From free giveaways to product demos, trade show exhibitors use a variety of strategies to draw in attendees and generate foot traffic.
Just like any other form of marketing, generating foot traffic for your trade show booth depends on a mix of great ideas combined with effective execution. In short, you not only need to have a good plan but you also need to be able to put it into practice.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to generate buzz and increase foot traffic in a custom trade show displays or exhibition environment. From pre-show outreach to developing an oasis of comfort in the chaos of a trade show, we’ve listed four of our favorite tactics for increasing foot traffic below.
Create a comfortable, relaxing place for attendees to unwind
From blisters and sore toes to back pain and general tiredness, the busy, active atmosphere of a trade show can result in plenty of discomforts and injuries.
Make your booth stand out as an oasis of tranquility and relaxation in a busy environment with a sofa, set of armchairs or other comfortable furniture for attendees to sit down and relax on after walking around the event hall. A fold-up table and chairs also work well with company fliers on them or other promotional items. To add a touch of your company use a plastic party tablecloth with your brand colors to also stand out.
Sometimes, all it takes to generate a lucrative new sales lead is a quick “hello” to an attendee catching a break in your booth. Create a comfortable, living room-like atmosphere and you can generate a consistent flow of foot traffic, all without any active promotional efforts.
Reach out to your top prospects and customers before the show
One of the most effective ways to generate traffic to your trade show booth from the moment the event opens is to reach out to your customers, prospects and sales lead ahead of time.
Your existing customers are your most valuable source of new business, making it worthwhile to set up appointments before the event. The same is true of existing prospects, most of whom will be happy to meet with you and discuss potential deals during a trade show.
In the weeks before your event, start reaching out to your existing customers and prospects on the phone, via email or social media. Setting up appointments not only lets you close new deals but it also gives your booth existing activity, encouraging other attendees to step inside and talk to your team.
Give away fun, unique and interesting products to attendees
Free giveaways are a staple of trade shows, but most businesses go about them in totally the wrong way. Instead of giving away unique or useful items, they give away the same low-cost promo products — stickers, drink koozies, and other similar items.
Instead of giving away a generic trade show item, focus on standing out with a unique giveaway that will attract genuine interest from attendees.
Tasty branded snacks, unique and funny clothing, paperweight-sized versions of your products and other interesting items stand out and attract attention, acting as both a magnet for visitors to your booth and a lasting reminder of your company for prospects.
Offer a useful, convenient service that draws in visitors
Finally, one of the best ways to generate foot traffic is to offer a convenient service that trade show attendees are looking for.
Trade shows are busy environments, not only for attendees but also for mobile devices. With hundreds of Wi-Fi networks competing for your phone’s battery power, it’s easy for attendees’ phones to start running on empty halfway through the show.
As an exhibitor, you can generate a steady flow of foot traffic by creating a smartphone charging station in your booth. The same tactic applies to any need — water for thirsty attendees, snacks for hungry ones, and so forth.
The key to this tactic is providing value. If you can offer something that solves a need and goes beyond what’s available in other booths, you’ll notice attendees popping into your booth over the course of the event, giving you a continual flow of people to turn into prospects and customers.