How to maximize traffic to our booth at a tradeshow?


We're attending a large (for us, 20K attendees) convention soon and haven't attended a lot of conventions.

Obviously we want to maximize our presence.

How do we get folks to visit our booth? We are selling a new web app. Some ideas I have for folks that fill out a short (30s) questionaire:

  • Raffle off a tablet computer that'll run our web app
  • Perhaps have some contests (that earn them additional raffle entries)
    for "highest score" in the web app.
  • Raffle of free x month subscriptions.
  • Free shorter subscription for everyone.
  • Food that can't be pocketed. Maybe a cake with our logo, or maybe fondue.
What would you recommend, ideally based on experience?


asked Sep 26 '13 at 00:36
Clay Nichols
737 points

1 Answer


In my experience the put off's for me are

  • Staff looking bored (I don't want to talk to someone who looks like they don't want to be there)
  • Stall looking like no effort has been made to make it look good (I rarely pay attention to stalls that just have a TV in them or a company banner)
  • Freebies which are food or pens (I don't trust how old the food is, how it was prepared or what's in it (exception here is a catering/food show or bagged sweets), everybody else has pens.
  • That one guy trying to talk to everybody that walks past

Things to keep in mind (IMHO)

Explain who you are, without talking. I won't talk to companies that do not have any reading material to explain what they do. If you don't have a banner that says "We are company A, we sell this tool that does that task", I'm walking past.

People won't want to talk to you yet because they don't want the sales chat, They don't want the demo because they don't know what you do. Give them an idea before they hear your voice of what you do and let them make the judgement.

Don't harass me with the gun A lot of the conferences/shows I go to, there seem to be 2 objectives

1) Sell
2) Capture data so we can send them lots of emails

The 2nd is usually done by people running about asking "Can I just scan your badge", No you can't because if you do, you're going to sell me your product continuously via email. I see no value in this barcode gun, because if I didn't speak to you at your stall, why would I speak to you via an email after the show?

Go direct Go armed with business cards, I'm much more responsive with people who let me talk to them direct, not your sales team.

Freebies For me, the 2 freebies which are good: Bags and USB pens. Bags are good if everybody else is giving away plastic bags with a leaflet in, means I can stuff everything in one bag.

USB keys work because everybody needs more data and you can pre load them with material for your business (links, free demos etc). A previous company did this and gave away USB key's with video's of the companies work (it was a DM) so made sense but the cost was relatively high.

Know the technical's I've spoken to people about solutions and ask them about the technical details of the solution and they just have no idea what an SLA is, or what their database is built in or if there's an API. Make sure your team can answer the details and you have confident answers. Also helps if you can say who your other customers are who I might know.

I wouldn't go at everybody with the survey, it can be daunting, especially if they haven't had time to figure out what you do.

If your web app has competitors, be cautious of giving the trial too short. These people have jobs and to try the software will take time to set it up. If its too short, they just won't bother signing up.

answered Sep 30 '13 at 22:30
Adam C
81 points
  • Adam, good stuff! FREEBIES: If we're giving away $25 worth of the software to *everyone* who fills out a survey (which is designed by a recognized expert in their field, for them) and a raffle of another $600 of software and two galaxy Tabs, do you think we still need Freebies? And would good candy work as well? – Clay Nichols 5 years ago
  • I'd just rather spend my money on the 5% that are our target market. Happy to spend just as much but would like it targeted. We have some ways to encourage the folks who fill out the survey to tell others about it so we're hoping THAT is a big draw. – Clay Nichols 5 years ago
  • If you're quite a niche business then probably your approach of giving away free software/competition entry for entry in the survey is probably acceptable as there isnt going to be large number of entries. Sweets/Candy are probably a good thing for just attracting people to your stand so won't do any harm but obviously isn't going to generate £££ directly so might not be worth a massive investment. – Adam C 5 years ago
  • So if it was me, Id use the survey/competition entry/free software for those who show interest or use a similar product (This will keep the survey data quality high with data from your actual target customer base) and the candy as a maybe (if it can be done cheaply) for sowing the seed to the other 95% that they might later need your product but I wouldn't make a massive investment as they aren't your primary target. – Adam C 5 years ago

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