Trade shows are a massive business opportunity for you to gain more contacts and generate more leads that will eventually (wait for it . . .) turn into customers.

But if you’ve ever been to a trade show, then you know they can feel a little chaotic — the lights, the crowds, the seemingly nonstop networking. And without drawing people into your booth to engage with you, that massive business opportunity will slowly plummet.

Right now, you might be feeling the agonizing tension, desperately trying to answer the question: how can you stand out?

We hear you. That’s why we want to share six trade show activity ideas you can use at your next show to draw the crowds in like a moth to a flame.

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_TshirtMug1. Branded Freebies

Let’s be honest, everybody on the planet loves free stuff. But don’t get caught thinking a free iPad will solve all your problems. Or even just a t-shirt.

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7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign

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Get creative with your freebies . . . and make them more memorable by aligning them with your brand. Sometimes the weirder or more unusual they are, the better (just as long as they fit in with your brand archetype).

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_Photobooth2. Photo Booth

Nothing makes a trade show more memorable than a fun experience — especially an experience that lives on after the booths have already been packed up and shipped out. Hence, the photo booth.

These booths are the rage today. People love them and the funny props and staging. You can keep it simple or go to the extreme. No matter what you decide, the idea is to email the photos to your prospects. And to do that, you need an email address.

Voila! Suddenly, you have a new contact to cultivate. You could even go a step further and share the photos on social media — and set up polls for people to vote on their favorites.

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_Coffee3. Beverage Stations

Amazing conversations happen around the water cooler. Or over a cup of coffee. And when you give people the space, and a branded bottle, or beverage container they can take with them, suddenly your booth not only becomes the prime gathering spot for crowds of potential customers, but your brand’s generosity goes with them long after the conference is over.

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_QR4. Scavenger Hunt with a Digital Twist

There’s nothing like a little competition to get an audience engaged and motivated to participate. Especially if there’s a prize, beyond just bragging rights, they can claim as a reward for their time.

You could set up a branded, strategically placed scavenger hunt for participants to sign up to play, using their phones to take photos of items or scan QR codes to upload on social media as they race against other participants.

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_Polls5. “Best Of” Social Polls

Leveraging social media for trade shows is about personalizing and amplifying the entire experience for people who are attending. And giving those who couldn’t attend, but are interested, the chance to feel like they’re a part of it all.

“Best of” polls give your audience the opportunity to chime in and share what they loved most about the trade show. Or share their best experience. And these can be ongoing, multiple polls throughout the day. For example, you can do some fun polls like:

  • “Favorite exhibit game?”
  • “Best swag?”
  • “Most delicious taco?”

SH Blog Icon 200x200_8.15_SocialMedia6. Social-Only Contests

The sweet spot in leveraging digital and social platforms is when they converge with an interaction at your booth. The more often you can bring a social profile into a face-to-face conversation, the more the engagement will deepen.

Consider this: you could pitch a contest to trade show attendees or some sort of giveaway that requires them to do something online to get their name entered. And instead of just one winner, you could have multiple winners . . . but each one is required to come to your booth to claim their prize.

You could even go a step further and post a congratulations photo of them with their prize on your social channels. Don’t forget to tag them and/or their business to make sure they’re excited to see, and engage with, you and your page!

Want more ideas you can put into action for your next trade show? Download our free guide: 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign.

Download Your Free Resource

7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign

Download Now
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