Part 2: Up your game!
In part one of this series, I covered that we hate trade shows because they are time consuming, costly and difficult can be difficult to provide ROI sales results from. In this installment, I want to address one of the ways to increase your potential for making your experience more profitable. Create a better experience for the attendee. Call it marketing, boothmenship, experiential marketing, it really doesn’t matter what moniker you use, they all mean the same thing. Up your game in the booth and that starts before the event.
Pre Show Planning- Plan your show/conference like your compensation depends on it.
a. Make sure you hit your dates for early discounts. Speaking specifically about the purchase of a booth space or entry to the event.
b. Plan your space so that your booth, signage, collateral, etc all arrive packed and organized for easy removal by the show/event decorator. This will certainly help on cost and get you some points in the bank with them when you need to ask for a favor.
c. Make sure you give your attendee audience a reason to come see you. Invite them personally. Ask them to set appointed times to meet with you. Include an RSVP that enters them into a contest that can win them something of value. Let them know that everyone gets a gift when they visit but one person (or more than one depending on budget) will win “the big prize”.
d. Plan a daily contest for your booth staff. Don’t make it complicated, do something simple like the person who collects the most invitations in a day wins $100. So you don’t create a disincentive for anyone, make sure there is a total show winner who gets a larger prize, $1000 or a similar value prize. Maybe they get additional money in their budget to use with the client of their choice.
e. Provide a speaker for the event when possible. This will not only drive awareness that you are present but also provide you a chance for that person to personally direct those seeing their presentation to your booth location.
f. Be conspicuous. Make sure you have planned good singage. People need to know where you are and where possible be visible from 6 rows over.
g. Make the booth a destination. Depending on what your options are, offer water, seats, a charging station or high top tables that attendees can use to get work done if they need to.
h. Create an experience in your booth. Don’t have your booth be a “show up and throw up” type of experience where attendees just stand there while you spout off about what your offer. Have a game, a contest or some other fun way to allow people to interact with your booth staff. A dart game, a putting green, bag toss, something that will get people to stop to complete a task which allows your people to interact about them, their needs and pain points.
All in all, prior planning will certainly not only save you some budget but will also increase your chances of better traffic and interactions with your targets. In the next part of this series, I will talk about some ways that you can elevate the experience in your booth, increase traffic and come away with more solid prospects.