A key indicator trade show marketers must focus on to really be successful at an event is to draw an audience to your booth. The goal after all is to increase the audience you have influence over, whether that comes in the form of leads or customer.

There are numerous ways to generate an audience at your booth. We have put together a huge list of ideas that you can try to draw a crowd. Not all of them will be appropriate to all audiences.

When selecting a method for attracting and engaging with people in your trade show booth, remember to first know the audience you are trying to attract. Know the types of people that will be in attendance, why they might be there and what they want or need to come away from the trade show with. Then, know which segment you can serve and how.

Make your attraction methods line up with what your target audience wants. After reading the list below, we are hoping you will have the inspiration for the perfect crowd magnet to use at your next trade show booth.

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trade show visual appeal

#1 Use Visual Appeal

Having an attractive booth designed to work perfectly with your location on the trade show floor is the first step to providing a great trade show experience for attendees. Graphics should be appropriate and eye-catching to draw potential customers over to you.

Also, make sure that your staff are well groomed, clean cut and professional looking. They should have matching shirts or other means of identifying themselves on site as part of the booth staff. Also, make sure they are well conversed in your products, services, sales pitches, lead generation scripts, etc.

Trade Show Interactive Touch Screen Content

#2 Interactive Content

Interactive touch screens, like tablets, scattered throughout your booth, are a perfect way to engage with trade show attendees on their own terms. They can come up to the touch screen and engage with the pre-programmed content.

The content offered can be interactive demos, videos, surveys and quizzes, or prize entries. They are a great way of generating leads, especially if you offer content downloads they can opt into like other traditional digital marketing lead magnets.

valuable trade show giveaways.jpg

#3 Valuable Giveaways

In this section, we are referring to what has often been called swag. This is the cool stuff you can pick up while walking around trade shows. The ideas are almost always branded and nearly endless.

The key here is to make the giveaway desirable in some way, whether it be valuable, useful, entertaining, or fun. The more people that want your giveaway, the more likely you can generate attendee buzz about you and your giveaway. Make sure that the giveaway is audience appropriate, and generates as many leads as possible.

Some fun and useful ideas include smart wallets for phones, lip balm, reusable water bottles, keystands for phones, well designed bags, USB chargers, mints, etc. You can also tier your giveaways so that not everyone can walk by and grab it. Instead, make them do something easy to get the giveaway. And make sure the giveaway is unique. You want other people to ask around on how to get it.

Trade show games

#4 Games

Everyone loves the idea of a game – competing to win. This idea might seem simple, but it works. According to Samuel J. Smith, “Games play on human’s emotions, such as joy, curiosity, greed, pride, and envy, helping exhibitors draw in a larger crowd and keep them engaged for longer.”

Games used in a trade show booth can range from a simple games like trivia, jumbo board games, golf putting; to casino-style games like a prize wheel, a roulette wheel, or a slot machine; all the way to “The Price Is Right” style games like a Plinko board or a cash grab machine.

Successful gamification will offer rewards, inspire competition, or both. So choose based on what your audience might really enjoy.

Trade show contests

#5 Contests

A contest is a form of competition that requires skill to win. It is usually paired with a prize that is equivalent to the amount of skill necessary to compete. It can be in the form of a game, but it doesn’t have to be.

Contest ideas include: guess the amount of something in a container, photo contest, a contest that involves searching for clues and solving a riddle, a matching contest, the highest score in a game, etc.

The draw for a contest will be the bragging rights of winning, especially if the contest requires a lot of skill or how many winners there will be, or the prize that you can win in the contest.

Trade show quizzes

#6 Quizzes

A quiz can be a form of contest, however it is a very specific type of contest that tests your advance knowledge of something. A quiz about the event, your company, your product or service, or the city the event is taking place in can be a popular draw to your booth.

Quizzes are entertaining and engaging. They can trigger our competitive instincts and give a memorable experience with your brand. The best part about a quiz is that it is also informative, when done right. Is there something you want your audience to learn about you that you can pull out through a quiz?

Quizzes can also be used to qualify your audience as potential leads or customers. What do you need to know about someone that marks them as a potentially great fit with your company? How can you use a quiz (not a survey) to find this out?

Trade show competitions

#7 Competitions

You can hold more structured competitions in your booth and allow your audience to judge the competition. What would your audience love to see people compete on (think cooking, playing music, singing, best hairstyle, best makeup, etc.)?

You can pre-arrange contestants before the trade show event and then advertise that the audience will be the judge. While this might not attract us for prizes, it can provide a lot of fun and entertainment for your audience. Add in the fact that they get to judge and your audience will be engaged.

trade show entertainment

#8 Entertainment

Entertainment can cover a wide gamut of styles and budgets. A simple search turns up quite a list. There are magic shows, Rubik’s Cube art displays, chocolate carving, robots, caricaturists, comedians, musicians, and the list just goes on.

For those with huge budgets, We have seen clients go big and hire a popular musician and just plaster the event with ads for it. You can scale down to something like dancing robots patrolling the trade show floor or have the entertainment locally in your booth.

What you need to remember with entertainment is to make sure the value of the entertainment is in line with the type of audience you are trying to attract.

Trade show prize giveaways

#9 Prize Giveaways

Prize giveaways are usually done via a raffle, scratch offs, or some other game of chance. In this case, the value of the prize will most likely determine the attraction you receive to the giveaway.

Make sure that there is a game of chance involved and that you have a system for collecting entries. And, like everything else we have listed, make sure the prize is appropriate for your target audience.

Prizes can be electronics, vacation packages, sporting goods, your company’s products or services, utility items or tools, tickets to entertainment, etc. Be unique and be relevant.

Pre trade show media coverage

#10 Pre-Show Media Coverage

Pre-show media coverage can be used to generate interest in your other methods of attracting an audience. If your presence at the trade show event is compelling enough because of the giveaway or announcement or entertainment or competition, then you could draw some media attention before the event.

One way to find out is to draft a press release detailing your compelling reason for attending the trade show event and what you plan to do there. Distribute it to media outlets that you know are covering or have covered before the event.

Offer media pre-event interviews and sneak peaks, and also invite their attendance to the trade show event to cover it live. Depending on the media coverage you receive, you can really boost the attendance you receive. You can probably also win some love from the event coordinator for the added exposure of the event.

trade show free wifi access

#11 Free Wifi Access

If the trade show event or hotel does not offer free wifi for attendees, create a mingling space at your booth and offer access to your wifi hotspot for free. You can display the wifi password at various places in your booth so attendees need to come around to get it.

You can rent 4G internet providers for a few days to be able to offer wifi access to your booth attendees. Use the time that people are near to network.