Your success at a tradeshow or conference hinges upon your ability to drive attendees to your display, keep them engaged, and generate an action to support your cause. At the heart of this process is the strategic use of activities and promotional materials to incentivize visitors to learn more about your cause. Below is a look at the three-step process used to create an engaging trade show display which will draw in visitors, keep them engaged while you promote your cause, and spread your message throughout the event and beyond.
1st Point of Contact: ATTRACT
The ability to attract visitors to your exhibit is the most important component of the display design process. Failure to attract visitors to your exhibit means you will not have the chance to engage with them about your awareness program. Below is a look at the key elements used to attract visitors to your exhibit:
Primary Goal: To gather a crowd of visitors by drawing attention to your booth. Requirement: An event, game, or live demonstration to draw visitors to your booth. Bonus Tip: Try different supplemental methods to attract visitors to your exhibit like balloons, fresh flowers, and bright light displays.
The critical task during this phase is to feature an interactive event or game that will provide interest close to the aisle as visitors pass your booth. For a campaign such as Substance Misuse Prevention, the Danger In Every Step (DIES) Mat with the Fatal Vision DUI goggles is a great way to create a demonstration that will lure visitors to your booth. When used in conjunction with the Fatal Vision DUI goggles, the DIES mat challenges participants to try to navigate a stairwell and a winding sidewalk while under the effects of inebriation as simulated by the goggles. The result is an entertaining demonstration that will spark the curiosity of onlookers and draw them to your display.
Another great choice for any event is a game or prize wheel. Spinning the wheel and the clacking noise it makes creates a commotion around your booth and immediately captures the attention of anybody walking by. A game wheel also gives you a chance to increase the awareness of your cause by including thought provoking questions on each segment of the wheel. Include prizes either randomly placed on different segments, or a prize bin for everybody who answers a question correctly to further incentivize attendees to engage with your display. Be ready with a consolation giveaway as a thank you to all those who participate.
2nd Point of Contact: ENGAGE
After you have successfully attracted visitors to your display, the next step is to engage visitors and educate them about your organization and cause with a short presentation or interactive session. This must be done swiftly or you risk losing their attention. Below are the key education elements to consider as you attempt to instruct your visitors:
Primary goal: To inform attendees of your organization's mission and benefits Requirement: A short overview of your cause and/or education and prevention giveaways Bonus Tip: Bring desirable products like a tote bag, Thera-Beads Heat/Cold Packs or other promotional giveaways to hand out other materials
This is your chance to educate visitors about your awareness program. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished using educational materials such as edu-sliders, awareness boards, pocket pointers, and info graphic banners. Some of these items also provide the opportunity for additional takeaway items from your display that will continue to spread awareness and inform your audience.
To help promote prevention, provide resource materials such as phone pockets, informational cards and coasters with crisis hotlines and other prevention outreach resources. These items easily fit inside a pocket, can be tucked away inside a book, or left on the coffee table at home so that important phone numbers and other information are always on hand and easy to find.
To promote awareness, provide branded promotional items or items with motivational messages. These allow you to keep your brand and your message in front of people long after they leave your booth. Whatever your cause is, consider the resources your organization can use to spread your message, what will resonate the most with your audience, and what specific types of materials are the most appropriate to support your event.
3rd Point of Contact: GENERATE ACTION
Now that you have successfully captured the attention of attendees and educated them about your organization’s mission, it's time to generate action from your audience. If the goal is to get volunteers for an upcoming event, have a method of collecting information and keeping it organized ready. If the goal is to raise general awareness, a newsletter or e-blast signup is one method keep attendees engaged with your cause beyond the convention floor. Additional giveaways or incentives can help further encourage visitors to take action. Below is a look at the primary elements of the Generate Action phase:
Primary goal: To encourage visitors to take action. Requirement: Signup or registration to be involved with the organization and additional giveaways and incentives. Bonus Tip: Offer a drawing for a prize or gift certificate for all visitors who take the action you are requesting.
By inviting your attendees to cap off their visit to your booth through continued engagement with your awareness program, you are taking the appropriate steps to increase awareness and create prevention. Better yet, by leaving your booth with a collection of prizes or materials, which bear your organization’s name, your visitors will promote your awareness program by serving as mobile billboards. The result is increased awareness of your awareness program and more visitors to your booth.
As the event comes to an end, awareness of your organization and program is still just beginning to spread. Your attendees will be walking out with new knowledge and support for your organization. Promotional items used as giveaways and the educational materials used at your display are branded with your organization's message and name to further spread the awareness of your cause. With all of these pieces in place, you’ll have everything you need to create an engaging and memorable display.