The name of the game in trade shows is obviously to draw the attention of the correct attendees. Whether the goal is landing 5-10 specific VIPs or trying to get noticed by as many people as possible, the purpose is getting them to stop in. So then, the first question we have to ask is what makes them visit?
Clients and customers with a good (or maybe even not good) relationship will likely visit due to familiarity. They’ll have a chance to talk about current business or maybe just to get to know someone better. With the enormity of shows, it can be refreshing just to stop in where you can be more relaxed. These attendees are great for booth staff too because it gives them a chance to be more comfortable and portray a real relationship for prospective clients passing by.
Figure out the shows your clients/customers are attending. This will be the best indicator of whether or not the show is right for you to attend.
-In the market for that specific product
One of the most important reasons to attend a show is gaining new clients. As we’ve discussed before, trade shows are the B2B shopping mall. Attendees are coming with the intention of purchasing or at minimum gathering information for a potential future purchase. If it is clear that you have what they’re in the market for, they’re likely going to stop by.
Research direct competitors. If most of them are exhibiting at a specific show, then that is a clear sign the target demo will be in attendance.
Attendees are predetermining their booth visits and even the most efficient route to make all necessary stops within show hours. It is not easy to lure them away from their plotted course, unless they are wowed by something. Draw them in with a custom exhibit, unique product display, fancy technology, comfy couch, wet bar, whatever can set apart the space from those around it. Preferably utilize something that will appeal to the targeted demographic, for instance a unique product display, versus a wet-bar that is going to draw nearly everyone on the floor.
Attendees are more likely to show up where they’re invited. This seems easy, but is a drastically underused tactic. Companies can send broad or targeted mailers either digitally or physically to attendees pre-show. There is also an opportunity to tie this invitation to a sweepstakes, sale, giveaway etc. to pull them in. Be creative, be memorable, but most importantly be there before the show. The attendee will know you’re there, know what you do and know where to find you.
This is sadly the case far too often, but it seems like there are some people who attend the show with the clear intention of collecting giveaways. Sometimes this works with the goal(s) of the exhibitor. For example; letting the attendee experience the product first-hand (food, small products), gaining brand impressions by saturating the event (bags, hats, shirts), or just wanting to leave behind a reminder (pens, chargers). I would advise when going the route of offering giveaways to just be sure they’re relevant to the brand or product being offered. That will enhance its impact.
Determine who the attendees are whose visit to the booth will make the show a success. Design your space and work your strategy around attracting those people. If broad booth visitation isn’t a goal, but capturing the business of a select few is, avoid giveaways and dial in on a targeted demo with a pre-show promotion. If dominance is the goal, lineup a large space and get ready to handout goodie bags. Utilize the method that brings quality leads and syncs with overall program goals.
Author: Chase Howells
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