Getting noticed at a busy trade show is enormously challenging and also very stressful — because the clock is ticking down, and failing to “meet and greet” enough partners, prospects and customers means missing out on a golden opportunity, and wasting money and time.

Fortunately, you won’t suffer that cruel fate at your next trade show, because here are four proven, practical and powerful ways to drive traffic to your trade show booth, and enjoy ROI and benefits that continue long after closing time:

  1. Hold a Contest

Who doesn’t want to win a free trip, a free iPad, a free software license — or basically, a free anything? Indeed, trade show attendees love it when “free” and “win” are paired together: which is the formula for a fun and exciting contest. Just make sure that you get something in return for each entry — such as a business card or chance to provide a demo — and that you announce the winner on your website to increase post-trade show buzz.

  1. Run Workshops

Most booths will offer presentations and/or demonstrations, and if you plan on offering either then that’s fine: attendees are interested in both. But if you want to take things to another level, add workshops to your roster where an expert (or team of experts) run participants through what is probably a quick, but nevertheless meaningful learning event. After all, boosting knowledge is typically the number one reason that people to trade shows (that and the free lunch!), and running workshops help you satisfy that demand.

  1. Use a Professional Trade Show Display

 You only have a few seconds to capture attention at a busy trade show. The best way to make that happen is with a professional trade show display from a firm like the Landmark Sign Company. The whole package can include a banner stand, counter graphics, a table skirt, a full panel display and more. Plus, you can re-use these display items at future trade shows, as well as conferences, expos, workshops, and anywhere else you want to make an exceptional impression on your target audience.

  1. Create an App

 In the past, creating an app for a trade show was far too costly and complex for all but the biggest enterprises (e.g. Apple, Google, Cisco, etc.). However, these days it’s remarkably easy and affordable to create (or outsource) a functional and impressive app, which attendees can download to help improve their trade show experience. And of course, you can use the app to stay connected, launch flash contests and other updates, and stay engaged before, during and after the event.

The Bottom Line

Trade shows are investments — and not inexpensive ones, either — that need to deliver ROI: which means that you need to connect with as many partners, prospects and customers as possible (and maybe a few competitors as well to see who’s working for who, and who’s doing what!). The above tips will help you stand out, get remembered, and ensure that your trade show experience and investment is rewarding.