How to Stand Out and Boost Engagement at Trade Shows April 24, 2018

This simple strategy has been highly effective for us at trade shows, so I wanted to share it with other businesses to potentially help with your trade show success. This article is choc-bloc of useful tips, so read below on how to make people walk into your stall with utterly no selling!

Step : Use novelty to capture attention

You can do this using humour and playfulness, or something that has a visual / sensory ‘wow-factor’ for immediate impact. At all times, your aim is to get people over the threshold of your stand by showcasing something that captures their curiosity. Make something your audience would have never seen before, such as a live creative demonstration, interactive game, or a compelling video.

You want to show something that changes and moves, as opposed to something stationary such as a product display. This means your audience will stay for longer as they want to see how it develops.

You’ve been warned: your stand can look as inviting as a summer barbecue, but if there’s nothing to entertain your audience, they will move on quick!

For inspiration, watch this hilarious human claw machine below by the Snacktacular festival, which I think is the perfect (and perfectly bonkers) off-the-wall idea to get audiences not only engaged, but spreading news of your company all around the world!

Step  : Build trust – by not selling

Now that you’ve captured your audience’s attention, you want to have a conversation with them that they’ve never had at a trade-show – one that is genuine, has no agenda, and does not bring up your product or company. Luckily, step 1 will have given you a great ice-breaker to start your conversation!

So how do you get to talk about the great things you do? Easy – when you engage someone in a normal conversation that does not have the intention to make them part with their money, you remove pressure from the person, giving them opportunity to ask you about your product in their own time. By following this method, you’ve now got their genuine attention, not their polite interest.

If they don’t ask about what you do, they’re obviously not interested in it, so you’ve saved time trying to persuade un-convincable people anyway!

Little tip: you can consider other ways to build trust and good feelings between you and your consumer at this point too. For example, are there any unique and useful freebies that you can give them as you chat? Think ebooks, advice from experts, compliments, software, fortunes, foot rubs, or whatever makes sense for your brand to give!

Marriage by Correy Abbott, showing the relationship of two individuals

Step  : Invite to a call-to-action

So you’ve now built trust with your consumer, and they’re going to walk away reflecting on what a lovely person you are and how your brand is so cool and chill and nice. However, before they do that you want to have some kind of exchange with them so that you can keep in touch or get useful data.

Your call-to-action should be something that you believe will genuinely benefit them – even if it’s as simple as you believing signing up to your newsletter would be really interesting. The fact you know this will come across in your tone and make them more likely to agree to it.

Offering this in combination with a reward or giveaway is naturally the most effective way to do this. Your reward must be as exciting and original as your initial draw into the stall – and preferably, connect to it in some way. Scrap the 10% discount, think of what would really excite you as an individual in a giveaway and apply that to your campaign.

Remember in this step you are not pressuring people to complete the call-to-action. Read the other person and consider whether they might want the reward before you offer it. Your aim is not to get a set number of people to sign up, it is to make genuine human connections with your consumers.

Case study: ART + FILM

We used this very technique last month at InTech 2018 to great effect, launching our partnership with White Collar Videos under our joint venture ART + FILM.

Richard Day half way through his live painting

How we used the 3 steps

We drew audiences to our stall by showcasing some impressive live artwork by Richard Day. A full-time artist based in Norwich, Richard painted a portrait of Youtube’s CEO Susan Wojiski live during the event to highlight the pertinent topic of women in tech, tying into International Women’s Day.

This was alongside a finished painting by Richard, and a time-lapse video of of this painting being created.

 Lots of people came forward to talk to us after looking at this exciting visual showcase. We got lots of positive feedback from it, engaged them in normal conversation about Richard and his artwork, and this lead onto discussions about our service and businesses.

 As a reward, we offered the original artworks & a free consultation with ART + FILM as a prize to people who told us on camera their ideas of how they would use our service.

The results

– There was a high amount of traffic to our stall throughout the day
– We generated 100% more leads by using live creativity in our trade show than simply video on its own
– 16 people spoke to us on camera about the benefits of our service – giving us really valuable video content to share
– Working with White Collar Videos and Richard Day meant we produced loads of exciting video content, one piece you can watch below…

Want to learn more about ART + FILM? Click here to read our partnership launch.

Do you agree with the tips in this article? What have you found are the best methods to use at trade shows? Comment your thoughts below!