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The Art of Attraction – A Checklist of Tips to Draw People to Your Trade Show Booth


It is interesting to me how many trade show exhibitors are shocked that no one stops in their booth, yet they have done nothing to promote or even attract passers-by to it. In the age of constant visual stimulation, social media and short attention spans, we as trade show and event marketers must plan more if we intend to attract new prospects to our booth of event. Below are some simple steps you can take to increase your chances of meeting, engaging and connecting with new prospects at your next event. Below is a checklist of things to consider when preparing to draw visitors to your booth.

  1. Know your assets
    1. You should be able to explain and articulate what makes your company stand out.
    2. Find out if you are introducing a new product or service or promoting existing ones.
    3. Research how you compare to the competition.
  2. Put yourself out there
    1. Send invitations to existing customers or top prospects.
    2. Make sure to have a web presence by promoting your show participation on your homepage.
    3. Consider purchasing sponsorships from the show – just make sure they are brand relevant.
  3. Be friendly when at the show
    1. A simple smile and hello will make it much easier for people to approach you.
    2. Prepare open-ended questions for starting conversations with attendees who walk by your booth. Something as simple as ‘what brings you here today?’
    3. Offer people a glass of water, some candy or an opportunity to sit down. Doing so is a great way to welcome them into your exhibit.
  4. Gifts get attention
    1. Get small giveaways to offer attendees. Tie them to your promotional message.
    2. Make sure the gifts you purchase are relevant to your audience
    3. Announce the gifts using your pre-show or event promotions.
  5. Dress up
    1. Staffer attire should be distinctive, brand appropriate and, if possible, fun!
    2. Update your graphics as needed so they are in good condition, clear and brand relevant.
    3. Consider using backlighting or tech in your booth to better highlight your key message.
  6. Add a subtle appeal to the senses
    1. Maybe a light pleasing scent can be added with a diffuser or by bringing fresh baked cookies or popcorn.
    2. If you have a theme, consider incorporating sound with some low volume music. Make sure to avoid jarring or repetitive sounds and be mindful of copyrights.
  7. Add a little bling – but keep it to a minimum
    1. Consider adding LED strip lights with your brand colors to highlight a key message or product.
    2. Flowers or plants can attract wary attendees who have been stuck inside a show hall all day.
    3. Details that are brand relevant and different will make people stop. A well-lit piece of art, a stuffed animal or beautiful food can make the difference between someone walking by or stopping long enough for you to say hi.

Let us know what other tricks you have used to attract visitors to your exhibit or event. We love to hear from you!

Also, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar: Attracting the Right Audience for your Event or Trade Show Booth. Click here to register!

About the Author

Sofia Troutman was the Manager of Digital Marketing & Product Innovation for Skyline Exhibits in St. Paul, MInnesota.

3 responses to “The Art of Attraction – A Checklist of Tips to Draw People to Your Trade Show Booth

  1. What I do to draw people to my booth is this: First of all, I like to stand (not sit), especially when the crowd is in the convention hall. Then, as much as possible, I will say “good morning” or “good afternoon”, smile and try to get their eye contact. This is difficult if there are two or more people in a group in the aisle, especially if they are talking among themselves. If the person does respond, I’ll say “come look at our materials”. This usually works. I’ve seen other booth staff do nothing to engage the public, they just sit there and never say anything and then complain that it was “a bad show”! You really have to “work” a bit to get people to your booth. The other “trick” is: a crowd will draw a crowd, so when you have one or two at your booth, others often follow, sometimes out of pure curiosity, but they want to see what appears to be potentially interesting.

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