Eye On The Prize: Using Contests To Drive Traffic To Your Booth

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So you’ve designed a killer booth but wondering why attendees aren’t sticking around for longer than a minute. Even with some friendly gestures and a good conversation, sometimes these things aren’t enough to keep them engaged for longer periods of time. Contests are a great way to get everyone involved and work wonders if you strategically pinpoint people’s sweet spots when it comes to winning prizes.

In a way, you’re letting people get involved while also building contacts for future work opportunities. Organising contests is the perfect add-on if you want to successfully boost traction for your booth but first, you must do some preparation beforehand to avoid any problems during the contests.

Create Hype By Doing Some Pre-Show Promotion

Review your subscribers list and send out a mass email to everyone. Using MailChimp is a lifesaver when it comes to reminding your followers on further company updates, so letting them know you’re running some contests will keep them in the loop to find your booth at the next upcoming trade show.
Do some promo on social media. Tweet it, share it on Facebook. Let the social media world know you’re running some contests!

Plan Out What Games Will Work With Your Audience

Make sure you appoint a host while holding the contests. Choose either yourself or one of your staff members to take the reigns of hosting the contests. Having a host will make them a lot more interesting and engaging for attendees!
Strategically plan out a contest where it coincides with the theme of your trade show/product launch. Specifically doing this will highlight your brand’s image.
Create games where it relates to the content of your trade show booth. Make sure it involves a lot of crowd participation where people are able to answer questions about your company, product etc

Don’t Forget To Follow-Up!

  • Find ways to get people’s contact information without uncomfortably putting them on the spot. Holding contests where prizes are involved is a great way to collect information. Winners will not feel hesitant in providing personal information to you if this is the case.
  • Use clear signage and stick to the theme of what your booth is trying to sell. It’s important that your contests attract the right buyers. Make sure your prizes are relevant!
  • Contests create buzz but it’s your responsibility to achieve sales. Act fast and strategic. Implement a way where you can sell while running them. Icebreaker games can ease the tension and give you more time to approach attendees, which can then lead to sales calls and emails.

Don’t Forget About Your Budget

  • Include prizes within your budget. Everything counts!
  • You’ll need more staff to help you out if you’re planning some in-booth activities. You’ve also got to factor in how much staff you’re willing to bring along so you don’t break the bank.
  • Avoid overspending on prizes. Your exhibit design is what matters. If it’s highly creatively, more people will swing by and check it out!

What contests should I run?

Here are some you can try out:

  • Prize Wheels
  • Counting Contest
  • Jumbo Games
  • Photo Contest
  • Arcade Games
  • Golf
  • Trivia

Suggestions for prizes?

  • Cash – May not be the best option because it lacks brand exposure, but hey, who doesn’t like free money?
  • High ticket items – (cars, holidays, expensive electronics) – These are pricey but if you have the budget for it, then by all means go for it!
  • A free trial of your service or supply of your company’s products. Free samples? Yes please! This will also help your company immensely because of the amount of brand exposure you’ll get too. It’s also relevant and useful for your target audience.
  • Mystery box giveaway – Because imagining what prize you’ll be getting is always fun. It will keep your audience excited too.

Contests can be stressful to organise but remember why you’re doing it! It’s a great way for attendees to join in for some light-hearted fun especially after hours of business travel. You’re doing them a favour more than anything.


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