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What Drives Trade Show Attendees to Booths?

By Staff Report March 7, 2014 Trade Show Tips

What Drives Trade Show Attendees to Booths?

At large trade show conferences, it may not be easy for exhibitors to convince attendees that visiting their booth will be a worthy investment of time. Attendees with busy schedules may only be able to visit a limited number of booths, so it is crucial that exhibitors know what catches attendees' attention and, more importantly, how to generate interest in their products or services.

Many of today's exhibitors are spending absurd amounts of cash to make their booth displays more noticeable to attendees. Unfortunately, many of their investments prove to be nearly worthless. Just because attendees notice a booth, it does not guarantee that they will want to spend time there. Yes, attention-grabbing displays can be helpful, but it is more important for exhibitors to emphasize the value that their products can offer attendees.

Leverage a pre-show marketing campaign
It can be difficult for exhibitors to drive trade show traffic if themajority of attendees are not familiar with their brand. This is why pre-show marketing is often crucial to the success of lesser known exhibitors. Before the event begins, exhibitors should publicize the event through a widespread campaign. Newsletters, email campaigns and social media can be valuable assets in pre-show communication. Direct marketing techniques, such as mailing letters to target attendees, are especially effective in generating interest.

The announcement of a trade show appearance becomes more exciting when exhibitors share additional information about what to expect at their booths. For example, exhibitors could promote a special contest or product demonstration that attendees should look forward to at the conference. Stuart Chapman, head of a telemarketing firm, told CMSWire that one of the standout offerings at a recent trade show he attended was the chance to win a weekend getaway in the exhibitor's Volkswagen Camper. The exhibitor was an events company, so this was a good trade show booth idea in that it was relevant to the exhibitor's industry.

Staff trade show booths with enthusiastic people
In addition to pre-show marketing, exhibitors need to be able to continue building hype about their booth at the live event. Enthusiasm is key here. Staff members need to have a friendly demeanor to attract attendees and a passionate tone of voice to keep them interested.

Luan Wise, an independent marketing consultant, stressed to CMSWire that standoffish staff members can dampen attendees' interest in a booth.

"There's nothing worse than looking at a stand and having no idea what they do and just being stared at by a sales rep who doesn't even want to be there," she said. "You've got seconds to grab attention, so an events marketer has to work hard."

Educate and entertain attendees
Small Businesses Do It Better identified two primary goals for staff members: educate and entertain. This means that they need to teach attendees about what makes their brand unique. Exhibitors should keep in mind that lead generation success often requires two-way communication. When staff members ask attendees questions, they may be able to personalize their selling strategies on based on attendees' answers.

Entertaining attendees involves engaging them in exciting activities. It may be beneficial to allow attendees to use products, especially if they are tech-related. Nintendo understands the value of interactive experiences. According to CMSWire's Dom Nicastro, the gaming firm drove the most traffic at a 2008 convention in Dallas. Its success was largely due to the decision to let attendees play Wii bowling at its booth. Though most exhibitors do not have Nintendo's level of fame, they can still learn by example and incorporate interactive experiences into their event solutions

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