Here’s What Industry Insiders Say About Conference Booths
Here’s What Industry Insiders Say About Conference Booths
If you’re new to the trade show scene, you might be wondering how some booth holders seem to have all the success. They have the best spots, the best set-up, and a high volume of visitors, but you want in on the action too!
While a lot of it comes down to careful planning and professional booth design, you’ll find that most of the seasoned trade show exhibitors didn’t get it right immediately. Rather, they’ve spent years refining and honing their set-up to get it perfect and running exactly right.
Success might not happen overnight, but you can improve your booth set-up significantly by taking some advice from industry insiders.
Here’s what they’re saying you need to do:
Before the show
- Research! Go to the trade show as a visitor before you attend as a booth holder. Scope out the audience, the floor layout, and your competitors. Make sure it’s a perfect fit for your business before you book it.
- Be waiting at your computer the moment booth booking becomes available. Do this so you can secure the best spot for your budget. Aim for booths that have high footfall and visibility. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know where these spots are.
- Shout it out loud on social media. Create a buzz about your upcoming show and give your customers a reason to visit your booth. Competitions or discounts are a great way to draw in crowds.
- Meticulously plan your booth design well in advance – more on this below…
- Successful booth holders will have really thought about their booth design and they will have taken the time to design the best possible set-up for their space. It’s a great opportunity to use your marketing to connect with your customers. Visitors respond to thoughtfully designed booths that are seamlessly integrated with the brand and convey its messages.
- Keep your branding and graphics clear, clean, and easy to read and understand. Don’t clutter the walls with banners that contain lots of text. Your staff will be on hand to connect with visitors and explain your products; your display is part of what will draw them in.
- Keep everything cohesive. A streamlined color scheme that’s attractive without being “busy” is a good aesthetic to aim for.
- Invest in professional banners and graphics. Though they can be cheaper, DIY jobs never look as good and visitors will know it.
- Don’t crowd the booth with furniture and definitely don’t block the entrance with a table. By all means, have areas for people to sit in but keep the space open and inviting.
- Cover tables with crisp, clean tablecloths.
- Create an area for storage to keep personal items and any product stock out of the way and out of sight.
How to draw attention to your booth
- Have an attraction or entertainment, but keep it relevant to your business and the products you sell. Massages are nice, but it might not make sense to offer them if you’re a cutting-edge technology business. Similarly, a computer gaming competition is unlikely to be a good fit for a business that sells cosmetics.
- Offer freebies that people actually want. Everyone has a pen. Everyone has lost one in the last week. Offer something different.
- Give away free information. Knowledge is a valuable commodity, so offer some for free by holding a seminar. If you are unable to book a seminar spot, hold a mini one in your booth.
- Hold interactive product displays. Get people to touch, hold, and learn how to use your products.
- Have more interactive element in your booth. People love to get involved in solving puzzles or games. Creating your own challenge or game may be a good way to draw in the crowds.
On the day
- Read your trade show information pack thoroughly. Know exactly where to go to unload/pack up. Understand the rules you need to follow. Those who disregard the rules are likely to upset others and may be banned from future shows.
- Make friends with other booth holders. Offer assistance to them. You’ll likely learn some insider info and useful tips for future trade shows. Plus, it helps having a few allies on the day.
- Get to know the show organizers too. As above, you could learn a few things. And having them onside means they’re likely to favor you if there’s an issue or problem with another booth holder.
- Have booth staff that is not pushy or “salesy.” Friendly and approachable is the goal. Make sure they’re dressed comfortably and that they are able to have adequate rest breaks – miserable staff is a turn-off for any audience.
Quality, not quantity when gathering leads
- Zone in on the type of person you really want to visit your booth. Identify your target audience and focus your booth design to attract them. Don’t try to appeal to everyone – it won’t work and your leads will suffer as a result.
- If you hold a competition, offer one of your own products as a prize. This way, only people that are interested in your products will enter. Every person entering your competition will be a high-quality leads.
- Have a clear goal for attending the show. Whether it’s increasing awareness, sales, or launching a product, your staff needs to understand what they’re aiming for on the day. Having a goal will enable your staff to target the right people to help you achieve your goal.
After the show
- Follow up on leads immediately – don’t let them go cold.
- Hold a debrief session with your booth staff to discuss what went well and what needs to be improved for next time.
- Share your day on social media; talk about how much fun you had. Mention other booths you liked, which will make you look more authoritative. And those booth holders might mention you in return.
Trade shows are a learning curve, so use them as an opportunity to befriend and gain knowledge from industry insiders – even if they’re your competition. The more you learn, the better your booth will become, and the better your ROI will be.