Lucky me! Although I didn't win big at the slots, I was able to escape the sub-thirty temps last week to be a tag-along at a huge hunting convention down in Las Vegas. Let me tell you, some of those exhibitors sure know how to pull out all the stops. While I was really there for the shopping and warm weather, I quickly found myself intrigued by the different booths and analyzing them from a marketing perspective. While some booths were over the top, some needed a major facelift. Frankly, some things that happen in Vegas should really stay there....
If you want to attract one ordinary, unbiased, open-minded, pretty smart person (me) to your tradeshow booth, here's a list of do's and don'ts to help guide you — or more importantly, guide me to you.
Do have movement– try and steer away from your standard static booth. Have something that will capture someone’s attention whether it is a moving popup display, a tv showing a video or slideshow, or even a tablet/ipad holder that has a constantly looping slideshow.
Don’t scrimp on carpet – it may sound silly, but nothing looks worse than being the only one in a large hall full of competitors that couldn’t take the time to manicure your booth space. Not only that, but your clients will appreciate the plush floor after walking miles in a huge convention – so will your booth workers. To top it off, splurge on a table and some chairs, so you can invite people in to stay and chat, and even maybe sign that contract you’ve been buttering them up to.
Do simplify your message – you don’t need a million messages and pictures splashed all over your tradeshow booth. Remember the old duck hunting rule? When a flock flies over, aim your shotgun at one of them. If you just take a random pot shot into the middle, chances are you'll hit nothing. In the same way, if you try to tell everything to everyone, you'll just end up saying nothing to no one. Choose the core message you want to give your visitors and stick to it — in both narrative and graphics.
Don't go for quantity, go for quality – One or two large, good quality visuals will go a lot further than many little ones. If you think you need more pictures to support your core message, secondary messages or product features, keep them in a picture book or ipad for people to easily flip through. Booths overcrowded with displays, products, stands, etc., have nothing for prospective clients to focus on, and prevent you from quickly communicating why attendees should visit you. Remember to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stup…er… silly).
Do make your booth unique – you want it to stand out, especially if you are in a large room full of other exhibitors trying to sell the same thing. Have something that will get people to stop and stare, and then be sure to swoop in with your smiling face to answer any questions they might have.
Do have some swag – not only is it important to have a brochure or pricelist people can take away, but it’s important to have some kind of promotional item that you can give away. Pens, magnets or a branded bag are simple and inexpensive, and go a long way to helping people bring you front of mind down the road. Especially if they're just there for the shopping and warm weather…