You've likely attended some of those mega-conferences every industry holds annually, where new products and services are introduced, keynote speakers discuss the latest industry thinking and people connect, face-to-face. You've likely felt excitement leading up to the big event, too.
And, perhaps, as an attendee, you’ve wondered how you could exhibit at the next event and how you could ensure a return on your investment for the exhibitor space.
People from our team attended recent industry conferences in New York, Las Vegas and Atlanta with great success. Here are four tips based on what worked for us:
1. Display your message with a pop-up banner.
When exhibiting at events, you’ll likely be limited to a 10-foot table. One way to stand out, literally, is to have a vertical pop-up banner. This is a pretty standard tip, mainly because it works.
Note that the banner’s height will give your booth more dimension and "speak" for you over the din of the crowd. In addition, a well-designed pop-up banner (or two) can quickly identify your value proposition and offer attendees a clear idea of what you do and how you can serve them. Some great benefits of pop-up banners are that they travel well, don’t take up much room and are easy to set up and dismantle.
2. Catch people’s attention with video.
Motion pictures have proven to be a marketers’ greatest tool to gain attention. Movement creates interest. For example, think of a bear in the forest. When a bear senses movement, it becomes acutely aware of other creatures within its surroundings. Most people don’t want to attract bears, mind you, but in the case of attendees at a conference, using motion on a screen to draw your audience closer works quite well.
The way we capitalized on this was using a rented TV to play a looping demonstration of our service. The video included footage, showing real people navigating the app and using it to hire voice talent. Because there was activity for for an observer's eye to follow, people began gravitating toward our booth in droves.
3. Give a personalized demo on an iPad.
Remember to spring for wifi in the building hosting the conference. Many of these events are held in arena-sized venues, so cellular coverage is shoddy at best. For such an important day, it’s worth it to pay for wifi access that isn't already provided in your exhibitor package.
Having wifi ensures you can access your website and give demos of your service or product on a mobile device attendees can interact with. With Internet access, you’ll also be able to draw attention to your booth using social media; there’s nothing quite like being able to show people what you offer, in real time. When attendees see that you’re holding an iPad or tablet, they'll come closer because they want to see what is on your screen.
4. Leverage event hashtags on social media.
As mentioned, social media can be a big help in driving attendees to your space. Remember, too, that every event has a hashtag associated with the corresponding conference, expo or gathering, and that participants and potential clients alike will be looking at it. If you're unsure of the hashtag, check out the event’s social media account, or reach out to the coordinators you were in contact with earlier to book your space.
Then, before the big day arrives, begin posting about how you will be exhibiting at the event. If you know your booth number, include it in any posts using the event’s hashtag. Building momentum ahead of time will help you warm up the room and get a feel for who will be there. Also be sure to join conversations around the hashtag during and after, too.
Engage in discussions already in progress, and initiate your own using the event hashtag as a unifying force. Attendees who are social media-savvy will be monitoring the hashtag and using it when they post about their experiences and observations, so make sure that you are part of their experience. Even if you post only a handful of times, that’s more than the majority of your fellow exhibitors will do.
In our own team's experience, the combination of screens, social media and signage helped us meaningfully connect with over 500 people in less than eight hours. The fact that we had a promotional offer made visits to our booth all the more exciting and worthwhile for attendees.
Inspired for your next expo? Putting these tips into action will help you achieve greater visibility and draw more people to your booth.