Perhaps a better title for this would be “Get Off Your Bum!” We just finished up our first stab at producing a consumer expo here at Red Cedar Marketing aka Trade Show Institute and boy did we learn a lot! But one thing we already knew and that knowledge was enforced when we stood on the catwalk overlooking the show floor.
Engaging booths/staff attract visitors–boring booths/bored staff do not!
These people below were unhappy with the show…they said no one stopped by their booth. Oddly enough, they do not feel it was their fault in any way. What do you think? I give you exhibit A (no pun intended).
This is the booth in all its glory. This is also pretty much during the middle of the show and it’s completely abandoned. There is nothing about it that catches your eye and makes you want to stop to see what it’s all about. I cannot remember the last time I said to myself, “ooooh, brochures…let’s take a closer look at them.” Ok, so now let’s take a look at the same booth when they are engaging with attendees.
Let me point out this is a fitness club that is exhibiting. Not exactly a picture of energy and enthusiasm. Not to mention it’s rude to sit down in your booth when you have a visitor. This booth says to me, “yeah, we’re a fitness club, pretty much the same as all the others–nothing special about us.”
Now let’s take a look at another vendor who had a similar business with similar services although not a fitness club. This vendor was busy all day with a constant line-up at the booth for a sample treatment. While people were waiting their turn other staffers where answering questions about what they offered their members and services that were available.
First notice this is not a big budget booth but they took the time to make their space engaging and welcoming. It is the exact same size as the previous booth. The sign on the right has a clear call to action for visitors walking past. The sign on the left gives visitors something to think about when thinking about their own bodies.
They are also engaging visitors by doing a few minutes of massage therapy right in the booth. Also notice the booth staffer. She’s got a smile a mile wide and looks genuinely interested in her visitor and is enjoying what she is doing.
The only chair in the booth is to accommodate waiting visitors who are tired of walking around the show or are uncomfortable standing for a long time.
It was clear as you walked around the show and observed the different booths. The booths who had their table stretched across the front of the booth while they sat or stood behind the barrier had very few visitors. Those booths with an open and welcoming environment where staffers were standing and greeting passers by, experienced much heavier traffic.
Here is one more great example. Again, did not spend a fortune but enough to get some eye catching graphics. This is a kids summer camp. Yes they are venturing out into the aisles a bit but we encouraged this at our show. Our theme was fun and casual and as long as they did not interfere with other exhibitors it was all good with us. Our exhibitor here was throwing little soft plastic boomerangs and could have given lessons on how to engage visitors.
This family is having fun in his booth so I bet they are thinking they would have fun at his camp! This is a great lesson in using all senses to convey who you are or what your business is. He could have brought a bunch of pictures of people canoeing or making pinch pots to show what it would be like at his camp. Instead he let people experience for a few moments what it would feel like to be at his camp. Lots of fun.
How are you engaging your visitors? Take an honest look at your trade show program. Does your booth look like the first one? Or does it feel more like the last one? Is your staff as friendly as our middle example?
If you found yourself complaining about the last show you attended and the lack of booth visitors, do you dare take an honest look at what was going on inside your booth and what it may have looked liked to passers by?
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