A common challenge with trade show exhibits is matching your space and brand image. I recently read an article on TSNN that suggested treating your trade show booth the same as your website.
If you compare the two, they are quite similar in purpose and process. The goal of a corporate website is to funnel new leads into paying customers. It's used to attract new visitors, engage them with interesting content, and eventually nurture them through the sales funnel. Isn’t the purpose of your tradeshow booth the same?
Navigating the show floor is much like navigating the Internet. Attendees walk the show floor in search of solutions to their problems. Exhibitors are there to help solve theses problems. A high quality, attractive, and eye-catching booth has the same positive impact that a well designed web page or display advertisement has on these explorers.
The TSNN article also mentioned there are two types of traffic you will see throughout the week--organic and paid. Just like on the web, organic searchers are people who find you through surfing the Internet. These are the attendees browsing the floor looking around at what exhibitors have to offer. Your booth should aim to attract these attendees with incentives to stop in and chat rather than walking right past.
More importantly are the “paid” customers. Online, these are the people that find you through display advertising, paid keywords, re-targeting, social media advertising, or anything else you would pay for to get more traffic to your website. On the show floor, you have options to advertise your brand through signage, email marketing, or anything else you would pay for to attact them to your booth. You will get traffic from both paid and organic methods, so make sure you have the support and incentives to keep them interested enough to hear what you have to offer!
Now, how do you make sure you're driving the right traffic to your booth? Do you want someone interested in finding a vacation rental coming to your pet product's page and filling out the form? No, because they will never convert--you aren’t what they need. Once you start talking to leads onsite, you'll be able to determine who would make a good fit, and who wouldn't.
Once you determine who is a good opportunity, you need to engage them. Give your “about page” followed by the product or service tabs, and finish with how you’re better than the competitor. Your booth needs to convey who your brand is just like your website does. In the end it’s all about getting your brand message out there to whoever needs it. Think about the main attraction of your booth--the back wall or entrance signage--as you do the homepage of your website.
With these focused methods you may have less leads at the end of the show, but they will be quality leads with a real interest in your service or product. Mimicking your website design in your booth creation will help with planning and execution at the show. So focus on creating the same environment that moves people through the digital sales funnel and converts a lead into a customer. Trade shows and websites may be totally separate projects but they can both follow the same wireframe for success.