Updated: Jan 7, 2019
The benefits of participating in an event or trade show can be greatly increased with a little extra work on the part of the exhibitor. The job of Chesapeake Family Life is to bring families to an event. Your job is to get them to stop at your exhibit and be impressed by what you have to offer them.
Seasoned exhibitors, especially to our camp fair, tell us that their presentation makes all the difference. In other words, you can’t just sit there and expect people to come over and talk to you. Here are a few of the tips we’ve learned and observed.
Put your phones away. If you are sending young employees to staff your booth this might not be obvious to them.* (exception see #10)
Stand up and be ready to engage with parents passing by. Look like you are interested in talking about your program.
Take some time in advance to plan your exhibit space. Why should people stop at your booth? How does your exhibit space look? Is it attractive? Is there something creative for young visitors to do while you talk to their parents?
Make sure you can show and tell parents why they should consider coming to you or using your facility.
Do you have anything to give away that has your logo on it? Stickers, wrist bands, light-up trinkets that everyone wants is one small way to get attention. Tie expensive product giveaways to something tangible like signing up for brand emails or entering a contest. Or, minimally, ensure those freebies come with brand information and a compelling call-to-action that drives recipients back to the booth to learn more.
Create an experience or have an interactive demonstration that will show what you are offering parents. Here’s an example from Charity Water, which creates safe and clean water sources for remote villages in developing nations. They invite their booth visitors to walk two 40-pound jugs of water across a 50-yard platform, giving visitors a small taste of the experience villagers in developing nations go through every day to fetch water from rivers miles away from their home. For a short time people understand how hard it is to walk a couple yards, let alone a couple of miles carrying 80 pounds. Charity Water creates an experience that helps their visitors connect with their brand.
How will you measure your success? Decide in advance what a successful show will be for you. Make all your preparations in advance so that you have everything needed to meet your goals, then find a way to measure your efforts and their effectiveness.
Will you need signs or other creatives printed in advance? Don’t forget to order them.
Make sure to pay attention to emails from the event organizer. Setup times aren’t very flexible and attendees will be at your booth before you know it. Be on time.
Use your own social media channels and promotional tools to tell everyone that you will be at the event. Use the event hashtag. Stay active on social during the event – the one exception to #1
Bonus Tip: Make sure you have enough staff and that they have time for restroom breaks, to get something to eat, and to update your social media accounts.