Are you feeling a little defeated at the prospect of meeting the goals and objectives you set for your next tradeshow or convention because you have a small footprint? Do not despair. Small footprints and budgets are not related to the success you can have at your next tradeshow or convention. Smart planning, as well as identifying your goals and objectives far in advance are what will set you apart and ensure success.
An example of this is Poretta & Orr’s client BTG Vascular. BTG Vascular is a company focused on bringing to market innovative products that help interventional vascular healthcare professionals, and we partnered to create an exhibit booth that served multiple purposes. We called it the “Transformer Booth” inspired by the Autobots in the Transformers movie. These machines were quite adept at reconfiguring themselves to meet the demands of any given situation, much like the booth Poretta & Orr was tasked with creating.
In addition to being mandated with meeting very specific objectives, like consistency of brand, a product demo area, wire management, areas for multiple brands and products, cost savings were very important, as well. In a true sense of partnership, we worked together to create a small, yet impactful booth that not only met the identified objectives, but over the course of a year, a 23% cost savings to their program was realized.
So first lesson. Partner wisely with your exhibit house. You can stand out and achieve your goals no matter the size of your booth on any exhibit floor out there. But what are some of the other important items you should consider to take your program to the next level of success?
The role of your exhibit staff becomes elevated in a small booth. They are front and center. Be sure staff is trained and that they are the appropriate individuals to represent your company and product. A cleverly branded staff that is friendly and outgoing will draw people in. If your product or service is scientific or technical in nature, be sure you have people in the booth that are experts in the field and that have the ability to explain complex subjects to any type of attendee. And remember, ExhibitorLive reports that 85% of an exhibitor’s success is based on the performance of the exhibit staff.
Imaginative use of lighting is also a great way to draw attention to you booth, but in a small space it really can overpower the senses. While it can be mesmerizing, be sure to temper your use of lighting in a small space. Use it to highlight messaging as attendees are walking the show floor. Lighting in a small booth can make a significant impact and yet be budget friendly.
Just like with lighting, too much of anything in a small booth is not a good idea. Be sure to streamline your thoughts and focus on keeping your message simplified. Use every inch of the booth but be sure to keep it visually simple. If you are limited with space, remember to subtract the obvious and keep the meaningful. This translates to impactful.
Changes in technology have ensure that there are any number of ways to share information with attendees. A small exhibitor just does not have the footprint to store a variety of literature or giveaways. Consider using a digital option for sending a coupon, gift card or even digitized information to qualified attendees that stop by the booth. Not only is this a space saver and it helps the environment, the attendees will appreciate it too … many giveaways end up in the hotel trash can to lighten the load for when the attendee returns home.
Have you invited your target audience to your booth prior to show open? You can accomplish this in a number of ways but the first step is to identify who your specified targets are. This aligns nicely with staff training as you want to be sure staff is trained to “qualify” those that stop by your booth. Essentially this means to spend time interacting with attendees that meet preset criteria to help you meet your goals and objectives. Preshow invites and creating buzz about your company’s participation is a vital element to getting booth traffic. A press release announcing a new product or service can be valuable, but also have your sales team invite their hot prospects to stop by the booth. And lastly, developing a plan to incorporate social media can really open up some inexpensive yet effective options, especially for the small exhibitor. Livestream updates or video interviews can be extremely effective and as mentioned earlier, have a drawing, give out a coupon or hold a contest and promote it on social media. This drives traffic but can also provide useful metrics to demonstrate how successful your social media efforts were.
As someone that has walked the floors of countless tradeshows and conventions, one of the most important things an exhibitor can do is to remember their exhibit booth etiquette. Seems silly I know. But I challenge you to walk the exhibit floor of any tradeshow or convention. You will see people on the phone, chatting with colleagues, sitting down, letting potential prospects walk right past the booth without saying a word and my favorite, eating. So be sure you come to the booth ready to be “on” at all times. Leave the phone alone and make the attendees your number one priority. It will pay dividends in the end.
Do not believe that bigger is always better. Ultimately, exhibiting is about creating leads and relationships. With smart planning and creative solutions, a smaller booth is an excellent space for intimate and meaningful conversations. An opportunity to really engage with those that stop by and make a connection.
Work with the right partner and do the right planning and you too will realize that sometimes small has its perks.