It’s a $14 billion dollar industry and most companies walk away from with less than $1000 in earnings. It’s your trade show and here’s why no one is talking about it…
- Inspiration. Regardless of the industry, people want to be inspired. Your trade show booth should do just that. To head in this direction, try starting with rethinking the purpose of your booth. Your booth isn’t about information. It’s about more than letting people know you exist. Your booth also shouldn’t be there to “win business,” which is nothing more than a desperate sales strategy.
Your booth should inspire. No matter what the industry is, think of your clients beyond the confines of a transaction.
- Reverse Attraction. There’s that saying, “build it and they will come,” which hits the nail on the head when it comes to trade shows. Here’s the idea: instead of vying attendees to your booth, create something self-serving for them and draw them in naturally. Consider having two booths. One as planned and the other has a “guest lounge” console that offers attendees a break from the show, a chance to put up their feet, grab some food and play some games on the Wii. The idea of a game is to offer a reward for the player with the highest prize at the end of the day. Of course, your rest stop is completely branded. You don’t even need to man the booth. Use consumer directed data streams as offered by Leap Motion, that allows prospective leads to get information when and how they want it.
- Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. Think of your trade show as theater performance. You have to have your act down before you go “live.” A key part of having your act down is to have all the necessary equipment you need. Make sure that all equipment works before you arrive at the trade show. Otherwise you will waste valuable time. Equipment disasters and mistakes are costly in many different ways. First, having equipment failures or missing equipment adds a serious layer of chaos to your event. Secondly, you can come off looking unprofessional and ill-prepared. No one wants to do business with a company that looks unprofessional.
- Customer Service at Heart. Trade shows are a great time to show how you provide value to your customers. To increase your trade show ROI, it’s critical to provide high quality products and great customer service. For example, promise to deliver goods faster than your competitors. You can also consider throwing in additional goods that provide additional value. Take time to think about what your company can provide that will keep your clients satisfied and coming back time and time again. If you can giveaway something service oriented, then definitely include that feature as a chance to make a personal connection with potential clients and showcase value.
- Factoring in the Virtual Attendee. Paul Cook from VisioFair hits the nail on the head when talking about hybrid events that fuse virtual attendance with a physical one. He notes that “an online participant has the same physical needs as an onsite participant. I have experienced many hybrid events as an online participant only to find that there wasn’t a gap in the program for me to do anything other than stay glued to my computer. My key tip here is not to have speaker presentation, speaker interview, speaker presentation, speaker interview in a continuous loop but to have a balance which allows breaks for your online participants. Let them grab a coffee, check their messages, and generally provide them with the freedom to do what your online participants are able to do in their break periods.” Of course, the same advice and consideration goes for in-person attendees, who will burn out or lose interest if they expected to engage outside their natural behavior patterns.