5 ways to stand out in the exhibit hall.

New year, new tradeshow schedule for your association. Many associations still use exhibiting at tradeshows and events as a large part of their marketing efforts. With the high cost of exhibiting, though, it’s critical to wisely use the time and money spent to exhibit.

But first, to get the best return on your exhibit investment, you must make sure you have visitors at your booth. Without visitors, the time and money spent goes to waste.

So, how do you get people in your booth? Attendees are all too familiar with walking the aisles of the exhibit floor, taking brochures and giveaway items, and leaving without a real memorable experience.

Here are five ways to bring visitors to your booth and have them engage with your brand and your products.
1. Hold a competition.

Everyone loves a chance to win. Promote a competition on social media to drive traffic to your booth. Get people involved by offering a prize or giveaway when they stop by your booth and get a demo of your product.

2. Host a fishbowl.

A fishbowl conversation starts with a small group meeting in a circle to discuss a specific topic. You can leave one seat open, letting a member of the audience join, or allow the audience to sit around the main group listening to the conversation. This open dialogue can be a limited amount of time, while ideas are exchanged with little planning needed. Recap and review the discussion and post to social media or on your website as a resource to view after the event.

3. Offer a workplace area.

Everyone at the event is still trying to keep up with emails and stay current with work while away from the office. Cater to their needs and offer a space for visitors to catch up. Provide charging stations so they can recharge their mobile devices, offer a cup of coffee for them to enjoy while waiting for their phone to charge, and use this opportunity to talk with them about your company.

4. Schedule ignite talks.

The format of this idea is what makes it special and effective. Presenters can have up to 20 slides during their discussion, with each slide advancing after only 15 seconds. This keeps the presentation moving and gives the speaker only five minutes to get his or her message across to the audience. This is a fun and creative way to have visitors spend a little bit more time at your booth, while providing information they may not have heard in a session.

5. Create a knowledge café.

Facilitate small groups of people to meet in your booth for discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions. A speaker starts off by addressing the group to outline the topic of discussion and poses some open-ended questions to get the conversation started. For instance, ASIS International created a space within the “ASIS Hub” on its exhibit floor, bringing more people to their booth and generating interest throughout the expo hall.

Keep these ideas in mind when exhibiting at your next tradeshow or event. By offering unique and innovative ways to engage attendees, you have more opportunity to make connections and stand out from the crowd. Also take advantage of new technologies and ideas to attract visitors to your company and make your exhibit booth the place to be on the expo floor.

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