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Nine Ways to Draw Event Visitors to Your Booth and Wow Them

by Matt Snodgrass  |  
July 24, 2012

I recently attended the Origins Game Fair, a gaming tradeshow in Columbus, Ohio. For avid gamers like me, attendance is practically mandatory.

I've been doing tradeshows and conferences as an exhibitor, attendee, and conference center staff member for the better part of my professional career. So, as I walked the floor of Origins, I took mental notes about how exhibitors presented their products and engaged with potential customers—what worked and what didn't.

Based on my experience at Origins, here I offer nine ways to draw tradeshow attendees to your booth and engage with them. Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but I was amazed at how many exhibitors completely disregarded them.

1. Remember that first impressions are critical

Things got off to a rocky start when picking up my badge took 30 minutes. The young woman checking me in couldn't figure out why her computer was giving me the incorrect price. Sorting it out required two managers to get on her terminal.

Computer problems happen, OK. But then, once the problem was fixed, she was more interested in checking her text messages, talking to me about her cats, and grousing about the customers she'd helped thus far than in checking me in. Then she went on break—without printing my badge! It took another 10 minutes, a printer repair tech's help, and a supervisor to unlock her workstation before I was fully registered and in possession of my badge.

Beyond her simple lack of interest in customer service, clearly nobody knew what anyone else was doing. That created a frustrating customer experience and left a bad taste in my mouth. Luckily, I'd attended past Origins and knew that it was well worth the hardships of a botched check-in. Otherwise, I might have been turned off enough not to want to continue any further.

Key takeaway: A customer is typically not bound and determined to get to you. Don't turn off customers with a poor first experience.

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Matt Snodgrass is marketing manager for MarketingProfs University, which provides affordable yet comprehensive online training in the interrelated disciplines that make up the marketing mix. Reach Matt via

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  • by Margaret Wed Jul 25, 2012 via web

    Great post Matt!

    I especially agree with point number 3. I work for Vantage Advertising, an event staffing company, so I have a lot experience with helping exhibitors hire event staff for their booths.

    Booth babes can make an impact on a booth, but hiring the right type of booth staff is the most important part! Trade show exhitbors really need to analyze what they are trying to accomplish at their booth in order to determine the caliber of talent they need to hire, or if they need to hire anyone at all!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • by Jennifer Fri Jul 27, 2012 via web

    Great article! I work as an Independent Contractor at 30+ Trade Shows a year. To address Points #3 and #8---Hire someone who is a seasoned Trade Show Professional, not a Booth Babe. As Margaret wrote above, there are PLENTY of good people out there who are attractive, articulate, and can do more than just stand aloof at a booth and scan badges. And to get/keep a crowd, rely on your Booth Support Staff! Hiring a Presenter can keep your booth busy at all times and deliver your message in concise, entertaining, and unique ways! Just Google "Trade Show Presenter" to find some of the best. And also consider hiring a Professional Crowd Gatherer to keep your Presenter's theater full, and your booth packed with happy, excited people. Use your resources! We are here to help YOU look good!!

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