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Beyond the Booth: How To Elevate Your Trade Show Presence This Year

It’s that time again, friends: trade show season is fast approaching. If you want to be successful this year, now’s the time to start brainstorming. Chances are, you’re investing a pretty penny to host an exhibit hall booth, so now’s the time to bring your A-game.

But here’s the kicker: other brands on the expo hall floor also want to grab attendees’ attention. You need to differentiate yourself from this pack of attention-seekers by designing an out-of-the-box booth and attendee experience that turns heads. By making your booth a one-in-a-million experience that sparks lasting connections, you’ll forge deeper relationships and meet more potential clients. Oh, and improved ROI doesn’t hurt either. 

Advice like “be more creative” is true, but we know it isn’t very helpful. Follow these five tips to think outside the box and generate more trade show ROI this season. 

Event Audience

1. Have an Audience in Mind for This Event

So, who’s attending this trade show? Every event attracts a slightly different audience, and understanding their demographics will help you create a more relevant, targeted trade show experience. 

Most conferences will send you a list of attendees leading up to the show, which is perfect for conducting a little pre-conference recon. See which job levels, positions, and companies will be in attendance. From there, zero in on one particular segment of that audience that makes buying decisions for your product or services. 

Target audience in hand, create a marketing plan to attract their attention. Craft a plan for connecting with attendees in the weeks leading up to the trade show via social media, email, and blogs. The precise tactics you follow will change based on your audience’s preferences, but the idea is still the same: hype everyone up before the conference. 

If you have attendees’ email addresses, send them a sneak peek of what you’ll have on offer at the event. Promote your free giveaways, contests, and the can’t-miss elements of your booth experience. If you play your cards right, you’ll have dozens of folks making a beeline to connect with you on the expo hall floor.

2. Pick Promo With Staying Power

Promotional marketing items are the best way to engage with attendees long after they visit your booth. Whether it’s a battery bank, pack of sticky notes, or cute coffee mug, the right promotional products encourage folks to continue the conversation long after the conference ends. 

The key, though, is to choose the right promo for your audience and trade show. We don’t have anything against pens or frisbees, but this is your chance to really wow people, so try something different. Branded sneakers, candles, and cute or clever T-shirts are guaranteed show-stoppers. Don’t be afraid to embrace the new. As long as your audience will respond enthusiastically, shoot for the moon.

Trade show promo trends come and go, but you can stay on top of what’s hot this year by checking out Boundless’ latest lookbooks

3. Design an Eye-Catching Booth

Maybe you got away with a few tables and chairs in the past, but going forward, attendees expect truly out-of-this-world experiences at conference booths. Think about conference booths that have grabbed your attention in the past. They probably had lighting, music, and even interactive digital media like TV screens or games. That’s definitely going to turn more heads than a stack of pens on a table!

Think outside the box and try something new this year. Add new elements to jazz up your booth, like:

  • Floor stickers
  • Instagram-worthy backdrops
  • Video walls
  • Comfy seating with phone chargers or phone booths
  • Custom vertical signage or pillars

event crowd

4. Make It an Experience

A stunning booth will bring in foot traffic, but what will the experience be like once you capture attendees’ attention? Design an interactive, intentional experience that’s equal parts fun and informative. The goal is to make attendees aware of your business or products, but you can’t come in too strong with a sales pitch. Think of this as your chance to forge a human connection that you strengthen through post-event promo gifts and marketing.

How can you make this interactive? Consider adding engaging elements like: 

  • Quiz bowls with prizes
  • Custom 3D printed photos
  • Mini golf
  • Touchscreen games
  • A digital scavenger hunt
  • Photo booths
  • DJ dance parties

5. Leverage Technology

You can’t beat the value of in-person connections, but technology can do a lot of heavy lifting at your next trade show. Not only does technology turn more heads on the expo hall floor, but it also makes it easier for you to stay in touch with booth visitors long after the event ends. 

Try incorporating technology into your trade show experience by:

  • Adding iPads, digital displays, or projectors to your booth
  • Creating VR or AR experiences
  • Making a custom Spotify playlist for booth visitors
  • Printing custom QR codes on promo items that take visitors to your website, an online game, or other engaging digital experience
  • Live streaming at the trade show
  • Integrating digital lead capture into your booth via an iPad that integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform

Elevate Your Brand Beyond the Booth With Boundless

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of exhibiting at a large trade show. It’s tempting to stick with what you did last year, but when results matter, it’s time to think outside the box. 

Remember, the goal is not just to attract attention, but to convert that attention into meaningful interactions that become lasting business relationships. By focusing on creating a unique and immersive experience, leveraging the latest technologies, and staying attuned to the needs and interests of your target audience, you can maximize your ROI from the trade show and set your brand apart from the competition.

You don’t have to do this alone, either. Boundless offers pre-show strategies and post-convention analyses to help you make the most of the busy trade show season. Build Brand Love with your audience: Get in touch with your Boundless Brand Consultant now.

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