We spend countless hours in our business strategizing how to best utilize our marketing budgets. We strategize the look and feel of direct mail campaigns and newspaper/magazine ad pieces. We carefully pick and choose which event/trade shows to attend to showcase our businesses. But how much thought goes into designing our booth?
When it comes to setting up your booth for an event, one word should come to mind: multisensorial. It’s not enough to just be seen. You want people to hear, smell, taste, and touch your business. The more senses you can stimulate, the more memorable your business will be engrained in the hearts, minds, and even noses of your customers. Here are three tips for tantalizing the eyes, ears, nose, throat, and taste buds of trade show/event attendees:
- Think outside the box – Or, the 6-foot-long rectangular table, in this case. Get creative with your space. If you purchased a 10’ x 10’ area, do more than set up a rectangular table and drape it with a tablecloth. A client of mine wanted to do something different with his space, so we created a soda shop. 1950’s-style bar stools and tables were set upon a black-and-white checkerboard floor. Convention goers were invited to step back in time as they stepped up to the soda fountain and soaked up the sights in my client’s booth.
- Tickle the senses – literally. One of the best ways to make an impression with your customers is to engage with them. There are many ways to do this and not over extend your budget. I had a client who worked for a hospice agency. Now, you’re probably thinking how can a hospice agency possibly create a multisensorial event booth? The answer is simple and yet ingenious. While every other senior healthcare group had a 6-foot table draped with a tablecloth with their materials and, maybe, some candy set on top of the table, my client “got jiggy wid it.” We purchased colored rubber interlocking mats from Sam’s that we positioned in a rectangle in front of the 6-foot table, propped up a portable stereo on top of the table, and invited passersby to participate in a cake walk. The colors of the mats were inviting, the sounds of appropriate-era music garnered attention, and everyone who participated walked away with a cake or some other delectable pastry – also purchased from Sam’s at an affordable price. For less than $500, my client created a multisensorial booth that was talked about for weeks after that particular health fair.
- Make it an event within an event – As the two examples above demonstrate, the more you stand out from other vendors at trade shows and conventions, the more people (and potential clients) will remember you. Create an event within an event and, more importantly, promote your event. This is where social media can be especially beneficial. Utilize every type of social media from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to get the word out. Create a Pinterest page with boards to help convention goers navigate the event. Use Twitter to promote a specific event happening at your booth on day one of the trade show and follow up the next day with a different event that will encourage people to stop by and utter a secret word or phrase in order to receive a gift certificate for dinner or a gift card for your place of business.
How many conventions and/or trade shows does your company plan attend this year? When thinking about what to do at those trade shows, remember to design multisensorial activities with an inherently social motivator that will spark engagement and will make a lasting impression with all who attend.