7 Sure Ways To Lure Visitors To Your Expo Displays
Having a display at a major trade show is great, but it’s only going to be as successful as the people you can attract to it. Like “Field of Dreams”, a lot of trade show exhibitors take a “if you build it, they will come” approach to their expo displays – but that’s not such a great way to leverage your investment.
While it’s good to be at a show at all, if you’re at a big expo, you really need to be doing more to bring people to your specific expo display. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, as visitors wander around miles of exhibits.
Now, there are as many different ways of getting people to show up at your booth as there are messages, but we put together a list of some of the best ways we’ve come across. Obviously, many of these are mutually exclusive. That said, if you managed to create a gigantic flashy booth that was simultaneously intimate and personal, we’d love to see pictures and video!
Seven Top Ways to Attract Show Visitors To Your Expo Displays
1 – Be The Flashiest
Anything with flashing lights, large video touchscreens, or thumping music is going to automatically attract a whole lot of people. For certain types of businesses, especially those in consumer electronics or other high-tech areas, this sort of display is practically a necessity if you want to stand out. The downside, of course, is that it’s also considerably more expensive to outfit your booth with enough bells and whistles to be the flashiest display on your row.
On the other hand, remember that trade show display hardware and furniture is easily multipurpose. Those iPad kiosks and other high-tech items can easily be moved to your company lobby or foyer during the offseason, or be reused for any number of presentations and displays throughout the year.
2 – Be Intimate
Of course, if you have a flashy display, you’re also likely to end up picking up a lot of not-so-great leads, since you’re basically creating a big honeypot. That’s good if you’re focusing on branding and just looking to Get The Message Out, but if your goal is to pick up a handful of really quality leads, going the opposite direction is a better idea.
A minimalistic expo display, with a few tables and chairs set up for one-on-one discussions with visitors is a great way to create a booth that gives people some breathing room. Being able to simply have a conversation without shouting is rare enough in a trade show. With some creative use of walls or sound-damping dividers, you can create a quiet space which allows you to really discuss your product with interested buyers.
If going this route, try having people RSVP ahead of time. Ideally, you’d want at least one or two leads visiting all the time, so that the booth doesn’t seem dead.
3 – Catch People In The Parking Lot
Policies vary depending on the venue, but in most cases, you can easily set up an auxiliary booth -or just a van- outside the trade show, catching people on the way in. This is a great technique since you’ve probably already got a large vehicle of some sort, and it ensures people wandering in know about you before they’re even in the door.
Try creating a tie-in promotion, where visiting the outside booth gets them a ticket for a free gift or consultation or such. Give them a reason to seek you out once they’re inside, and you’ll be hitting them with your message twice in the same day.
4 – Make Good Use Of Common Spaces
Most large trade shows are going to have common areas, such as gardens or food courts, where everyone can mix and mingle in an environment that’s slightly less hectic than the main trade show floor. If at all possible, always have someone stationed in these areas, milling around and looking for opportunities to chat people up.
If you go with this strategy, the people you position should not be going for a hard-sell approach. They’re there to drop your name and try to get people interested in seeking out your booth. Be friendly and conversational. If someone isn’t interested, don’t push it. That said, if they’re smart about listening in on conversations, they can usually pick out some good targets for a bit of promotional time.
(And keep practicing those elevator pitches!)
5 – Create A Game
We’ve talked about gamification at exhibitions before, but it bears repeating. Try creating a scavenger hunt or a similar promotion that gives you an excuse to set up multiple stations in strategic areas around the trade show. If you don’t have the manpower, consider posters or similar displays with interactive elements, like QR codes.
If you can get someone to scan one QR code somewhere in the building, they’ll probably be interested enough to seek out more, or to go looking for your main booth. If there’s a reward built in, that’ll help increase response. Always be thinking about “What’s in it for me?” when you’re looking to draw people into your displays.
A game where they have some sort of concrete reward waiting at the end will vastly increase response, as well as getting them engaged and interested before you even meet them!
6 – Location Matters
If being noticed by foot traffic is a major concern, it may be worth paying extra for a primo position on the floor. People will tell you that location doesn’t matter, but it does, at least in a few cases. Endcaps are especially valuable, since you’ll be far more visible than if you’re in the middle of a block. Positions near the door are also great, but generally among the most expensive spots at a trade show.
To be clever about it, take a long look at the trade show layout and think about traffic patterns. Having a booth near the bathrooms, for example, would bring extra traffic, as would one that’s on the way to the food court. If you’ve got good buyer personas, use those to get into your leads’ heads and figure out where to stick your booth so that it’ll be on routes they are likely to be taking.
7 – Co-Sponsor An Event
Talk with your trade show organizers, and find out what bigger events they’re thinking about including. Sticking your name and logo on top of those events virtually guarantees increased exposure, and can often net you a speaking position as well.
It’s usually more expensive and unlike investing in equipment, it can’t always be reused. On the other hand, you’ll get a lot more exposure, and the resulting exhibitions can easily be filmed and turned into promotional material that will get you more mileage.
8 – Bonus Tip – Offer Them a Ride From the Airport
Several clients have found this to be a superb win-win for them and their VIP customers. You’re presumably already inviting them to the show and offering them a free guest pass – why not offer to pick them up at the airport?
Many trade show attendees don’t bother to get a rental car, preferring to take a bus, shuttle, or taxi to the hotel – save them the hassle and give them a quiet, clean, and personalized ride to or from the airport. Of course, they’re in your hands for that ride, so send a couple of savvy staffers or account managers – NOT a hired chauffeur – and take the opportunity to get to know your VIP customers better!
Keep Trying New Things!
Just remember – there’s always another trade show. Even if one goes poorly, or an experimental promotion you try out doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped, don’t get discouraged! Ultimately, it’s creative and inventive booths that will get noticed, so keep trying out new ideas for your expo displays!