If you are fond of visiting State Fairs then you are familiar with the “Carnival Barker.” We are talking about the slightly-tatty person that stands in front of the latest stomach churning attraction and invites you in. Unless they grab you by the collar and yank you into line you probably walk past them.
Unless you see something irresistible.
The same rules apply to your tradeshow booth. It’s not who shouts the loudest in the booth that gets the people into your space, but how your brand looks, feels, acts, shouts and yes, even feeds your potential passers-by.
Here’s a quick list of 5 totally tempting ideas we’ve seen over the years at G2Planet for getting people into your booth:
1. The Devil and the Doughboy (i.e. a good promotion)
While at a convenience store tradeshow a few years back an ice machine manufacturer ran a promotion that claimed they’d send a few lucky people to “Hell” (a tourist spot in the Cayman Islands) and back just for visiting their booth. Their “Carnival Barker” was none other than an actor in a devil suit who walked around the show hamming it up with the Pillsbury Doughboy, Jack Links and other brand icons you’ll find in convenience stores.
The manufacturer’s booth was JAMMED with traffic, leaving their competitors to curse their own lack of a good show promotion.
2. Keep the Food Nearby
This second idea takes a little planning try sourcing local food merchants that provide “cuisine” native to the City, State or Region where the tradeshow is being held. A quick tour of Yelp should turn up a few locally sourced food vendors who can plan a decent menu for your booth. Better yet, do a little digging for “Food Trucks” in the City where your show is going to take place and strike a deal with them for catering (your event planning agency should be able to help with this too). This is how we spotted a company that offered “Cowboy Tacos” in a booth during a local IT conference in, where else, Texas! Maybe not a Ten Gallon idea, but no one else thought of it.
Ok, tacos schmacos… but the truth is that vendors that serve some decent stuff to eat or good snacks at a show will virtually GUARANTEE some traffic.
P.S. Stale mints recycled from your local bank don’t count as food.
4. Save Money on Videos. Spend Money Elsewhere.
You know it and we know it, long videos or even short videos at shows don’t drive people into your space. Not that we have anything against a cleverly produced “spot”, it’s just that with all the noise and visual stimuli bombarding your attendees at an event one video looks a lot like the next.
Unless your CEO creates a live feed directly from Dante’s inferno. Then you’d probably scare everyone away.
5. Good Pick Up Lines (On Cards)
This last idea is a little unorthodox but it works - create a series of oversized “business cards” that are really nothing more than teasers to get people into your booth. Then you “distribute” the cards along the show aisles near your booth. Why? Because people are generally on their phones looking down at the floor when they are walking from booth to booth.
All you need on the card, then is a good “pick up line.” For example, if you have a show Minnesota and your booth is in a lightly trafficked Western part of the Event Center you could have a headline that reads: Go West, Young Man …with directions to your booth on the reverse side of the card.
Conclusion. Out-think. Out-create. Never Out-spend.
Got an idea you’ve seen for show traffic at a show that was clever, strategic and did not break the bank? Let us know here: