My local farmers market had a â€œVote 4 Your Favorite Boothâ€ contest.Â While the contest was active, I noticed that the fruit vendors were much more engaging and the amount of free samples increased dramatically.Â The fruit stands had become more customer-friendly as a result of the competition.Â This was a great thing.
I immediately thought â€“ virtual trade shows are a lot like farmers markets â€“ how about creating a similar contest?Â Letâ€™s consider a â€œVote For Your Favorite Booth Contestâ€ at your next virtual trade show.Â The benefits:
Attendees Take Notice
The contest causes attendees to take notice, especially if you offer up prize(s) for voting.Â The contest provides attendees a framework (and context) for their booth visits.Â Now, when they enter any exhibitor booth, they are paying more attention to whatâ€™s there, to judge the current booth to other booths they visit.Â Ultimately, they will need to determine their top vote, which requires a certain level of engagement and awareness as they move from one booth to the next.Â And thatâ€™s a good thing for exhibitors.
Exhibitors Boost and Optimize their Presence
Ever sell a home or condo and host an open house?Â I bet your home was de-cluttered and nearly spotless.Â And I bet some of you baked cookies for the occasion.Â A booth contest is a lot like the open house: the host knows that its visitors will be evaluating the space.Â This results in:
- More captivating and refined booth imagery
- Booth content that aims to please (the visitor)
- A higher level of booth staffers
- More engagement from booth staffers (just like at the farmers market)
With everyone â€œraising their gameâ€, this means that exhibitors win and attendees win as well.
SaaS: Sampling as a Service
In the picture above, a fruit stand placed a large assortment of samples in labeled bins, allowing visitors to sample for themselves. I call this Sampling as a (Self) Service!Â The idea here is to allow â€œprospectsâ€ to sample your â€œproductsâ€ (on their own) and then have a â€œstafferâ€ come by to see if they have any questions.
The same could be done in a virtual trade show. Place your products in your virtual booth and allow visitors to take them on a test drive.Â Let them do their thing, but check in with them from time to time to see if they need assistance.
Hereâ€™s how the booth contest could be run:
- Heavily promote the contest prior to the event
- Educate and inform exhibitors on the ground rules
- Create meaningful incentives for attendees to vote
- Announce the winner two-thirds of the way through the event. This leaves the remaining one-third of the event for the winner to receive the benefits (traffic to their booth)
- Create a badge or logo that the winner can place on their web site and share via social networks
The virtual booths at some events can be underwhelming.Â A contest can encourage and motivate the exhibitors and create a win/win/win for attendees, exhibitors and you.
(This article reprinted with permission from It’s All Virtual.)