6 Tested Lessons for a Successful Exhibit Booth
In a sea of exhibition booths, you want to be found. Aside from a strong design and interesting giveaways, running a successful booth starts long before you pull out the linens.
Here are 6 lessons we’ve learned from running conference exhibition booths.
1. Set Goals
In addition to preparing your display and ordering your giveaway swag, pull together your sales and marketing team and determine your goals and expectations for the event.
- How many leads do want you generate?
- What’s your elevator pitch?
- How will you measure the visitor experience?
- How will you measure the success of the conversations?
- What’s your volume goal?
If you solicited comments after the last conference, read through them and consider adjusting your plan accordingly.
Pro Tip: After writing the objectives, follow-up with detailed action plans that clarify the steps needed to achieve them.
2. Start Promoting
The conference will have its own marketing scheme and it might include releasing a list of exhibitors. Don’t let yourself think this is enough promotion and exposure for your organization.
Make all of your constituents aware of your exhibiting plan by setting up a promotional calendar.
A few questions and ideas to consider:
- On which channels will you announce your conference attendance?
- How often will you post and what will you announce?
- What’s the event hashtag? Be sure to utilize it when you publish posts.
- Make it easy for your followers to attend by publishing the conference registration link.
- Prepare to offer a discount to attendees when they find you in the exhibition hall.
Pro Tip: Find out your booth number and personalize your social media accordingly. Make it easy for your customers to find you!
Read more about your virtual first impression: You Need a New Welcome Mat?
3. Send Personal Invites
In addition to broadcasting your attendance through social media, send a personal note to those with whom you want to connect.
Make the most of your attendance, create personal connections while you’re in the same room, and avoid missing out because you forgot to plan on crossing paths.
For an extra touch, host a reception while you’re at the conference. Send personal invitations to a select group of attendees, providing a more intimate experience to connect and share your experiences and products. Connection in this setting has the potential to build lasting relationships.
4. Have Fun
Fun is contagious. A great idea was posted by a reader, Blair Thomas, on Inc.:
Something as simple as putting together a well-designed shirt and giving it away for free can create immediate and long-lasting buzz; make sure it's something people want to wear, and don't be afraid to encourage them to put it on immediately.
And to close the loop, tell them you’ll buy them a coffee if you see them wearing it at other conference events or if someone tags them wearing it on social media.
Don’t miss the chance to hear feedback. Gather your team and hold a post-conference debrief.
Potential items to discuss:
- Circle back to the original objectives and determine if they were met.
- Were there any particularly challenging events that occurred? How were they solved?
- Did the booth staff feel prepared for the conversations and questions? How can you best equip the booth staff?
- Celebrate! Share some exciting news, recounting quality conversations or interesting leads.
Gathering feedback can seem intimidating, but in fact, Training Journal has found that:
“The very best leaders crave feedback. They aren’t satisfied with their current performance; they want to lead more productive teams, improve their leadership abilities, and further their careers…”
Celebrate your group’s current performance, but work towards improvements for your next exhibition experience.
Our favorite part of working the booth is meeting all of the attendees and other exhibitors. But let’s not forget why we’re there: to generate leads. As detailed nicely at Forbes.com:
Post-show follow-up is crucial. Make sure all leads are uploaded into your customer relationship management (CRM) system and shared with your sales team within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event. This data provides insight into booth traffic, number of qualified leads and potential opportunities for your business. This action can be used to build historical data related to trade shows and provide justification for attendance at future events.
In other words, the work doesn’t end because the event is over.
Your thoughtful and strategic attendance as a conference exhibitor has the potential to connect you with instrumental colleagues and customers. Post-conference action steps include:
- Connect on social media
- Create a post-conference email series for your new contacts
- Schedule phone calls or send a message via text
Apply our tips and approach your next booth experience with some new and innovative ideas, turning leads and conversions into more leads and conversions.
What lessons have you learned from working exhibition booths at conferences? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment and share your experience.
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