How to Engage Attendees and Capture Leads at Your Trade Show Booth

August 20, 2019

It’s been said that women dress for each other – as a way to impress, be noticed or accepted. The same can be said of businesses. The men and women walking the floor at trade show events might as well be wearing T-shirts that read, “Impress Me.” Trade show marketing continues to be a viable means of reaching people in a specific vertical market or industry who have gathered together to learn about new advances and services available in their industry.

Every booth wants attention to be directed its way. Each business has goals that day which depend heavily on the traffic that may, or may not, be headed to their booth. Businesses are gunning for other business decision makers to stop and take notice of their wares. Depending on the magnitude of the show, the competition can be fierce.

It doesn’t matter how amazing the engagement is if no shoes are stopping to check it out. Key players need a reason to choose your booth. Sure, they could just happen upon it, but B2B trade show attendees have no time waste. They are looking to be amazed. They are looking for ideas to help improve their companies. And you're there for lead generation.

How do you direct that foot traffic your way? Not by accident. It must be purposeful. First things first. Do your homework in advance. Take the time to know what type of people will be attending this experiential tradeshow event. You are squandering valuable time if you design your booth to attract an undesirable audience. People should be seeking out your tradeshow booth, not tripping into it.

In assembling your trade show booth ideas, consider what will draw people to your booth. Obviously, you know some of their interests. Design an engagement that not only makes people curious, it makes them feel something – triggers their emotions. If you are able to design a tradeshow booth that causes an internal spark, then you have more than a curious passerby.

Now keep them there. Make your graphics innovative, but not overwhelming. If the design is too busy, the eye cannot take it all in – let alone the brain. (Rather than piquing their interest, you’ve made them dizzy.) Give them something, or give them something to do. Remember, if you did this right, they're at your trade show booth on purpose. Consider implementing gamification. The possibilities when using gamification are nearing infinity. How about a souvenir photo with corporate branding? No one ever throws away a photo of themselves. See an example of this technique in this trade show marketing case study video. Whatever you choose, get them to laugh or be excited. Make a connection.

Also consider the personalities of those manning your tradeshow booth in relation to those with whom you hope to connect, as well. This takes relational know-how can easily be overlooked. There may be people who are experts on your product, yet melding with a bunch of strangers is beyond awkward for them. Conversely, you may have co-workers who could make an elephant comfortable in an ivory factory but techno-speak is a challenge. Take a long, hard look at the reality of your product and choose people who can not only speak about your brand or commodity, they can speak with your consumers. You can't capture a lead if you can't keep their attention. Talk to them, not over them.

The bottom line: you must first connect before capturing any useful data or generating any true leads; devise your trade show booth so relationships can be developed first.

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