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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

How to Build a Better Booth

Dec 23, 2016 01:01PM

Step 1: Define Your Goals

What do you want in terms of:

  • Connecting with new customers
  • Reconnecting with returning customers
  • Introducing new products or programs
  • Building name recognition
  • Enhancing visibility in the community
  • How are you going to measure the impact your booth has?

Fill in the blank depending on your needs and plans!

Step 2: Plan Your Booth

Big Signs & Banners

  • Headline, telling them something new and interesting
  • Your name/logo

Smaller Signs

  • Give them a reason to stick around and chat or to sign up right away, i.e. a drawing prize, show special, activity, or freebie

Using your Booth Space

  • What do you want to showcase? How will it be displayed?
  • Literature for people to leave with
  • How much space do you need?
  • Bring a tablecloth that suits the colors of your logo and signage.
  • Bring activities for kids while you go over the nitty gritty details with their parents.
  • Attract attention from a distance with vertical displays, lots of color, and big, easy to read lettering.

Step 3: Advertise Your Booth Space

Promote your presence at the show! 

  • Share our social media posts about the event. 
  • Link to the Look Who’s Coming page on our website.
  • Use show-specific hashtags (i.e. #SFLCampFair16) to connect your social media posts to the greater online conversation.

Be the first to let your customers know about all these great resources!

  • Send personal invites to loyal customers.
  • Reach out to anyone on your newsletter mailing list.

Step 4: Plan Your Follow-Up

Thank customers for stopping by, make sure there are things they can walk away with to remember you by (swag, goodies, brochures, etc.).

How will you reach out after the show? Get a game plan together ahead of time for social media posts and follow-up emails a few days after the show thanking everyone for stopping by. 

  • When it comes to social media, photos are a great attention grabber. Make sure to use pictures taken the day of! 
  • Network at the show, or beforehand by tracking the show's hashtag (i.e. what’s under #SFLCampFair16).
  • Ask people for permission to use their photo on your social media first. You can sweeten the deal by giving them something extra in exchange. 
  • Make friends with your fellow vendors and tag them in posts! Then share each other’s posts. Everyone gets more visibility that way.
  • The best day to send emails is on Tuesday.

Step 5: Train Your Staff

  • Early exhibit removal is often prohibited in the show contract, sometimes with a penalty fee for doing so. If your staff isn't supposed to leave early, make sure they know.
  • Remember the “Define Your Goals” section? Share that info with staff!
  • Share the following section with them too.

Step 6: The DON'TS of Trade Show Exhibiting

  • Don’t neglect to practice and rehearse your sales message. Be consistent!
  • Don’t arrive late or leave early.
  • Don’t eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke at or around the booth.
  • Don’t sit down.
  • Don’t chat with colleagues or friends while at the booth. Focus on the booth’s visitors!
  • Don’t block the entrance to your booth.
  • Don’t forget your nametag and to introduce yourself.
  • Don’t neglect to use visitors names while chatting.
  • Don’t forget to ask about the prospect’s needs and interests, and to listen.
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to get complete lead information from booth visitors.
  • Don’t waste time reaching out to leads after the show!

Step 7: Enjoy The Show

  • Smile! 90% of your success will come from the enthusiasm and energy of your staff.
  • Have a lot of business cards on hand and pass them around.
  • Plan breaks ahead of time, then make sure you and your staff take them. 
  • Give at least two breaks: one to rest and relax, and one to wander around, see what other booths are doing, and enjoy the rest of the fair.
  • Having an extra person for set-up and clean-up helps.

Step 8: Show Wrap-Up

After the show, ask your staff what they think worked, what they think didn’t work, and what suggestions they have to make next year’s booth more effective. This includes:

  • Efficiency of set-up and clean-up.
  • Audience engagement and booth traffic. What kind of people stopped by? (Parents, kids, grandparents, whole families, etc.) What were their reactions? What kinds of things did they ask about? What comments and feedback did they have? Enthusiasm levels?
  • Do you like the spot you were in or would you want to request a different area next year?
  • Did you run out of any handout materials?
  • What were other booths doing? Brainstorm and come up with new ideas.