The Trade Show “IT Factor”
Welcome to 2019 where the trade show has evolved and so should your booth, apparel and marketing. Companies still struggle at being approachable at trade shows. How can this be since the point of trade shows is human interaction? I really don’t know but, what I do know is that if you’re not focusing on your approachability (it’s a word, really) factor, you’re wasting money. End of story.
So, how do you remedy this… I have put together tips on three factors (the booth, apparel and marketing). Here are a few important tactics every business should assess as they plan for their trade show event.
The Trade Show Booth
Outside of unique design ideas (which is crucial) there is the matter of making the crowd feel comfortable approaching you. Whether you have a 10×10 or 80×80, there are many things you can do to make your both open and approachable.
Here’s a question… Why are we still placing table between ourselves and the people walking by? Foregoing the table in front and opting for a smaller one to the side or even shelves opens the area up for attendees to stop in and have a conversation. Something easy with interchangeable design options like the Symphony Rectangle Counter is perfect no matter what size your booth is.
Difficulty does not equal “Wow Factor”. Using a trade show booth that requires less time to set up and tear down gets you started off on the right foot rather than the sweaty exhausted one, making your team much more approachable! You can still wow with ease of set up. Check out these Collapsible Booth Displays.
Another great tip for drawing attendees in and keeping them there is to have a charging station or charging tower at your booth. These take up very little space and offer a value service to trade show goers. You now have time and a great opportunity to start a conversation!
PSA: Suits at trade shows are a thing of the past. Let’s (please) assume no one is doing this anymore since it’s about the most unapproachable apparel you can have wear. Moving on…
My first tip on apparel is to be comfortable. Being comfortable creates happy and approachable booth personnel. Luckily, brand wear has taken leaps and bounds over the years providing great looking and comfortable clothing. It is completely acceptable to have your staff wearing a jeans with a fleece, sweater, t-shirt or even a sweatshirt/zip-up hoodie. Promo Corner just released a great article about branded women’s wear stating that “Less and less is there a definitive line between what is acceptable to wear for work or for working out”. The power suit for women is not the corporate apparel we used to think of. It is now more about creating a powerful presence. Your choice here depends on your brand. Use your best judgment and maybe even combine a few pieces!
To help create that approachability factor before the event, you want to have fun and engaging emails, social posts and even mailers. Rather than merely announcing your business will be at the trade show and giving out your booth number, offer a call to action. Send out teasers of what people might see when they get to your booth. Instead of having a raffle at your booth that day (if I see one more fishbowl…) start the engagement ahead of time. Tell attendees that you will enter them for a prize when they share your, obviously fun and engaging, social post. Send out a mailer that is interactive using a QR code or NFC sticker (Click Here For Example).
During the event create reasons for people to stop by your booth with interactive activities, creative collateral to take pictures with and unique promotional items. Promotional products can be HUGE. Just imagine someone walking around the trade show with an item that everyone asks them where they got it from!
The next step is messaging. The message on your promotional piece is just as important as what you choose to giveaway. It is the feature that will enhance your promotional giveaway. Having creative messaging gives the team in your booth a great conversation starter. Hopefully something that gets a laugh or smile and opens a conversation up.
Side Note: Another tip here is to find a way for that piece to continue selling your message. That’s different for every company, but big for your ROI.
That about sums it up. Remember there are many factors that go into making your booth the place to stop, talk about and never forget. We can get into those another time. However, a booth is completely ineffective if the trade show attendees don’t want to approach it or you.
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