollar trying to triumph over the competition. But, there are ways you can surpass the competition without spending thousands of dollars.
- Plan out your booth before you go to the event. Lay everything out, planning what will and will not fit in your allotted space. You can physically lay it out in your own office or just sketch out the space. Know how you want the items set up on your tables as well. And, make a list of all the things you’ll need to bring: power strips, extension cords, tape, promo items, etc.
- Never sit behind your booth. This can be intimidating and make visitors less likely to engage or take the items offered in your display. If you can, stand to the side of your booth so you can more easily greet potential visitors as they pass. Keep a promo item or brochure in your hands so you can pass them out instead of making visitors pick them up.
- Include an attractive but simple display. Use a well-designed pop-up display or retractable banner that showcases who you are at first glance. Try to avoid a lot of text. Give condensed information that doesn’t overwhelm your visitors. Your visuals should just draw people in; you should be doing most of the talking.
- Make your table display interesting. Create varying levels of height with containers under the tablecloth or clear acrylic risers. Items laying flat on your table are not visually appealing; varying heights are more interesting and put your items closer to the visitors’ faces.
- Bring lots of marketing materials. Don’t just show up with your business cards in hand. Create memorable brochures and other print items that visitors can take with them. It offers a connection to the buyer after he or she leaves the event.
- Use a video or lighting to attract attention to your booth. If you choose to do this with a string of lights, make sure they are tastefully displayed and not cluttered. If you use a video to show off your services, keep the sound off or lowered so you don’t detract from all of the great conversations you’ll be having.
- Don’t pressure your visitors. Keep the conversation lighthearted and inviting. One way we love to spark conversation is by offering “creative fortunes.” We brainstorm different things someone could do to spark creativity in their lives — e.g., write a handwritten note to one of your friends, watch a movie from the year you were born, perform a random act of kindness. You wouldn’t believe how much fun this can be or how many conversations it can start! Anything you can come up with to get your visitors talking is a plus.
- Hold a drawing. Make sure the rules are well outlined and clear, that the prize is worth winning and that everything is visible and prominent. And remember, you can have more than one winner. Use the drawing as an opportunity to engage with multiple people after the show without pressuring them for a sale.
Of course, these are just some of the ways you can draw potential customers to your booth at a trade show. Another super important aspect: the all-important swag. But that is a topic for another blog.