How To Get The Most From Exhibiting at a Conference
How do you make a booth stand out at a conference? Here are 10 ways leaders get the most from exhibiting at a conference:
- Listen More Than You Speak
- Go Above and Beyond With Your Follow Up
- Using Cutting Edge Augmented Reality to Stand Out
- Try the 50-50 Rule
- Maximize the Use of the Conference’s Digital Assets
- When Life Gives You a Trade Show, Make Lemonade
- Give Customized Giveaways Related to Your Biz
- Launch or Display New Products
- Show, Don’t Tell
- Design Your Booth to Be Approachable – Not Depressing
Listen More Than You Speak
Create meaningful engagement and opportunities to listen to your customers and prospects. The concentration of prospects at a conference is a critical opportunity to learn about what matters most to them: the pain points they’re solving for, the challenges keeping them up at night, and the tradeoffs they’re balancing when they’re considering a solution like yours. Prioritize listening.
At your booth, find ways to keep visitors engaged with activities that give them a reason to stay for a few minutes. Consider offering headshots or caricatures, or another purposeful activity that creates time for a conversation. And make sure to get beyond the exhibit hall. Which speaking sessions are standing room only? Noting the popular topics can give you great insights for your own upcoming content and webinars. Speak with attendees at a session related to your space. What are they hoping to get out of the conference? These insights can be applied to your personas when you’re back in the office.
Kellie de Leon, Treasure Data
Go Above and Beyond With Your Follow Up
Many conference goers forget most of the exhibits they discover on the day. There’s often so much going on (and they have bags full of merch) that it’s easy to get lost in the noise. But one way you can outshine the competition, and get back on their radar – is to put the majority of your effort into your follow-up campaign. Be sure to grab their email address (and permission to contact) when they stop by your booth, so that you can continue the relationship via email. But don’t waste this opportunity on sending generic content. Instead, craft campaigns solely for that conference; reference the event, spark their curiosity with interesting insights, solve their problems, or send them something they can use right now.
Brian Casel, ZipMessage
Using Cutting Edge Augmented Reality to Stand Out
Integrating Augmented Reality into a conference display can help a business stand out among the pack and build credibility. Augmented Reality places virtual elements seamlessly over the real world environment, leading to creative ways to connect emotionally with customers. For a technology company like Dell, it’s important for them to be seen as ahead of the tech curve. Their conference display used an interactive hologram to explain their products and services. This cool, cutting edge method brought an entertainment factor to dry marketing copy that engaged conference attendees on a different level. The ease of activating the experience through a QR code only further impressed the users, and motivated them to explore all of Dell’s provided content and calls to action within it.Monte Deere, Kizik
Try the 50-50 Rule
When exhibiting at a conference, it’s important to follow the 50-50 rule. This just calls to spend half of the time behind your own table, and half the time exploring the rest of the conference and talking to other companies. On one hand, you want to give off a solid impression at your own table by creating a visually appealing and welcoming presentation. On the other hand, however, you don’t want to spend the whole conference hiding in your own corner while there are tons of great companies to introduce yourself to. When exhibiting at a conference, try to strike a balance between hosting your own company and visiting others.
Matas Jakutis, ForceField
Maximize the Use of the Conference’s Digital Assets
Begin by closely examining the conference website to verify attendance is a good fit for your business. Study the attendee list to determine who you’d like to meet at the conference. Then connect to those attendees online through social media follows and comments or via email and phone beforehand. Designate special swag for your new connections. In the weeks and days leading up to the conference, cross-promote the event in social media so others know you’ll be in attendance. Then, show up with a welcome smile, make friends, take selfies and notate quotes from speakers, and share them in the event’s social media platforms using the event’s hashtag.
Jen Miller, RHEIA, LLC
When Life Gives You a Trade Show, Make Lemonade
My agency increased our trade show leads by more than 400% by partnering with Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Trade shows are exhausting – and attendees are too busy to make the trek to refreshment stations. By offering free lemonade at our booth and making a donation for every badge scan, we 4x’d our leads and built trust with the community at the same time. We’ve used this at ARMA Live and TRCOH events, but it can work for any company or in-person event. The partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand positioned us as a breath of fresh air and drove a non stop flow of great fit prospects to connect with our sales team. The icing on the cake? Helping our fellow humans… and every team loves a win like that.Ryan Draving, Muhlenhaupt and Company
Give Customized Giveaways Related to Your Biz
Companies attempt to accomplish quite a bit at conferences. It can be overwhelming for exhibitors and the audience they hope to draw. Minimize the chaos and distractions by handing out giveaways that relate to your company’s products or services. For example, if you’re an optometry chain, hand out custom sunglasses with your logo and website printed on them. People love useful items and won’t forget your name and how to reach you when they need something. Personalized giveaways can help reduce the amount of signage you need and keep your booth clean and inviting.Shelley Grieshop, Totally Promotional
Launch or Display New Products
Launching or displaying new products at a conference can be an excellent way to maximize the value of business conferences. Since such conferences are undeniably a great way to generate new leads, launching new high-quality products (or services) will attract interested clients who will be persuaded to learn more about the seller. It will also notify existing customers about new developments in the business. Impressive ideas in the form of innovative products or useful services can aid in the formation of profitable alliances or partnerships.
Charlie Southall, Dragonfly
Show, Don’t Tell
We’ve exhibited at a few sales and marketing conferences. Our greatest success was when we set up a laptop that was connected to a large screen, and had a big sign that read: “Get A Free SEO Audit”. Delegates could give us their website and we would give them a live 10-minute SEO audit. Most delegates would first watch a live audit, get impressed with the free and personalized insight we were providing, and then inevitably join the waitlist to get their site analyzed. The strategy led to a steady flow of people at our exhibit all day long and a lot of qualified leads. I might add, we had no flashy stand of gimmicks. Just a desk, laptop, big screen and large call to action sign. My advice to exhibitors, forget the free pens, comfy couches and silly games, and instead find a way to demonstrate your product or service in an interactive way that provides real value.
Mark Whitman, Contentellect
Design Your Booth to Be Approachable – Not Depressing
How many booths have you walked past with a tired, sad-looking man sitting there alone? Or how about a team of people standing around with their heads buried in their phones? The last thing you want to do at a conference is talk to a company with a booth like this. This is why you want to come up with something that’s designed to pull attendees into your booth and make it approachable. This gives them something engaging to do and tees up great conversations for your team, without them needing to be pushy. We created our own custom Lego characters with our company logo on it. We had trays of different lego heads & lego accessories. Attendees could build their own lego person that matches their personality. Plus a sign saying ‘build your own lego character’ to make it obvious. We had more people stop by compared to most major sponsors who had giant areas. It doesn’t need to be legos. The point is it could be anything creative that pulls people into your booth and helps you stand out.
Andrew Pfund, Scale and Prosper
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, How do you exhibit successfully at a conference?