10 Ways to Boost Booth Traffic
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 – include one part in your advance invitation, for example. Then, tell people to stop by your booth to complete the promotion.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 accountants, 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.
5. 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 and message would make a great higher-end gift (reserved for the qualified prospects). 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. But don't just choose something because it's trendy; make sure it's relevant to your message.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
Coming Soon - the Biggest Cause Marketing Month
Is there a marketing manager anywhere who hasn't heard that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? There are countless charitable causes that claim a month, a week or a day to try to capture the public's attention. Raising awareness even a little can make a big difference to people in need. Judging by our holiday trivia section at the end of each month's newsletter, you can see that some of these border on the frivolous. Well, OK, some cross the border. But in terms of serious causes, Breast Cancer Awareness Month trumps them all, even cardiovascular disease, which kills ten times as many women as breast cancer. Thank the ubiquitous pink ribbon, a universally recognized symbol, which has led to many spin-offs.
Cause marketing can be an effective marketing strategy, but it can also backfire if not done well. Consumers are resentful if they perceive that a company is just taking advantage of public sympathy, while the main goal of increasing sales seems paramount. Make sure that whatever cause you decide to embrace for a marketing partnership, that you make clear the contribution you are making from each sale. A sizable public contribution, tied to an event, brings very favorable publicity. If a percentage of sales or profits are to be donated, state how much that is. Consumers want to know that they are making a difference by doing business with your company. Any reduced profits in the short term will be offset by growth in the long term. You can do well by doing good. For 5 tips to successful cause marketing, review our article from last year on the subject.
A couple of years ago we profiled a very successful campaign by Mott's. But local charities can be just as effective as national ones, perhaps even more effective. So join those supporting a cause that fits your company. Next month will be full of opportunities (just look at all the pink choices), but so will the whole year. We'd love to help you to executive a successful campaign.