A 3-Step Guide To Choosing The Right Spot For Your Trade Show Booth

More often than not, trade shows are driven by one common motive – getting the maximum number of people to visit. And when you have a booth out there, at any of these shows, that’s exactly what you aim at, right? Isn’t it because you know that the more traffic you drive to your booth, the better are your chances of collecting leads and acquiring new customers? You bet. So how do you do it?

– By decorating the booth and making it visually appealing?
– Or with promotional baits?

Either way, you may or may not succeed, unless of course, you have chosen the right spot for your booth, one that stands out and gives you an edge over the others. Location, location, location – that’s the endgame. You either find the right one or you lose. As simple as that.

Here’s how you grab the perfect spot:

1. By determining the amount of space needed:

–  Why are you exhibiting in the first place? What’s your objective?

– Are you there to merely showcase your products or would you rather be interested in engaging the visitors in one-on-one conversations, while ensuring that no two visitors overhear each other?

– And even if you are only displaying your products, how many of them do you plan to take along? Will your entire product line be out there for the visitors to see, as in would you be needing multiple display shelves?

– How many would salespersons/business partners/subject matter experts be accompanying you to the booth?

Find the answers to these questions, and once you are done, choose among the following:

– Island stands: open from all sides; have their share of advantages, including being inviting enough and allowing easier entry and exit; not so good for displaying multiple products, but if you are ready to get some free-standing furniture shipped, they are worth their salt.

– Inland stands: not as inviting as the island ones, but they have three walls, which offer maximum product exposure.

– Corner stands: perhaps the best of the lot; have two sides open and attract the visitors in large numbers.

– Tunnels: or walk-through stands, whatever you want to call them, well, these are positioned in a passage between halls, and should only be chosen if you are able to take advantage of two parallel sidewalls and open sides.

Letting go of the fear of congestion

High-congestion areas may be a big no-no for many exhibitors, but what they don’t realize is that conference and meeting rooms, restrooms, escalators, and elevators, and restaurants and food stands are flocked by all or most of the visitors and a booth in the vicinity is sure to garner attention. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Also, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot closer to any of the sponsored booths – these booths often have relaxation lounges, VR tours and games and other such facilities, and leave the visitors in a happy-go-lucky mood. If your booth is where they head to next, they would be more receptive to your pitch.

Reserving the spot early on:

Good spots go off the table without much ado. Act in time. And while you are it, ask for early-bird discounts. Don’t forget to keep your checklist handy though and avoid any of the spots that:
Are just below the air conditioning vents and can limit the height of your booth

– Have some red flags nearby. Spots in close proximity to fire alarms and extinguishers may fall prey to additional rules and regulations.

– Are next to narrow alleys, which don’t leave much room for visibility.

– Pre-show marketing and eye-catching visuals are all good, but if you are in the wrong spot, no one would come your way. Sad but true!

In-booth Tactics That Could Give Your Exhibition Stand Design An Edge

What purpose does a well-designed exhibition stand serve for you? At best, it grabs the visitors’ attention, right? But so does every other stand out there. And more importantly, does it also keep the visitors engaged for long? Not really. So, is there a way that you could use your exhibition stand design to involve the visitors, rather than watching them walk away as soon as you are done with your elevator pitch? There is; in fact, there are a couple of in-booth tactics, which in conjunction with an effective design, could make your “stand” stand out.

Gamification

Kids love to play, agreed, but so do the adults; cash in on their love for games. Give them a reason to come and visit your exhibition booth – encourage participation through leaderboards, digital challenges and anything and everything that can add on to their experience – in the end, it’s all about experiential marketing. Let them have their moment – the moment of victory, where you announce the winner and give them a suitable reward. And you need not necessarily break the bank to incorporate gamification – there are a lot of budget-friendly options – right from quests and badges to loyalty programs. Just make sure that the results are fair and square and that they are made public, especially if you are using a leaderboard – put them up there for all to see.

Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words. Save your pitch for later; let the photos talk. Or better still, use them as a backdrop, something that could help you kick-off some engrossing discussions with the visitors. That being said, photo stations have been there for quite some time now; chances are that the neighboring booth has one. So how do you make yours more enticing? By leveraging the social media – photos make up for great shareable content and could be easily posted across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels – the more they are shared, the more people get to know about your brand – win-win!.

Technology

Is it feasible for you to transport all your products, even the large ones, to every trade show? Of course, not. So how do you promote these? Use technology to advantage – that should do – try and make Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) an integral part of your exhibition stand design – and worry not, you won’t be replacing the real-time experience – you would be engaging with the potential customers in a rather inventive way – something they’ll look forward to.

Product demos

Don’t be one of those ‘all talk, no action booths’; the visitors hate them. Grab every chance of showing off the key benefits of your products – give demos – let the visitors see for themselves how helpful your products are.

Gone are the days, when you just had to find one of the exhibition stand contractors, and book the biggest space – today, it’s more about identifying your target audience and thinking of some out-of-the-box ways to attract them. Once they are there, these tactics we have discussed could keep them engaged, and make them go through the decision-making process sooner than expected.

4 Ways To Make Your Booth Introvert-friendly

Trade shows are flocked by all kinds of people – all demographics – the young, the old, those who love to talk, those who don’t, anyone and everyone. But does everyone visit every booth? No, they don’t. Oddly enough, the exhibitors conveniently ignore them, unknowingly letting go of a large chunk of their audience. Take the introverts for example; when was the last time you had a booth that didn’t force them to hide behind the mask of an extrovert, or worse, make a detour and not come your way? Trade shows are flocked by all kinds of people – all demographics – the young, the old, those who love to talk, those who don’t, anyone and everyone. But does everyone visit every booth? No, they don’t. Oddly enough, the exhibitors conveniently ignore them, unknowingly letting go of a large chunk of their audience. Take the introverts for example; when was the last time you had a stand that didn’t force them to hide behind the mask of an extrovert, or worse, make a detour and not come your way?

They’ve had enough of your apathy already. It’s time you make amends. Start off by:

Giving them something to talk about

Introverts hate small talk; yes, they do enjoy a good conversation, but just don’t expect them to start one. They won’t. Not unless you provide them with a conversation starter. Think of ice-breaking activities – activities like quiz contests and games that encourage mingling – activities that ease them into the conversation. You could ask them to write on a piece of paper what they would like to talk about; as long as it takes the pressure out of networking, it’s worth it.

Respecting their choice of a smaller group

They dread large groups and have the tendency to become quiet if there are too many people around. Don’t let them go into the oblivion – think of activities where they can work in pairs or trios – the lesser the number of people, the more comfortable they would be. A roundtable discussion is also a good idea, but again, only if there aren’t too many people, not more than 10 to be precise, and if the introverts do get a chance to talk, get a moderator to oversee the discussion, because the introverts won’t interrupt – that’s just how they are.

Letting them engage at their own pace

While some people love to talk during the show, others save it for later – they are the introverts, people who would rather contribute to the conversation once the show is over. And if they were to interact there and then, they would think for a while first and then speak. Give them the time to. Instead of engaging them in real-time conversations, where they may have to walk up to a stranger in a busy conference room and talk, come up with a social media thread, where they can be a part of the conversation of their own accord. The key lies in encouraging them to participate, but setting them free!

Giving them enough time to relax Social dos can be quite a task, especially for your introvert guests – they must pause for a while – they can’t just go on and on. Don’t make them. If they feel the need to recharge, make sure there are places they can go to – they’ll come back with a bang.

Introverts are good at disguise – you may not be able to single out each of them, but you can always tweak your booth or the activities you have planned to suit their best interests, as a whole. They have a lot to offer, just give them a chance to.

Was Your Last Trade Show Not That Successful? The Next One Could Be.

Trade shows are simply great – they let you create brand awareness, give you the perfect opportunity to showcase your products in front of your target audience, and provide you with a highly coveted platform, one that you are always on the lookout for, to meet existing and potential clients – phew! Enticing enough to reserve your space right away and sign on the dotted line, right? Is that what you did the last time – when someone just mentioned a trade show and you jumped on the bandwagon with little or no preparation? How did that turn out? Not good? Well, let bygones be bygones. Pull your socks up for the next one.

Nail down your motive: Why are you participating in the show in the first place? Are you looking for a launch pad for new products or concepts? Or are you rather interested in nurturing relationships? Or probably both? You can only prep up for the show when you have a clear answer. And when you do, reach out to your audience, find out if they are attending, and more importantly, make sure that the show is in sync with their requirements.

Know what you want to say: Blabbering is a big no-no. Once you have determined the goal of attending the show, decide on your strategy and message, or else you’d have a hard time achieving the goal. The message, of course, needs to be relevant to your goal.

a) What products would you be selling at the show?
b) Would you be highlighting some specific services or will you focus on all of them?
c) How is this projecting your brand? In what light?

Focus on space and design: Do you need a relatively large booth or a standard one would suffice? Figure that out. Space does matter, but if affordability is an issue, don’t fret; go for a smaller one, and invest in booth design – the idea is to establish meaningful connections and lay the groundwork for conversion. If your booth is delivering a clear, concise and memorable message, there’s no stopping you – make sure your designer does a good job – the passersby should get to know what your company is all about and want to come on over.

Choose the right location: While some exhibitors don’t like being placed next to show-stopping booths, because of obvious reason(s) – a distraction for potential customers, too much noise, undue comparison etc. – others categorically look for such spaces. They plan on cash in on the footfall that the flashier booths attract. Take your pick – whatever works for you.

Don’t take things for granted: First things first; don’t expect people to line up at your booth if you haven’t let them know that you’d be exhibiting at the show. Work on your pre-marketing tactics – emails, social media and your sales reps can spread the word without any difficulty. Secondly`, make sure that you and your staff are on the same page. If they have no clue what your goal is or what all offers you are floating exclusively for the show, they’ll be caught unaware, causing embarrassment to you and your company. They must also know how to man the booth, and create an inviting atmosphere – conduct a training session if required. Thirdly, generate curiosity through social media. People love to share, no doubt, but you need to give them something first – share pictures, give tips, answer their questions and do anything and everything to forge a connection. Last, but not the least, follow up, like always. If you succeed in building a relationship with the visitors during the show, nurturing it post the show is your responsibility – as simple as that!

And yes, follow a timeline – plan your budget 6-12 months before the show, and come up printed marketing materials at least 3 months in advance – just do things as and when they should be done!

They always tell you what to do at exhibitions. What about what not to?

Exhibitions are all about careful planning and hard work. And of course, there’s money involved. So, there’s a lot at stake. Not to worry though, if things go well, you can achieve a great ROI and then the exhibitions would be worth their salt. But what if they don’t? What if you commit a mistake or even worse, a blunder that costs you dearly? Would you still be successful at the exhibitions you participate in? Sadly no. Here’s what could go wrong:

You exhibit at the wrong show(s)

It’s not uncommon for a business to blindly follow the competitors or step into their shoes – so if they participate in an exhibition, you should too, right? No. Absolutely not. You should have your own reasons of booking a stand – your target audience, the media houses you have been trying hard to get to notice you, anything and everything, but not because somebody else did it. And it’s not just about competition, you just can’t be everywhere – you shouldn’t be. Do some homework, before you dive in with your chequebook.

You don’t solve the puzzle

People who attend exhibitions are interested in finding the possible solutions to their problems and the challenges they face at their own companies (B2B). If your stand is all about who you are and what you do, they won’t give two hoots – as simple as that. Coming up with a generic poster or pop-up stand, one that’s far from painting a clear picture, would be the final nail in the coffin. You need to be empathetic, or at least act like it. Show them you care and that your products and offerings are in complete sync with what they are looking for. Make it all about them; take the back seat.

You are too pushy about sales

Not being patient could be your biggest pitfall. Exhibitions are not about sales; those who succeed are out to there to capture leads, and not necessarily close the deal(s). You must do the same. On-site sales are good, agreed, but if they don’t come your way, don’t fret. Capture as many leads as possible and build a database. Shift your focus to getting a good lead retrieval system instead, but just don’t push. Nurture the leads first, and do the selling later.

Your marketing literature is a joke

The product content that you are proudly handing out to the visitors may pique your interest, but not theirs – they want a lot more – at least those who understand the dynamics do – they are on the lookout for case studies, testimonials and more importantly, the pricing information. With these missing from the table, your marketing material is dead as a doornail. Also, not having enough material is a sure shot way of warding off the visitors. As such you may not be able to talk to all of them and on top of that, if they have to walk away empty-handed, you are on your own.

You want them to make a detour

In-booth huddles may seem like a great source of motivation to you and your staff, but to the visitors, they make your stand look uninviting – they don’t feel like interfering. And if your staff is giving the restaurant or cafeteria a miss and rather eating right there, at the booth, the visitors would get the hint; you want them to come back later. They won’t.

Lack of promotion could also lower your chances of making it big at the exhibitions. Spread the word. And yes, once you have the leads with you, follow up, don’t watch them grow old. Learn from your mistakes, don’t keep on repeating them!