12 Ways to Boost Booth Traffic Why do so many trade show booths fail to attract prospects? According to Trade Show and Event Marketing author Ruth P. Stevens, the reason is that marketers often assume show organizers are going to do all the work of attracting the right attendees.
No, just showing up and propping up a booth certainly isn’t going to entice quality visitors. You have to be an active participant in getting people to your booth. Here are 12 surefire ways to fill your trade show booth with bona-fide prospects.
1. Get your own prospects
If you want lots of qualified attendees, it’s essential to create your own audience. You can do this by utilizing house files, prospect lists, direct mail and electronic media channels to produce personalized invitations and schedule booth appointments in advance of the show. You can also boost attendance by providing an incentive – send an invitation in advance that contains one flip-flop, for example. Then, tell people to stop by your booth to complete the pair.
2. Know where to exhibit
Presumably, you’re exhibiting because your company has identified a target audience. Knowing that, you’ll want to avoid setting up your booth at the wrong show. This is where show organizers can help, demonstrating who will be at their show. The number one question to ask is, “Are my customers and prospects going to be there?” It’s risky to depend on past performances, as trade shows and their audiences can change over time.
3. Make your booth advertise itself
The single most important element of your booth is signage. Signs need to be visible from at least 30 feet away, and they should be made up of words that are benefit-oriented. This means that the signage should answer the question, “Why should I stop and talk with you?” Also note that the words used should be similar in scope and meaning to the teaser copy in your direct mail or electronic invitations.
4. Use a winning layout
To entice prospects, your booth layout should be open and inviting. You can accomplish this by making sure your booth design isn’t overly intricate and allows for a free flow of attendee traffic. Examples include avoiding out-front obstructions such as large desks, tables or other impediments that deter flow and communication. As a rule of thumb, an exhibit space should resemble a well-organized welcome center.
5. Attract quality traffic
Increasing traffic is fine, but if you want bona-fide prospects, you need to fend off people you don’t want in your booth. One method is to craft clear signage so that people who aren’t interested in your product won’t stop by. For example, if you’re marketing software for accounts, your signage should say so. Also, have a couple of qualifying questions ready for when you immediately greet people in your booth. This will help to focus your attention on the best prospects.
6. Give the right promotional gift
The newest promotional items tend to produce the most booth traffic, and electronics are often held in high regard. A promotional USB drive with your company’s logo would make a great higher-end giveaway – it can even be preloaded with information about your company and lead users to your website. USB sticks can come attached to pens, keychains and other everyday items to increase their appeal.
7. Select and train booth personnel
Selection and training of booth personnel is essential to improving traffic. Booth staffers should be matched to your audience and be trained in how to engage and disengage with prospects. It’s also important that they know what not to do: chat on cell phones, sit, eat, chew gum, talk excessively with coworkers, etc. Matching booth outfits can also help, as long as they use colors and messages that emphasize your company’s branding.
8. Get friendly with organizers
Trade show staff can improve your experience in numerous ways. Don’t hesitate to use their expertise for detailed information about attendance and traffic patterns or coordinate special events or offsite get-togethers with them. Good organizer relationships will also help identify other synchronization opportunities to capitalize on the whole show experience.
9. Use technology to capture information
Booth technology should be a function of your marketing strategy. Some of the best uses of technology involve methods of capturing prospect data, including badge and card scanners, electronic entry ports for contests and prizes and laptop-driven laser engraving machines that capture information while providing engraved gifts for prospects.
10. Do something different
Booth traffic can be increased by turning attendees into marketing tools for your booth. For example, offer visitors a free T-shirt if they come by your booth and listen to a sales pitch. Then, tell the attendees to wear the T-shirt – of course, emblazoned with your branding and marketing messages – and then offer prizes for attendees who are spotted wearing the shirts.
11. Consider sponsorship opportunities
There are lots of creative ways to promote your brand and product outside of your booth. Examples include sponsoring breakfast or lunch meetings for booth attendees, hosting coffee breaks and sponsoring tours or trips to local attractions for top prospects.
12. Put Your Message Everywhere
We’ve already discussed the importance of pre-show marketing, appropriate signage, layout, technology and incentives; this is the intersection where they all meet. It’s critical to decide on a compelling message for your company and to integrate it into every aspect of your booth – including marketing, signs, design, banners, graphics, promotional items, brochures and gifts.
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T-Shirts Promote Movie
Producers of The Mechanic, an action thriller starring Jason Statham as a hit man, needed a unique promo to stand out amid the din of movie madness bombarding the media and consumers today. They were thinking T-shirts, and the distributor they worked with had a variation of that theme in mind.
Running with the “weapons” theme, the distributor located a series of unique compressed T-shirts. Rather than giving traditional T-shirts to members of the press covering the movie, as well as to other potential moviegoers, the distributor suggested that the movie’s marketers should have the shirts shrink-wrapped and compressed into the shape of guns, playing into the movie’s theme to make a bigger impact on T-shirt recipients.
To boost the film’s visibility, a quick response (QR) code was added to the compressed tees, which, when scanned by a user’s smartphone, takes the user directly to the movie’s website and trailer. The technology, in conjunction with promotional items, and particularly apparel products, is a popular trend. QR codes are an ideal marketing tool to combine with product promotions.
This promo has certainly helped to garner a wealth of media attention for the film’s release. Do you have a need for a T-shirt compressed into a special shape to tie in to a unique campaign? Your distributor partner can help you locate the perfect product.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here's the hottest new way to THINK PINK! – iPhone & iPad Cases! The new myPhone™ Case for iPhone 4 (AT&T model), and myPad™ Case for iPad 1, both feature a sleek design, made of protective TPU plastic that looks amazing, protects the iPhone or iPad, and shows off your imprint! Only from All-In-One, the Write Choice!® asi/34256
Entertainment Industry Whether it’s for concert and movie promos, award programs, television and radio stations or music stores – there’s a product out there to fill the promotional need of every segment of the entertainment industry.
Rock On! If you run a music store, plan an open house for beginner guitar players and welcome attendees with this unique electronic T-shirt. When the wearer hits the guitar with his fingers or uses the supplied pick, sound plays through the shirt’s built-in speakers. asi/91123
Sweet Sounds Clever and compact, this mini portable speaker connects to any MP3 or MP4 player and features an ion battery. An ideal promo item for the release of an album. asi/55320
Pick A Winner Great for band and music shop promos, this plastic card includes four guitar picks that are die cut and easy to remove. asi/75629
Magnetic Force The fast-paced and highly competitive entertainment industry can be stressful, so these special magnets would make a nice giveaway to execs to help relax the mind and body. asi/79530
Flash Forward Why not have folks plug in this USB drive and see your website or learn about your latest release? This fast-data access rate drive is a portable and efficient way to store data and features grade-A memory. asi/61005
And The Award Goes To … Great for incentive programs, this vivid 3-D infusion award can be produced in any shape. It’s made from layers of Lucite that can be imprinted on the front and back, as well as the middle. asi/75640
National Lifewriting Month
This month is dedicated to writing down and preserving one’s family history, but it also provides the opportunity for businesses to do the same. Use the chance to not only look to the past, but also to the future. Engage your clients in this effort by asking for testimonials. Not only will “fans” boost your company profile, but detractors may offer insight into areas you need to change. The month-long event should use social media to encourage participation and logoed products to reward those who help out. Your distributor partner can help you launch and manage this campaign.
7-11 National Young Readers Week
Encourage kids to read by sending your staff into surrounding schools to read to children. You can create book clubs as well as reading tutorials, all run and operated by your staff. The payoff is huge for all involved – kids hone a much-needed skill, while workers are rewarded through helping young children. Logoed apparel for the staff is a must, as are logoed gifts like backpacks, journals and writing instruments for students.
14 National Girls Day
Let’s hear it for the girls. In support of girls from all walks of life, run a promotion recognizing all they have to offer. Any company can sponsor a sports team or provide mentors to girls looking to go into a specific field of business. Your distributor partner can help you plan an event that includes imprinted products appreciated and wanted by girls.
Beat the end-of-year holiday rush by sending gifts and thanks to your clients now. Your gesture will certainly stand out, as desks and offices will not be cluttered with items from hundreds of different vendors. Your distributor can find you appropriate greeting cards for the Thanksgiving holiday and suggest a variety of logoed gifts to give out. Remember, food gifts work well as they can be shared by many at your clients’ offices.
Solve This Dilemma
Every month, Successful Promotions will launch a new contest where we ask you, our readers and Facebook fans, for your most creative ideas for solving businesses’ dilemmas. Each entry should be 50 words or less, and a promotional product must be part of the solution to the weekly challenge. Send all entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by the specified deadline in order to qualify for a free gift. Winners will be randomly selected from all entries.
This Month’s Contest: Boxed In. A casket manufacturer is set to exhibit for the first time at a national funeral directors convention and trade show. Though not well-known, the company makes a variety of different caskets from economy models made of plywood to top-of-the-line boxes made of mahogany. It wants a gift for those funeral home directors who listen to a sales pitch and are qualified to become dealers of its products. Don’t forget promotional products are important to any award-winning campaign. Send your ideas to email@example.com by September 18.
Scratch‐off cards are an inexpensive, proven
promotion vehicle that will add excitement to
your promotion. Restaurants encourage
repeat visits by handing out with each check,
retailers drive early bird sales with a mystery
discount promotion. Need an idea? asi/42989
Elegant fashionable ballpoint pen with comfort grip. Available in Purple, Red, Blue, Green, Grey and Silver (With Black Grip). Imprinted with your logo. Pricing starting at $0.90 for 100 pieces. asi/45100
Polish Up your Awareness Campaigns –
Unique promotions for Breast Cancer Awareness and Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Asstd. sizes and nail colors available. Visit us at ESPOnline. A portion of the proceeds are donated. asi/49640
Kick off the season with Jelfin's new USB Football Helmet computer mouse. With over 200 million computer users and sports fans nationwide, make this a must have promotional product both on and off the field. asi/63296 sage/69104 ppai/387356
Let IDPaspinline make your deals even sweeter with FREE GROUND SHIPPING AND FREE SETUP, on our top selling items of Custom Lanyards, Lapel Pins, and Embroidered Patches. Fast delivery, electronic artwork, and unlimited revisions!. EXP 8.31.11 ASI 5-Star Supplier.asi/62088
Celebrate TALL SAVINGS from 5-Star Supplier IDPaspinline on Custom Embroidered Patches. Patches (ASPIN-PATCHES 2" less than 100% embroidery) priced as low as $0.59(P) All inclusive pricing, and Free Setup. Save even more if you bring us a quote from a competitor, with our price match plus 5% deal. EXP 8.31.11. asi/62088
Reward your employees with premium quality laser pointers and presenters. Make a lasting impact with your clients and business partners. Great speaker gifts as well. Over 90 unique styles to choose from. Excellent presentation and pointing tools. Quick turnaround times. 5-star supplier. asi/34375
Custom Keepsake Tin Sprite 24 Item TF224X. Custom Gifts Create A Lasting Impression. Let them savor all 12 enchanting flavors of snack-size Fairytale Sprites. This double dozen comes nestled in our silver and purple keepsake tin featuring your full color logo on the lid. asi/53518
The Best 4-Color Wrap Billboard for Your Message!
11oz ceramic mug normally $4.45, now on sale @ $3.10 each! asi/52475
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