As many long time event exhibitors will tell you, the small basic booth can be a blessing or a curse. The difference is determined by your attitude as an exhibitor and what you are planning to accomplish at the conference or show. If you are demoralized from the start due to the fact that you couldn’t afford the big splashy floorspace of the multinational conglomerate competitor that has set up a massive display on thousands of square feet of space in the middle of the hall, then you might as well not even show up. However, if you realize that your tiny 5 x 10 foot space can allow you access to exactly the same attendees as the corporation that shelled out five or six figures for that floorspace, then you can compete with the big guns on a more or less even “footing.”
Don’t Just Hang Around Handing Out Swags
The line between spending money to exhibit at a trade show in order to get absolutely nothing out of it and turning it into a net gain success is very thin indeed, and it all comes down to strategy. If you have set up a coherent, effective plan on what you are intending to achieve at the event you will most likely come out of it with a win. If instead you’re just expecting to hang around the booth all day trying to hand out your cheap plastic key fob embossed with your company logo as a swag, you’re going to be in for a surprise, and a rather unpleasant one at that.
Sweepstakes Engage Attendees Better than Tchotchkes
If you are going to be giving anything away, it should be directly relevant to the show and its attendees. If you’re attending a show that is in any way connected to technology, you can give away logo-embossed USB flash drives that you can buy in bulk for barely over a dollar each. However there are better alternatives than just the standard handout swag for event exhibitors. A contest or sweepstakes where the attendee can enter at your booth (and provide both contact information and permission for your email marketing list) but then has to go to your website or social media presence in order to find out if they’ve won can engage the individual far better than a trinket or tchotchke. The prize should be both valuable and relevant to your industry sector.
If you’re in automotive, you don’t have to give away a 2013 Mercedes Benz GL (although it would be nice). Something along the lines of an iPad with a universal mounting kit that can be set up for the benefit of the backseat passengers will only set you back about $700… and it will certainly make an impact at your booth and draw plenty of attention.
Your Most Level-Headed Employee Should Be Your Social Media Poster
Social media can be leveraged not just before and after an event but also during! You should not hold back on engaging your customers through social networks while at the event by posting plenty of photos tagged with your company identification, blogging and tweeting continuously, as well as creating compelling and “newsy” Facebook and LinkedIn content. Social media content management has to be exercised on an even stricter basis during exhibit times as the employee charged with keeping all of the social network balls in the air may be fatigued, frustrated or angered by the demands made on them during the show, and may lash out through your company’s postings. This is a disaster to be avoided at all costs.
Everything that comes out of your exhibit has to be positive, constructive and informative! Don’t try to be funny, as jokes can be misunderstood and the most unlikely parties can take offense to them. Stick to the facts, keep it light hearted and make sure that your company’s most responsible and level headed person is placed in charge of social media content during your show. Size isn’t everything so make the best of your small booth space and win big!