How to Keep Attendees at Your Booth

Whether it’s at a corporate event or a county fair, odds are there’s a lot competing for the attention of prospective customers. Even if you’re able to attract passing attendees to your trade show booth, there’s no guarantee you’ll keep them there for long.

So what are some of the things you can do to keep people at your booth long enough to ensure that your brand makes a lasting impression on them? Or better yet, long enough so that you’ve had an opportunity to collect their contact information for future marketing efforts? Here are three time-tested ways …

Human Interaction

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ve probably heard me say this before, and I’ll say it again: There is no replacing the power of human connection.

One of the reasons people make the point of coming to live events like these is to meet other people. If all they wanted was information about your business, they could have gotten it from your website in the privacy of their home. So make sure your booth meets their expectations by staffing it with people who will keep their interest.

An obvious choice, whenever possible, is for the owner, CEO, or other key figures from your company itself to be there. Allowing attendees to interact with somebody “high up on the ladder” not only gives them the opportunity to ask the kinds of questions nobody else would have the answers to, but also sends a clear message about how important connecting with customers is to your business.

Another great option is to invite a celebrity or well-known community figure to spend time at your booth. It could be somebody who has used your product or service in the past or even just somebody who believes in your business and wants to support it. Either way, if marketed properly, it creates a draw, and gives attendees a reason to stick around.

Last but not least, remember to take advantage of hiring trade show talent to act as ambassadors for your brand. These professionals can handle everything from greeting visitors to collecting leads to running presentations, freeing up your sales reps and salaried employees to leave the booth and work the show.

Engaging Activities

When you’re in competition with everything else happening at the show, giving attendees something fun to do is another surefire way to maintain their interest.

One possibility for this is live entertainment. Depending on the nature of the event, this could be a live band, a singer, a clown, a comedian, a magician, a sketch artist, or these days, even a robot or somebody offering a virtual reality experience. The only limit is your imagination and, of course, finding a way to tie the entertainer to your brand and marketing message.

Another creative option is an information hunt. Either at the event or prior to it, give attendees a list of questions to answer that can easily be found on your website. If they get all of the answers right, they receive a giveaway or are entered into a drawing to win something bigger (see the next section). Besides keeping them engaged, this also gives attendees a reason to learn more about your business.

Lastly, you can’t go wrong these days with a branded photo booth or photo backdrop that gives people a clever way to take selfies and post them to social media. Provide attendees with an event-specific hashtag as well, and they’ll do your marketing for you.

Games of Chance & Skill

As mentioned with the information hunt idea, people can be heavily motivated to visit and stick around your booth if there’s a chance they’ll win something.

This is one of those cases where the old tried and true methods still work wonders. Put a fishbowl on the booth table, collect business cards, and pick one at the end of the day. Fill a big jar with anything from jelly beans to USB flash drives, and have people guess how many there are. Set up a colorful prize wheel and spin it every hour. Or make things even more competitive by running a trivia contest.

Besides holding people’s interest, games like these can also be fantastic lead generation opportunities. Unlike the casinos in Vegas, these games are free to play … almost. Having attendees supply their contact and even (in the case of corporate shows) company information, will support the larger objectives of any marketing campaign.

When giving people the chance to win something, though, don’t be afraid to go big, especially when it comes to the grand prize. The latest iPhone might seem like a big spend. But if it provides lead information for hundreds of prospective customers and attracts people to your booth, then it will easily pay for itself.

Whatever it is that draws people to your booth, the longer you can keep them there, the greater the odds that they’ll walk away remembering your brand and potentially becoming a customer or client. So take advantage of these methods to hold onto attendees for as long as possible, guaranteeing a strong ROI for your live event budget.

Need more information or advice about how to keep people at the booth at the next live event you’re attending? Need to brainstorm with a business that has years of experience in this area?

Then head to the website and let’s talk.

Janice Rodriguez
, CEO, has grown Adelante Live, Inc. into a premier experiential marketing and promotional talent company with clients throughout the United States. She can be reached on LinkedIn.


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