How to design a booth that attracts, engages and sells
Trade shows are a great opportunity for businesses to interact with their customers, promote new products, network with colleagues, get the latest updates on industry trends & stay on top of their competition. But how can you really stand out from hundreds of companies vying for attention at these shows, and be remembered by attendees long after the show ends?
Studies conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research have found that visitors peruse a display about 3 to 5 seconds before making the decision to walk on or stop to talk. For buyers, walking up and down aisles bathed in fluorescent lighting, bleary-eyed ennui can easily set in. So, here are some tips on how to catch effectively your potential clients’ attention:
Put your booth in an area that has a lot of foot traffic. Most people are right handed they will go to the right side of venue first. Best place to put your booth. Have an open booth, which means NO table across the front unless your 20 foot wide! Show booths need to be open and inviting so, get rid of the barriers, such as tables across the front! Make an exception only if you a fantastic interactive display they have to stop and see, otherwise leave it OPEN! Get rid of the chairs, stand up, and greet people with a smile and a brochure or your branded giveaway items.
Bright Idea: install a coffee machine to lure passersby with the scent of fresh coffee. Use the time they spend waiting for the coffee as extra time to discuss your products, services and establish a repertoire with the potential customers.
- Promote With Creativity
Conduct a brainstorm and do something different than the average trade show booth. Whether that means constructing unique signage, showcasing something truly unique in your booth, or featuring an activity that draws people to your neck of the woods, do it! Give attendees something they won’t be able to resist as they walk by.
Bright Idea: create a scavenger hunt with several other vendors you know will be at the show. Make a map or “passport” for booth visitors to get stamped at each booth on the treasure map – each person that submits a completed map (w/ contact info & short survey) gets into a drawing for a price. Pick partners with target audiences that are complimentary to yours, but not direct competitors.
Make your display stand out, and communicate clearly who you are and what your business does. Invest in great trade show graphics hiring a knowledgeable graphic designer to make your message go beyond words. Full-sized, colorful, and eye-catching high resolution graphics are essential.
Bright Idea: create a unique landing page on your website that promotes your trade show presence. Use this opportunity to also provide them an opportunity to download an ebook that relates to the theme of the trade show.
- Logos and Branding
The business name and logo should be placed at eye-level and repeated in different locations throughout the display. A tagline or slogan should be placed near the logo that succinctly communicates to the visitor what the business does and how the business can help them.
Bright Idea: include the link to your website allowing a passerby to revisit your business information at their own leisure.
Light attracts attention, and can significantly increase the booth display’s appeal. With proper lighting, visitors can focus on the message that the business owner is trying to convey. It also adds depth to the exhibit space by illuminating the back walls, side walls, and shadowed areas.
Bright Idea: keep in mind that lighting can affect a person’s mood! For example, in the more decorative trade show booth using tension fabric, the fully programmable, changing color LED lighting creates a dynamic, dramatic effect that is certain to draw the attention of trade show attendees. For a clean appearance in the trade show booth, very white fluorescent lighting works well. If, however, dramatic shadows are desired, certain types of targeted track lighting may be preferred. Read more here.
- Technology and Interactivity
Participating in a trade show does not mean that you are limited to traditional trade show practices. Videos and interactive displays can tell your story or demonstrate testimonials, but your use of technology should mainly be a prompt for conversation. Social media venues are increasingly being used at trade shows, making many booths relevant to the average consumer’s life. Make sure to tweet pictures, share on Facebook, or make a video for YouTube. Offering incentive prizes (discounts, take home prizes or the like) for Facebook check-ins, tweets and other mentions on social media gets the name out there.
Bright Idea: use QR (quick response) codes. They are tremendously effective tools to allow both a visual and immediate connection to a company. If you aren’t familiar with QR codes, they are codes directly on the booths that, if an attendee or exhibitor snaps a photo of with their smart phone, they are taken directly to the company’s website, a video, or any other information they want to relay to their audience.
- Promotional Collateral
Research indicates that people are 52% more likely to stop at booths that are giving out enticing promotional items. Giveaways can increase traffic to the booth, act as a business reminder, and provide contact information. Professionals state that the best promotional items are the ones that complement your business.
Bright Idea: personalize with your brand items like: pens, mugs, tote bags, and USB drives that can be used by people in their daily lives (at home or work).
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