Drive Traffic to your Trade Show Booth


Driving traffic to your trade show booth is one of the most daunting tasks a marketing manager encounters.

Some try the “giveaway” route where you offer a grand prize of an “iPad”, LED TV or some other premium type giveaway. Some of our clients even giveaway cars. Just for a moment – think about your results and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was the booth traffic increased as a direct result of the promotion?

  • Was the trade show attendee a qualified lead?

  • How do I differentiate between a “good” and a “bad” lead?

  • Did your company’s sales increase as a direct result of the trade show and the promotional item we giveaway?

The answer to all of the questions is probably pretty vague as it is very difficult to determine the ROI of a trade show. Getting clients into your booth and educating them about your products and services is the key to your success and increased sales. Of course, if sales go up then you are in the driver’s seat for fame, glory and the occasional raise at your company. The purpose of this blog entry is to give you and your company some other ideas besides the boring “grand prize drawing” that we all know is somewhat “rigged” and amazingly goes to your company’s best client??? MMMM. Amazing how that happens.

Below are some other approaches to drive traffic to your trade show exhibit:

1. Baked Goods – Believe it or not, give away a warm cookie and you will have all kinds of traffic coming to your booth. We have seen this work first hand. It was so successful the first day that we had to add a second oven to keep up with demand. The result is that our sales people were engaged in conversation with buyers all day. It generated buzz and the awesome smell kept the attendees in the exhibit longer. Cookies are great  – not hard to do and less mess than popcorn!

2. Liquor Bars – This one is one of the best because after a long day of working everyone wants to relax. No better way to drive traffic to the booth. Here is how we generally do this promotion. First, send out invitations to your best clients and also give prospects during the day you meet a “ticket” for a drink. The event starts about 1 1/2 hours before the end of the show that day. We recommend to use stanchions for the booth space to prevent “non ticketed” people from gaining access to your bar. In addition, we recommend (2) people to take tickets and direct the prospects to the sales staff. This really works well and the prospects usually stay in the booth as long as the liquor, beer, wine, etc.. is flowing! Another tip is to put a limit on the dollar amount you want to spend on the bar – the convention center bartenders will keep track and tell you when you have reached the dollar limit. Then you can decide to keep serving or stop depending on the situation.

3. Contest – We have done this one with video games programmed specifically with the company logo in them.  This can also be done with basketball free throws, football toss, etc…..You have an overall scorekeeper and board where everyone can see the scores. At the end of the day, the best score wins a prize. The benefit to your company is that you have to be present to pick up the prize. You will have a lot of prospects coming back to your booth to check the scores and to see what they have won. A twist on this is to have the non-winners spin a prize wheel. This makes them actually come back into the booth and engage once again in conversation with your staff. It’s a last ditch effort to qualify their business. You just never know – by the end of the day things are more relaxed and conversation is generally easier and more personal.

We at MYDISPLAYSOURCE™ hope these are beneficial ideas for driving traffic to your trade show exhibit. While there is not a “silver bullet” there are some fun things that can be done to make it more interesting out there on the trade show floor. Keep in mind to keep your leads qualified and to just be yourself when selling to prospects. Your experience shared with a potential client is much more valuable than any “sales” technique your can come up with.