Exhibiting is a golden opportunity to engage with audiences and improve trade show performance using face-to-face engagement.
Pushy sales will only get you so far when exhibiting. To really drive home your message and gain business interest you need to build influence around you and your booth through thought leadership. What do we mean by this?
A thought leader is an individual people admire and listen to. They are known for their ability to inspire, influence and educate. When you engage with attendees using thought leadership, you’re making powerful connections that have greater lead potential.
To help you achieve brilliant trade show results, we’ve put together prospect engagement ideas you can adopt that embrace your position as a thought leader.
Innovate: Visual Galleries
65% of people are visual learners, according to the Social Science Research Network. Science-based technology company 3M also reports that people can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Which is why a captivating visual experience is a great face-to-face engagement tool to help you inspire prospects and improve your expo results.
Apply the expertise you and your marketing team have to create innovative themes around a campaign, your business values or your products and services. You could even repurpose existing content or use graphics to simplify complex ideas.
Your goal is to tell your corporate story in a way that captures the imagination. The more people want to listen the more likely they’ll be interested in your business.
Depending on your budget, there are plenty of innovative options for gallery customisation:
- Audiovisuals like presentations, videos or live feeds
- State-of-the-art fabric graphics to mould your gallery into unique shapes
- Adhesive-backed vinyl graphics (a cheaper option than fabric)
Also, if you plan to use quotes or statistics ensure they are backed-up by relevant and credible sources. Otherwise, you could lose authority and jeopardise your position as a thought leader which could derail your expo performance.
Entertain and Educate: Interactive Displays
Interactive displays give you precious minutes with an attendee. And that time can be used in two different ways: to entertain or to educate. Both strategies will make your brand memorable, elevating your trade show performance.
Pandora built an interactive game for the HBO Luxury Lounge event. Attendees threw chips on a Plinko-style board and depending on where it landed they received a necklace, ring, or pair of earrings. The game was both fun and simple, which reflects the jewellery brand perfectly. It was also rewarding which created a memorable booth experience.
The lesson? Attract and entertain using games that are on-message with your brand. If expensive rewards aren’t a good fit, you could offer exciting reveals, hidden messages, a funny anecdote, a photograph – anything that will leave a lasting impression.
As an expert in your field, you also have the leadership to educate others. If you’re a charity, run a coaching business or have a product that’s new to the market, you can use interactive displays that enable attendees to participate in your lessons independently. Their reward could be information that benefits them, again creating a memorable experience that enhances your exhibiting performance.
Train: Staff Can Be Thought Leaders Too
Your trade show staff speak volumes about your business and should be treated as if they were your main displays. Enable them to exhibit to the best of their abilities and they could fuel major expo performance improvements. As Timothy R. Clark – founding partner of Talent Management and HR business LeaderFactor – puts it: “Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.”
Relevant training can teach your exhibition staff how to lead with their own ideas, creativity and experience. We’ve seen first-hand incredible changes to expo performance levels through our own team workshops and masterclasses.
The more informed employees feel, the more confident and enthusiastic they are about exhibiting. In addition to training, you could provide subscriptions to relevant exhibition and industry publications to keep your team ahead of the game.
Plus, allowing your staff to share knowledge and experiences with each other – either through meetings or digitally – will encourage them to have faith in their own abilities. This boost to their confidence will ignite innovative ideas in the showroom, elevating your lead potential.
Influence: Content Marketing
Influence attendees onto your mailing list or encourage them to become social media, podcast or newsletter subscribers by offering irresistible post-show content during an exhibition. Do this well and you could generate more leads.
One idea is to repurpose your educational interactive display into a presentation and offer this to interested attendees post-show. If your objective is to increase mailing list subscriptions, allow attendees to unlock the content by signing up.
Your exhibition team could also interview existing customers or industry leaders attending the expo. Post-show, upload the video on Twitter – using trending hashtags for the event – to increase exposure and gain new followers.
Successful content marketing relies on your ability to emotionally connect with prospects. That means addressing their biggest questions and fears when it comes to your product or services. Gain this data through conversations during the show or via a feedback system. You can then use this information to create blog posts, podcasts, emails or social media posts that offer valuable insights for your audiences.
A Marketing Mindset
If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that exhibiting is an exercise in marketing, not sales. The key to better trade show performance is using your industry insights and experience to engage prospects in thoughtful and exciting ways. And enabling your trade show staff to follow suit will unlock long-term exhibiting success.
Expo Stars is a trade show lead generation specialist that helps exhibitors target and approach the people that matter to them most through technology, strategy and other leading practices. Speak to our team today to find out more.