Creating a great trade show booth experience takes a lot of work. There are so many pieces to manage and so many details that can easily be overlooked. After years of designing booth experiences, attending shows, and gathering feedback, I have four key trade show booth tips to increase visitors and make your booth stand out.
- Create great signage: Great signage is so important. If you are working with a popular and recognizable brand, great! But even if you are the big brand, you are competing with other big brands, and simple signage just won’t cut it. Include a little something to tell people who you are, why you are there or why they should stop at your booth. This can include a teaser statement, “stop here to gain better visibility into your forecasting” or “we’re reducing your manual work, find out how.” You want something that will entice your target audience enough that they will want to stop and learn more. And don’t feel like you need to be confined to the preset signage the trade show company provides. Most will let you add pop-up banners, looping video, or graphics on an in-booth monitor. Small footprint additions like t-shirts can even do the job. Be clear, be relevant, and don’t be scared to be bold.
- Be a people person: Staffing can be one of the more complex parts of the booth to manage. How many people do you staff? How many shifts are needed? Who are the right people for the job? Make sure your staff has more than just working knowledge of your product, program, or brand. They should be able to answer the tougher, more complex questions that will come up about your product, program, etc. You’ll also want your staff to be charismatic (not the skeezy salesman kind), keep their audience engaged, and have a voice that carries so as people walk by, more will be drawn to your booth. Last, have your booth staff wear matching attire so attendees will easily be able to distinguish who is who.
- Offer that little something extra: There is a lot of competition for booth traffic at events. Even if you have a great product or story to tell, you often need an extra boost to cut through the noise. Think games, entertainment, or giveaways–something shiny to catch the eye. One of the first booths I worked on had a “spin the wheel” game where attendees could win small prizes or be prompted to answer trivia questions to win even bigger prizes. The sound of the wheel clicking and the booth staff cheering people on created a line all day long. Another time we had a video crew capturing footage in the booth and facilitating some interviews. This may have scared away some of the more sheepish visitors, but a lot of people stopped by just to see what the fuss was about. Whatever your something extra is, it can be a great hook to get visitors to stop and engage.
- Make sure your content is king: You can focus on the three areas above and drive all the traffic you want to your booth, but don’t overlook the content of the booth and why you want people to stop by in the first place. Do you want to sell them something? Demo a new product? Sign them up for a new program? Or just evangelize and educate? Whatever it is, make sure you have a clear action or takeaway. If people like what they see, word of mouth alone can drive the traffic you need.