Your booth is a big deal. It’s your single most dominant presence at any trade show — the nucleus that sets the stage for how you stand out on the trade show floor.
But is standing out enough?
Trade shows are a massive investment. Go beyond merely making a splash with a fancy design by identifying specific goals for each booth experience you create. Then, measure these goals to ensure you get the kind of return you need to be successful.
Before you even start drawing up sketches and schematics for your next booth design, we’re going to dive into the top three goals we recommend you have planned.
1. Generate quality leads
Right, this is a no-brainer. Of course you want to generate more leads. But have you really drilled down to define and classify these leads — from differentiating between early stage prospects, hot prospects, and the stages in between?
Identifying the type of leads you are looking for is critical. At the end of a trade show, you could come back with thousands of contacts — which might look great on paper — but if these aren’t high-quality leads who can eventually be nurtured into a sale, that number is just a vanity metric.
Understanding who you’re looking for and having a way to determine, capture, and analyze qualifying information will help you more effectively reach prospects that are a good fit.
2. Build brand awareness
Creating brand awareness often feels pretty unimportant for most exhibitors, which makes sense. It’s a long game — and the immediate ROI is difficult to track.
But carving out your space with your story, and differentiating yourself within your marketplace is just as important as generating leads.
Again, measuring is difficult. A great place to start, however, is your social engagement:
- Analyze the different engagements you’re creating
- Track content where your brand is mentioned
- Measure your website traffic month-over-month and year-over-year to track continual growth
All of these are great metrics to help you understand the impact and reach of your brand — including the kind of content, stories, and messages that align with your audience.
3. Establish a network
Consider the effectiveness of an ad trying to sell you a tube of toothpaste, versus a close friend telling you about one. Which one is more likely to sway you?
Advertisements are a great way to spread the word about your brand, product, or service, yet there’s simply no greater endorsement than a satisfied customer who’s willing to tell their friends and colleagues about your company.
That’s why, on the trade show floor, you may want to think about how to define and grow your network of brand advocates who can help do the selling for you. Which industry professionals are worth knowing? How can you best get on their radar? And how can you provide value to them and their network?
As you work to create an established network, consider opportunities to engage on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Follow them and comment on their posts before and after the show. And on the show floor, keep an eye out for opportunities for high-quality, engaging conversations that go beyond selling.
Throughout your experience building a network, consider how you can design your exhibit around facilitating these connections. While we’re all attracted to the bells and whistles of amazing booth designs, we can’t forget that the point is human interaction. Designs should enhance this . . . not take away from it.
Bringing It Together: Combining Goals and Booth Design
Once you have your goals set and a system to measure them , it’s time to draw up your booth design. And while there are countless ways to design an exhibit to meet your specific goals, the point is this: create an experience that allows you to present your message and also effectively track and measure your success.
For instance, you could break up the space of your booth into different areas:
- One designated with activities to gather prospect information and qualify potential leads through contests or information requests.
- Another designated area could be focused on the most important, impactful aspects of your brand and giving your visitors the ability to interact and request more information.
The potential is endless.
In fact, we’d love to share more ideas with you in our resource, 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign. Download it now. And then tell us what you think.