How to Create a Dynamic Trade Show Experience

October 18, 2014

Timothy Carter

Timothy Carter is the Director of Business Development for the Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency AudienceBloom. When Timothy isn't telling the world about the great work his company does, he's planning his next trip to Hawaii while drinking some Kona coffee.

If you're going to spend the money to get space for your company at a trade show - not to mention paying for people to man the booth or losing valuable employees who could be doing their regular jobs (maybe even including you!) - you'd better make sure that it's worth it.

Trade shows can be fantastic ways to drum up excitement for your business or even launch new products because you've got a captive audience and one that should be receptive to the kinds of things you'll be selling. But the flip side of that coin is that you're also directly competing with everyone else around you for time and attention. How do you get people to pass up the other booths and migrate to yours?

You have to create a dynamic and engaging experience for your audience that will not only draw them over, but get them to remember you. Here are several tips that can help you to do that.

Get hands on. Lots of companies show up at trade shows ready to talk about and even sell their products and services, but after you go through a few rows of this, who cares about talking heads? Instead, bring products with you and let your audience try them for themselves. People are much more likely to get excited about something and remember it when they can mess around with it themselves. Just make sure that whatever you're letting them try is 100 percent ready to go so that you make a good impression.

Put on a show. Not quite ready for visitors to physically try out the wares? Then you should try to come up with a demonstration that you and your staff can do. Don't be afraid to be a bit silly and over the top. The point is to get people to pay attention, so putting out a bit of a "street performer" vibe isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just remember that you're still representing your company - so stay away from anything offensive or potentially dangerous.

Use contests and giveaways. Giveaways are great because they are simple and easy for trade show attendees, but they are much more likely to remember you when using their new pens emblazoned with your name. If you really want to be dynamic, though, contests are the way to go. This way, people will be encouraged to visit your booth repeatedly, which, will give you more time to talk to them and increase the chances that you'll stay in their mind the next time they need a service like yours. You can even use the contest as a way to advertise by asking contestants to do things like pass out shirts with your company's name on them and take their picture with those people. The sky's the limit!

Make a video. Sometimes, trade show attendees find talking with actual people intimidating, but they'll happily stop to watch a well-made video that's playing. Use a professional to make sure it looks good and says exactly what you want it to say, then put the video on a loop and just stand back and watch. This way, people can decide whether or not to approach you on their own terms.

Don't just follow these tips - brainstorm and come up with a few ideas of your own. There are lots of ways to make a trade show booth both fun and memorable.

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