Customers arrive at trade shows with the hope of finding new fantastic brands that can address their needs. In years past, all that was required to have an outstanding trade show booth was a quality printer and a pen and pencil to write down contact information for those interested in your company. Today, technology has begun to play an increasingly prominent role, leading many to wonder how necessary these latest advancements are for success.
Why Technology Is Critical
Today’s consumers live in a digital world. According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, which is nearly double the number who had any device in 2011. People use their smartphones for nearly everything. From looking up information about real estate to searching for jobs, smartphones and similar devices have come to dominate an impressive amount of consumer life.
The importance of the Internet is also easy to see when it comes to engaging with brands. More than 80% of people will go online to research brands before making a purchase decision. Digital communication from the consumer is used to establish connections with brands, ask questions, and learn more.
Given the prevalence of technology in consumer shopping patterns, it is clear that these advancements play a vital role in the success of a tradeshow. If brands want to fully engage their visitors and customers, they must work with them in-person and online.
Engaging Customers With Their Own Technology
Customers today want to engage with the brands they love, and there is no better way to do that then by using social media and the technology that your customers likely already have on them when they arrive at the trade show.
Use social media channels – as many as you can do well and often – to interact with potential attendees and introduce them to your brand, encourage existing fans to come to the show, and generally make your brand well-known before the event begins. With this work ahead of time, when people come across your logo and representatives at the show, it can be more like greeting an old friend.
Promote your company and your display booth:
- Write content to let people know about the upcoming event
- Create games and puzzles related to the show – e.g., those that approach you at the show with the answer receive a prize
- Post pictures of your team preparing your display
These types of posts will help build knowledge and excitement about the upcoming show and your part in it, while also encouraging engagement and interaction, which is key to developing relationships.
Use The Customers’ Technology Throughout The Event
Once people arrive at your booth, make it desirable and easy for them to post about your booth and your company. Quick Response (QR) codes do still have a place in trade shows. If you have development money, your own app can be better. This you might consider if trade shows are a regular thing, more than once or twice a year. Trade shows often develop their own apps, so make sure you ask and submit your information early and often to get visible inclusion. Either QR Codes or an app allows visitors to access exclusive content or special free content, such as a free ebook or white paper for tradeshow attendees.
Other elements of your approach to consider include
- A branded photo backdrop to encourage people to pose for group shots with your name and logo on them, alongside the convention name.
- Establish a trade show hashtag for people to use and encourage conversations on Twitter about the event.
- Regularly participate in the social media conversation throughout the show, updating people about your experiences.
- Create scavenger hunts for attendees and require them to take pictures of the finds.
- Have everything you present on paper also available digitally, such as brochures, and other content. Attendees only have so many hands.
Anything else that helps to bring people back to your booth and continues to encourage the conversation will be a great way to leverage digital communication.
Social Media To Keep In Touch
After the event, ask people to use social media to let you know about their impressions, and continue to offer some incentives, big or small or preferably a mixture of both.
Your company can also create follow up blog posts that describe your reactions and images from the event and ask your followers to let you know what they thought of the show. Reach out to those who connected with you through social media and personally thank them for stopping by your booth. You can also include extras, such as a video of the event on your website or YouTube page, for those who were unable to make it to the show.
Incorporating Technology Into The Display
Customizing your display with some of the latest technology is an excellent way to attract attention and engage an audience. Short videos serve by providing demonstrations of your products and services and offering better traffic control; they can show for for newcomers to the booth while existing visitors finish with a different presentation. When used on websites, videos have been found to be remarkably valuable for companies. A video is worth an estimated 1.8 million words and helps to increase consumer understanding of your products and services by as much as 74%. By creating a professional and engaging video for your trade show – and presenting it at or above eye level – you can help leverage that power and bring in more customers.
You can include iPad stands or counters for people to naturally have a place to stop; you’ve just provided them a service and got them to stop.. If you have a variety of products or services, touchscreen videos allow people to select different products they want to see up close and in action. Technology gives you the tools to personalize the experience for each visitor so they can see and learn what they came for.
No tradeshow can be complete without incorporating some of the latest tech advancements into your booth. If you are considering new ways to connect with your potential customers online and to take your tradeshow experience to a higher level, consider using some of the above ideas for keeping your company name and reputation memorable.