9 Ways to Draw Trade Show Attendees to Your Booth

Elizabeth Scolari
November 17, 2015

Today’s guest post comes to you from trade show expert Tim Patterson. On the outside, trade shows seem easy enough; just draw a crowd of trade show attendees and know what to do with that crowd once they’ve arrived. But as any trade show veteran knows, it’s harder than it looks. Every other exhibitor that you’re competing against is trying to do the same, and there are always exhibitors that seem to do it better than the others. So what does it take to bring people to your booth? Here are some suggestions, based on observations at dozens of trade shows across many different industries.

9 Ways to Draw Trade Show Attendees to Your Booth

1. Demonstrations: With the right professional presenter and the right presentation, you can draw hundreds, if not thousands of interested prospects to your booth over the course of a three or four day show. 2. Celebrities: Sure, it costs money to have a well-known name attend the show on your behalf. But the right person in your booth for a short time a few times throughout the show can be effective. You can use his or her name to build anticipation and create great buzz as well as build a line of people waiting to visit your booth. 3. Moving Attractors: This can be something that catches the eyes of passersby with movement (rotating or spinning graphics, LED message lights, etc). In general any ACTION in a booth is bound to draw more attention than inaction. 4. Giveaways or Free Samples: Is it a tasty treat or a cool, clever or unusual giveaway? Does it relate to your product? Is it your product? Sure, people often grab giveaways and move on, but it is one way to get them to stop for a moment, giving your booth staff the opportunity to strike up a conversation. 5. Unusual Product: If you have a product that’s new and unknown, that in and of itself may have the power to draw people to your booth. 6. Unusual Exhibit: If the exhibit is unusual enough or attractive enough, it alone can get people to stop and check out your company. Good design can often do this. 7. Smiles: Smiling at people and saying hello and asking a quick non-threatening question is often enough to get people to stop. Be sure that your booth staff is properly trained and out on the front lines rather than sitting in the booth. Encourage interaction. 8. Music: In some situations, having a small band play music can draw crowds and entertain attendees. 9. Media: When someone is sitting in your booth with a radio microphone or TV camera doing a live interview, people will stop and look. Happens every time. The first half of the equation is to get trade show attendees to stop at your booth. Once you’ve done that, make sure that your staff is trained and prepared to engage them with the purpose of uncovering prospects, gathering information and sorting that information into real leads. That’s where the magic happens.  

About the Author:

Tim Patterson is a trade show strategist, blogger and founder of TradeshowGuy Exhibits. He just released a new book titled, Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow to the Next Level. You can download a free digital copy at http://TradeshowSuccessBook.com. You can also check out his blog at http://TradeshowGuyBlog.com and find him on Twitter @TradeShowGuy. Tim is happy to talk about trade shows all day if you let him––feel free to give him a call at 503-507-4110.