Exhibiting at trade shows can require mega bucks, depending on the size of your booth, the sophistication of your custom exhibit and the show you’re attending. But it can also result in mega ROI if done right. So, how do you create a trade show experience that’s both memorable and achieves your wildest business outcomes? Start by strategically planning to create an experiential trade show booth, and then try the following tips. 

Be Thoughtful 

Some companies use the same booth for every show, maybe swapping in some different graphics here or there. While this can work and help cut costs, it’s important to remember who you’re trying to reach at each trade show. Different shows have different attendees, even if they’re within the same industry. 

So dig into the details before planning any part of your exhibit. Why are you attending? Who is your target audience? What do you need to say to them? How does this differ from the last show? Think through each of these elements to ensure you hit upon the right theme, messaging and visuals to resonate with your target audience.

Send The Right Staff

Most often, organizations send their sales team to staff the booth at a trade show. They figure that this group is most well-versed in answering prospects’ questions and is usually some combination of engaging and charismatic. This might be your best bet, but it also might not. 

So before deciding who should go, pause. Most importantly, consider who is attending and what they care about (revisit point #1). If you’re going to a show primarily attended by engineers, you need someone present who can answer technical questions, which is usually not a salesperson. On the flip side, your smooth and knowledgeable salespeople might be the perfect fit for a show full of consumers. Different show, different strategy. 

Devise A “Hook”

If you’ve ever occupied your business’ trade show booth and watched attendees walk by, you know how it goes. Unless someone is drawn to something in your booth, they tend to walk a little bit hunched over, avoiding eye contact unless they see a compelling reason to stop. Your job is to provide that compelling reason (we call it a “hook”). Oh, and this whole scenario takes a matter of seconds so you need to engage them fast. 

Your hook could be a giant LED video wall that has motion graphics and is too breathtaking for someone to pass by, or it could be simpler – a clear value proposition in bold black letters against a white backdrop that resonates with them instantly. As long as you have something like attention-getting graphics or video, fun and/or valuable giveaways that are easy to spot while walking by or something completely unique (e.g. we recorded our podcast live from our booth once, which drew loads of eyeballs) – you can get big results. 

Give Them A Reason To Stay

Of course, an enticing hook is not enough to get new customers. It simply gets them in the proverbial door, but then it’s up to you to convert them. The first way is by having something interesting or valuable on hand that they’ll want to talk about. 

Maybe you sell an innovative product that promises to make their job easier and save time, but it’s too big to bring to a show. In such a scenario, could you have a miniature version made that actually works to show them? Something like this, that they could actually hold in their hands and interact with, can help make the idea of your product more concrete. 

Or, remember that people gravitate toward a good time. Using games and interactive technology can generate excitement and create fun. Also, turning your booth into a party with music, food, or beverages (if allowed) can be enough to make your visitors want to hang out longer, especially if everyone else’s exhibits are boring. 

A custom exhibit can really up the ante of the trade show experience you provide if you follow these tips and unleash some creativity. Need help? Contact us anytime.