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Tips & Tricks for Designing a Successful Trade Show Booth – Part Two


Part Two:  Engaging Attendees at a Trade Show

This blog is the second part of the series, “Trade Show Tips and Tricks,” and will focus on the best practices to engage trade show attendees. Trade shows are more than buying booth space and setting up a table cloth and pop up banner. They are intricate opportunities to effectively raise brand awareness, forge business relationships, execute competitor analysis and collect high value leads. 

As discussed in part one of this series, booths that are most successful have a coolness factor, well-thought-out visual design and legible messaging. The next step in the trade show success process is what to do after you garner an attendee’s attention. How do you successfully keep attendees in your booth to chat and learn about your company? Entire industries are erected specializing in top of the line trade show engagement activities–just take a look at CES! 

In this blog, we will dive into the SMART goals for your trade show and engagement activity ideas to help achieve them. When people are standing in line to play Plinko, waiting for their latte to be prepared or picking out a design for live screen t-shirt printing–this is where your sales and marketing team goes to work!

Related content: Tips and Tricks for Designing a Successful Trade Show Booth – Part One

Establishing SMART Goals and Objectives

What is your goal for sponsoring and attending the trade show? SMART goals are the most recommended measurement tool to effectively and realistically achieve the previously established goal for attending each show. Using the SMART framework, your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. 

When sponsoring an event and deciding booth design and attendee engagement activities, are your goals to… 

Scenario one: Gather as many leads as possible by scanning, scanning and more scanning!

Example: If 50,000 attendees are attending the show, a SMART goal is to scan 2% of the attendees. What is your plan for achieving the goal to scan 1,000 leads? 

Scenario two: Develop stronger relationships with prospects by inviting attendees to hang out at your booth for a while.

Example: If 1,000 C-Suite executives are attending the show, a SMART goal is to develop better relationships with at least 5% of the attendees. What is your plan to achieve the goal of uploading 50 hot sales leads at the end of the show into your CRM

Establish your SMART goals for every event to ensure that you have a successful show and your budget is justified. 

Related Content: Ask us about HubSpot CRM for your sales and marketing needs!

Booth Layout and Engagement Tactics

Once your SMART goals are established, your booth’s layout will start to fall into place. To continue with the two scenarios above, you have a couple options for booth layouts. 

Scenario one: Goal is mass lead generation.

Booth layout idea: Set up a meet and greet, open style booth layout with cool engagement activities that do not require a long time to complete. A few ideas are:

  • Plinko. Prizes can range from pens and t-shirts to the coveted $100 gift cards.
  • Cool toy giveaways. What is super hot on the market now? 
  • Gamification. Create a digital game that can be played on tablets or vertical screens displays around the booth with leaderboards to generate buzz.

Scenario two: Goal is to develop stronger relationships.

Booth layout idea: Set up an area that is inviting to hang out for a while. Consider your audience’s interests and time of the year. Will CIOs be interested in rolled ice cream at an event in Las Vegas in August? If so, offer a dining/seating layout for attendees to wait for their sweet treats and chat with your sales team. A few other ideas:

  • Specialty cocktails or high-end drip coffee bar.
  • Screen printed sweatshirts.
  • Hire a famous celebrity in your industry to sign autographs and chat with prospects for the day. 
Why eat ice cream scoops when you can eat it rolled?

One last item to consider–how inviting is the booth layout? If walls, registration counters or other obstacles are blocking the perimeter of your booth and hindering the flow of traffic, attendees won’t feel invited to stop and chat. Check out the great layout options below for ideas.

What flow of booth traffic best works for your event SMART goals?

Do you have a trade show booth layout that worked for you? Please share it in the comments below!

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