Although times and technology have changed our approach to advertising, trade shows remain as important as they have ever been. Some could easily argue that they are more important today, as they allow you to engage with your market in a manner that few other methods can.
The difficulty that comes with trade shows, however, is that you are just one trade show booth among many vying for the crowd’s attention. To get the results you want, you need to come up with some creative engagement strategies. Here are some that you may want to consider:
Making the Right Impression
First impressions matter, and your trade show booth is no exception. You want to stand out from the many other booths, gain attention, and create opportunities for engagement. A visually appealing booth can do that for you with the use of vibrant colours, eye-catching graphics, and unique signage. Even the use of lighting can have a significant visual impact, drawing more eyes your way.
Your booth should appear neat and organized to make it visually appealing, be free from clutter so that visitors can more easily find what interests them, and have an overall appearance that aligns with your brand.
Interactive Displays Create Engagement
Attendees at trade shows come away with a much stronger impression of your business when they are able to interact with your demonstrations and product displays. Booths that incorporate touchscreens, virtual reality, and augmented reality create a tactile experience that will be remembered long after the trade show ends. These displays garner a lot of attention and spark curiosity, so encourage visitors to interact with your displays and have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions that arise.
Additionally, gamification of your interactive displays can take this one step further. Being able to interact with a display is interesting, but turning it into a game makes an even stronger impact. Create games, puzzles, and other challenges that relate to your product or industry. Doing this lets visitors experience your brand in a fun and highly memorable fashion.
Expert Speakers Giving Live Presentations
While your staff can and should be offering live presentations, you can go one step further by having industry experts appear at your booth for a speaking engagement. They can provide fascinating and informative talks on relevant topics to draw in your audience, giving insights based on their own experiences, or speaking on trending topics that relate to your industry.
Events such as this should be promoted in advance to raise interest and build awareness. Use social media as well as on-site signage to gather attention.
Having an expert speaker appear at your booth serves not only to attract viewers, but also to help build your brand by association with trusted authorities.
Contests and Giveaways
Social media is omnipresent today and most people recognize the benefits it offers in terms of advertising. You can leverage social media platforms to promote and drive traffic to your booth. If you are running a contest or providing giveaways for trade show attendees, social media can be used to create a buzz for these activities, encouraging visitors to seek you out and participate.
Everyone loves free stuff, so having branded freebies and giveaways at your booth is a great way to promote your business and get your name on everyone’s lips. Some popular and useful items to consider are t-shirts, hats, environmentally friendly tote bags, and custom USB drives. Visitors will bring these items home with them, where they will serve as an ongoing reminder of your brand.
Don’t Forget Networking Opportunities
One of the reasons that trade shows continue to be popular is that they serve as excellent arenas for networking and building business connections. Your staff should be able to do more than answer basic questions. Rather, they should be trained to engage well with visitors, personalize conversations, and establish a connection. This not only creates a more pleasant experience for the visitor, it creates a lasting impression and results in a much greater possibility of conversion and future collaboration.
While we touched on the idea of marketing and using social media to draw attention to your booth and your offerings, don’t forget other options that are available to you such as your existing email lists and industry connections. These can be used to build interest in the weeks before your trade show appearance and may also help you to schedule meetings and other appointments in advance.
Trade shows have been around in one form or another for literally centuries and they continue to be an excellent means of meeting with and engaging your audience, showcasing your offerings, and connecting with industry leaders. Attracting viewers to your booth and giving them a memorable experience is a vital part of helping your business grow.