As anyone who has attended a trade show can attest, there is a great deal of competition for the attention of those walking the show floor. Depending on the traffic at the show, and especially if attendance is on the lighter side, those potential customers walking the floor can be very sought after. The customer can at times feel like a sheep among wolves as a sales person attempts to reach out into the aisle and hook them into each trade show booth they pass. After all, the purpose of exhibiting and the justification of the cost associated with trade show exhibiting are to reach new customers and deepen the business relationship with existing customers. There is no question that trade show exhibiting is a very successful means of accomplishing both of those goals and that there is a great return on investment for companies that do participate in trade show marketing. However, the exhibitors have to work to get the attention of those potential customers walking the aisles and make sure that their competitors at the show do not outshine them in any way and make a more lasting impression in that customer’s mind.
There are a number of time tested strategies that exhibitors employ to stop traffic in their booths. Some, as always, are much more successful than others. The idea of success can be misleading with a number of these strategies. In the most basic sense, success can be measured by the overall traffic in a booth. In that case the goal might be to scan a predetermined number of badges for follow up mailings and follow up calls. The issue becomes the quality of those contacts scanned.
Are these legitimate prospective customers that have stopped at the trade show booth because they were sincerely interested in the product or service that the exhibitor offers, or did they stop for another reason? Several of the often-used strategies for stopping traffic at a booth, while working well from the standpoint of providing leads and just the sheer number of scans, can also result in low quality leads. This can occur when the trade show attendees are stopping not out of interest for your product or service but rather for the giveaway you’re offering, the business card raffle for a tablet, the convention model you’ve hired to wear your logoed apparel and work your booth, the magician performing tricks in your booth, etc. Now all of those methods are certainly effective in stopping traffic and my intent is not to disparage those strategies. However, the best traffic stoppers are those that relate to your product or service in some way so that you can raise the odds that the people that stop in your booth are sincerely interested in your company. When possible, tie the promotion, giveaway, or presentation to your product or service. Games and giveaways are effective means of getting attendees to stop by your booth but the key is to tie your “hook” to your product or service. Doing so will provide much higher value leads that just free giveaways or visual attractions that have no relation to your product or service and your business will be much more memorable to that prospect as they come away from the show and reflect upon what they came across at the trade show.