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4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Enough Trade Show Booth Traffic

After all the planning, investment and hard work, imagine standing in an empty trade show booth while attendees simply walk on by.

If you’ve been in that situation, chances are you were frustrated, while your bored booth staffers wished they were somewhere else.

Trade shows are too expensive to do without having a consistent flow of traffic in your booth.  Here are 4 reasons your booth traffic is too small – reasons you can fix to turn that trickle of booth traffic into a flood.

1. You’re Not Hosting Engaging Trade Show Activities

Trade show attendees have changed in two major ways, that make it harder to get them out of the aisle and into your booth. And both of those causes are from technology.

First, trade show attendees have greater control over the buying cycle than before.  They know they can find info on any product or service with a simple Google search.  They’ve internalized that greater control with them even as they walk the show.  In the past, their threshold to enter a booth was lower, because they might not get the info elsewhere.  But now, attendees require more value before they are willing to engage with a booth staffer. You have to offer more than a stagnant booth to get their attention – and time.

And second, trade show attendees love consumer technology, like smart phones, flat screens, and tablet computers (like iPads). Especially because Millenials are now the largest generation in the workforce. They spend hours interacting with tech every day, at home and work.  If you don’t integrate technology into your booth, you’ve lost a big chunk of the trade show audience, especially if your buyers trend younger.

So, trade show attendees are now harder to attract into your booth, because they are empowered to control the buying cycle, and they love tech. Therefore, you have to go beyond just standing there in your booth.  You need a fun, tech-driven, interactive activity (like our trade show games) to get their attention. The table stakes are simply higher.

You’ve invested in buying booth space, show services, an exhibit, and staffer travel costs.  Invest a little more in promotions to multiply the results from your entire trade show budget.

why is your trade show booth empty or full

2. You Exhibit At Shows With Too Few Of Your Best Buyers

Measuring your current shows to find out which ones provide the best return on investment (and which shows are duds) requires great lead management and a willingness of your sales management to share their data. So, once a show gets on your schedule, it’s hard to get it off. (How often have you heard, in answer to the question, why do we go to that show, “because we’ve always been there”?)

Finding shows with a higher concentration of your buyers takes a lot of homework. First you have to really know what your best buyers look like: what are their job titles, their industries, and the size of their companies. Then, you have to find the shows where those buyers attend – not easy when there are over 10,000 shows in North America alone.

So you can spend all your time managing your current show schedule, rather than digging in and finding better shows to replace some of them.

Combine a solid lead management system with better relations between sales and marketing, and you’ll be half way to evolving your show schedule to events that will have attendees more willing to see you.

3. You Lack Enough Willing, Trained Booth Staffers

Effective booth staffers don’t just respond to attendees as they enter your booth.  Great booth staffers are adept at getting attendees to walk in.  Super staffers are friendly, genuine, focused, and knowledgeable.

To upgrade your booth staff into a team that will help increase booth traffic, you need to have enough of them for the opportunity.  It makes no sense to spend $50,000 on a show, but only send 2 booth staffers to save $1,000 on expenses.

But, even if you bring enough booth staffers, it won’t matter if they are not willing. If you choose booth staffers who don’t want to be there, they will not be inviting to attendees, and their negative attitude will also affect your otherwise willing booth staffers.

And if you have enough willing booth staffers, help them succeed by giving them the training they need.  Train them on your products, your promotional activities (see reason #1!), your buyers, and the process of booth staffing itself.

4. Your Exhibit Is Not Compelling

Attendees walking by your booth glance at your exhibit for just a few seconds.  So your exhibit has to be designed to get their attention quickly.

Uncompelling exhibits are often covered with too much text and small photos, in an effort to tell the exhibitor’s entire story.  That cluttered message misses its mark.

Better exhibit designs strip down the message to its bare essentials.  The remaining fewer words and photos are bigger and bolder.  Also, the words are focused on what matters to the buyer, not the exhibitor. And the colors are bolder, and the space is more open and inviting.

And, compelling exhibits are designed with the exhibitor’s promotional activity in mind, with easily accessible space to host it, and graphics to promote it, like this exhibitor.

Get More Booth Traffic

A booth without traffic is a waste of time and money.  But you can fill your booth with these 4 steps: Adapt to today’s more picky trade show attendee by hosting engaging activities, find the shows where they walk in droves, bring enough willing booth staffers, and design your exhibit to quickly capture attention.

You’re booth will be busier, you’ll get more leads, and your trade show program will be more profitable.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.

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