While there are many components that go into creating a standout exhibit at a trade show, planning and executing a solid trade show booth entertainment strategy is a vital part of your success. Making your booth entertaining while also marketable can be one of the most important parts of developing your setup.
Planning a marketable trade show booth involves creating a display that not only showcases your brand and product, but fits in with your marketing efforts and encourages visitors to remember your booth after they leave. To get started, our experts recommend following these 3 tips:
- Develop a marketing strategy
- Provide trade show booth entertainment
- Have a “swag bag”
Synergizing these various elements of your trade show strategy can allow for not only a successful event, but also stronger connections with potential customers after the expo ends.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
As the old saying goes, it pays to be prepared! You should know in advance exactly what you want to gain from the event and how to gain visibility with trade show exhibit rentals that stand out from the crowd. A carefully crafted marketing strategy is key to ensuring both you and event participants get the biggest benefit from your booth, especially once you turn your attention to your trade show booth entertainment and swag.
Knowing what you want to achieve from your booth and setting measurable goals is one of the first steps to creating a successful marketing strategy. When a company has specific goals in place, it makes the process of creating and executing the rest of the strategy much easier. It is also important to make sure all team members understand this strategy and how it relates to the goals for the booth. This ensures everyone is working in sync.
Use Your “Human” Resources
Tapping the expertise of staff members for trade shows, as opposed to outsourcing those tasks, is a wise long-term event strategy. It involves the “everyday” company in the nuts and bolts of growth initiatives and allows for potentially hidden talents to emerge. Incentivized staff involvement not only boosts event value and lowers production costs, but it can also positively impact corporate culture and deepen team commitment.
Leveraging company creatives to develop promotional swag and other trade show booth entertainment, for example, helps maintain a consistent brand voice. Staffing the booth with in-house representatives that focus on event networking connects prospects directly with company contacts. That connection can facilitate the critical follow-up process that can turn leads into business.
By only outsourcing the types of tasks you cannot sufficiently complete in-house, you can make the most of both your budget and your staff. For example, while your team may be able to handle collateral, giveaway items, and working the trade show floor, you should turn to a full-service trade show provider to make sure your shipping and logistics, booth installation and breakdown, storage and inventory, and overall event planning and execution go as smoothly as possible to bring in the best results.
Be Visibly Smart
Visibility at trade shows is key to building stronger customer relationships and promoting brand presence among industry peers. Smart trade show exhibit rentals can exponentially boost any event marketing strategy.
Companies can test out display sizes and formats before the show to determine what best matches their budget, audience, and goals. Moreover, renting eliminates additional costs for setup, breakdown, storage, and repair. Event teams can then redirect resources to upgrade graphics, invest in more swag or other forms of trade show booth entertainment, or enlarge the booth footprint as objectives change over time.
Another smart choice that booth planners can make is using building materials that can be recycled or supplies that can be made eco-friendly, like changing the type of lighting to use less energy.
Provide Trade Show Booth Entertainment
If your booth lacks personality or your representatives aren’t engaging, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to find new customers and partnerships. Trade show booth entertainment that not only incorporates what your brand can offer, but also delights or amuses attendees is extremely important. Here are some tips for keeping things fun and attracting attention at conventions.
Demonstrate Your Product
Demonstrations are an excellent way to attract people to a booth by providing them with a deeper understanding of the products. This type of booth display is particularly helpful if a company’s services are hard to explain. Sometimes the best way to teach people is simply by showing them firsthand.
Whether you are giving a hands-on tutorial on how to use your product, demonstrating its uses for a crowd, or showing visitors a video of what your product can do for them, this will ultimately help them visualize how your business can benefit them. The key is to practice any demos or tutorials extensively so that they go smoothly. The last thing a company wants is to lose credibility with their audience.
Make Your Booth Interactive with Games
No matter how impressive a company’s offerings are, they can still get lost in the shuffle among all of the trade show booth entertainment and information demanding visitors’ attention. To make a lasting impression, booths should be interactive and memorable. That’s where games come in.
If a company’s booth offers some form of competition, prizes, or even just talking points, attendees will spread the word. Even if they’re not playing, people will often stop and watch what’s happening, which can be just as valuable.
Hire a Host
Your employees may be experts in your industry, but a professional host knows how to control a room and draw people’s attention. Hiring an experienced entertainer can be a great choice for interacting with trade show attendees.
The host can be briefed with an overview of your company so they can tailor their performance, match your style, and help work toward your goals for the event. Once the host reels in a serious prospect, a more knowledgeable employee of yours can take over the conversation.
Have a Swag Bag
When creating a plan for your trade show booth entertainment, don’t forget a swag bag! Giving away promotional items at your booth can help you stand out from the competition and make a lasting impact with your marketing. These can include a variety of items, from small, inexpensive products to promotional coupons to a few pricier gifts for select visitors.
The key is to use the right swag to ensure that attendees remember your company long after leaving the exhibit hall. Below are some tips for assembling your booth’s swag bag.
Communicate a Message
Whether it’s your company’s logo, slogan, or even brand colors, it is important to remember to put an identifiable feature on the merchandise you distribute. Every part of your swag’s design should communicate your brand’s message.
It can also be helpful to give out items that relate to the specific type of trade show where you’re exhibiting, such as a mousepad at a tech-oriented trade show. Items that are practical will get the most use from attendees, giving you the best results.
Give away items that are useful to visitors, but don’t break your budget. Choose items that can be bought in large quantities to be given to all visitors as a cornerstone of your trade show booth entertainment. Expensive swag may attract attention, but it won’t necessarily generate viable leads.
Companies giving away headphones, for example, will see traffic at their booth. But if someone is only there for a free pair of headphones and not for your products, it’s not worth giving them this high-value swag. Instead, only give out a few of these pricier items to serious leads, like those who watch a video presentation or talk to your staff.
Additionally, look for ways to cut costs on shipping items and transporting staff to an out-of-town exhibit hall. Prioritize using local suppliers for giveaways and organize staff so they can easily carpool from the hotel to the convention center rather than taking separate cabs.
Any convention attendee can attest that by the end of the day, they have bags and bags of information and swag. How can a company stand out amidst it all? Consider practical, reusable giveaways, such as:
- Reusable tote bags, which can be used by attendees on the spot, keeping your company’s logo in front of everyone’s eyes at the show.
- Lightweight smartphone wallets to hold phones, credit cards, and driver’s licenses, which are convenient for travelers who need to minimize what they’re carrying.
- Coffee mugs or lip balm, which are both practical and inexpensive items that will get regular use.
Think about what will be valuable to your audience while still standing out. If you’re exhibiting in Seattle or exhibiting in Portland, which are at the forefront of the coffee industry, it may be especially relevant to give away coffee mugs. But if too many other exhibitors have the same idea, your mugs may struggle to stand out.
If you’re willing to invest a little more into swag (especially for serious leads), you might look into getting customized USB phone chargers, which attendees will use both on the spot and back home. Items that visitors will use again and again will keep your company in their mind long after the trade show has ended.
Alternatively, you can offer digital coupons or other relevant digital promotional giveaways. Providing free digital downloads or eBooks allows you to collect the email addresses of attendees and personally follow up with them when sending the digital item after the show.
Need Help Planning Your Next Exhibit or Trade Show Booth Entertainment?
Whether you need help planning your trade show booth entertainment, design, logistics, or any other step of the process, Cardinal Expo is here to help you create your best booth yet. We work with companies across the United States to create custom trade show booths that align with their goals and budgets.
With over 28 years of experience, we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive, full-service trade show and exhibit management to make your experience a success, from start to finish. Contact us today to start designing your dream display.
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