Trade shows (and any B2B event, really) are about more than swag and business cards. With the right approach, both brands and publishers can form promising leads and even lasting partnerships through trade shows.
This year we’ve covered a host of B2B event topics, including:
- Why You Should Host a Trade Show
- 9 Things to Consider When Deciding Booth Sizes for Your Trade Show
- Event ROI: How to Show Your Sponsors Their Received Value
But what about when it’s show time, figuratively speaking? Once you have your booth bought, swag delivered and business cards primed, it’s time to make a lasting impression on attendees.
The big question is: how can you literally stand out from the crowd?
If you’re feeling less than inspired, consider implementing a couple of these winning trade show activity ideas from industry players around the web.
Broadcast Your Audience
“Ever notice what happens at a ball game when someone sees themselves on the Jumbotron screen? They eat it up. You can do the same thing by broadcasting a Facebook Live stream from your trade show floor and showing it on a giant screen for everyone on the floor to watch.”~ Event Manager Blog
There’s a reason social media and personalization are so popular: people love broadcasting themselves. Give trade show attendees the chance to participate; ask them questions, let them show off their skills and even pitch their own brand.
Put Social Media to Use
“One customer of ours used a large flat screen to show all the latest Tweets with specific hashtags on Twitter. Next, they had attendees tweet at them using that hashtag (#companyxcontest), selecting 1 lucky user every hour the show floor was open to collect a prize. The company would then tweet back notifying the attendee of the win. #Score.”~ Metro Exhibits
Trade show activities don’t have to be face to face to be personal. Using Twitter (or even something like Snapchat) during the event will ensure people continue to follow you after the event is over.
Get Your Trivia On
“Capture leads and engage visitors with a trivia-based game. One suggestion is to create a game of questions based on your service, product, or company. Attendees join the game with their contact info and a leader-board keeps track of who’s ahead. This draws folks back to your booth to keep track of where they stand in the competition, reinforces knowledge of your brand and captures data.”~ Exhibit Systems
Everybody loves trivia night and a good competition. Keep people engaged throughout the trade show by gamifying your brand awareness a bit.
Go for Something Memorable
“Contests are an extremely easy way to increase attendee engagement at trade shows. The trick is to do something creative and offer a great prize to winners. At Dreamforce 2017, New Voice Media asked attendees to guess how long it would take for a block of ice surrounding an iPhone to melt. Those who guessed right received a brand new phone for their efforts.”~ Bizzabo
Contests don’t have to be all branded tidbits and social media plays. Make it unique and fun, and trade show attendees will be sure to remember it through next year.
Offer a Learning Opportunity
“Attendees come to trade shows to learn. That’s why most trade shows have many sessions along with their trade show floor. Get some of that action by hosting presentations by your own subject matter experts or company executives. Talk about the latest trends, most wanted how-to topics, and biggest challenges your customers face. Just be sure your subject matter experts are also good presenters – if not, get a professional presenter to learn the content, or to interview the expert.”~ SocialPoint
This isn’t the time to make a thinly disguised sales pitch. If you go this route, make it truly informative and engaging. With the right expert, you can position your brand or publication as a conversation starter within the industry.
Make a Social Space With Yard Games
“Yard games are easy to include and they’re fun. Get an oversized Jenga set, chess board, or corn hole and you’ll have people playing all day long. Since these games are competitive between players, you won’t have to offer prizes or keep track of winnings.”~ Infinity Exhibits
If you want people to hang around your 50×50 trade show booth, you’re going to need more than mints and one-sheets. Create a fun space and the most important conversations will come about more naturally.
Encourage personalized participation
“Get the crowd involved by asking them to write something down on sticky notes. Then use these to decorate your booth during the trade show. Topics could include why they attended the show, something they’re grateful for, or their favorite part about the event. Just keep it positive!”~ PeerSpace
Here’s that theme again: involvement and activation. The bonus here is that you can use what you gather in the activity for social media, newsletters and outreach down the line, well after the trade show ends.