Home > Business, Examples > The Do’s and Don’ts of Contests at Trade Show Displays

The Do’s and Don’ts of Contests at Trade Show Displays


Attendees enjoy going to trade shows, not just to find out what new products are out there, but also to take something away from the show displays they stop by. One surefire way to get more traffic to your display and get leads is through contests and drawings. However, there is a correct and a wrong way to hold a contest at your upcoming event. Here are a few of the do’s and don’ts of using contests to boost your exhibit traffic.

Don’t: Use Just Any Prize
Sure, everyone would love to get their hands on a free iPad or technological gadget, but the chances that your company will be remembered long after the trade show are very low. Choose wisely when deciding on the item you want to hold a contest for.

Do: Have a Prize Related to Your Business
Having something related to your business is an excellent way to build your brand. Target this promotional product to your target audience and you will also be reaching out to new customers. One idea would be to give away one of your products or services.

Don’t: Expect Lots of Traffic without Doing the Work
It’s true that you’ll probably get more traffic trickling into your display system with a contest, but without the proper marketing measures, it will be difficult to get the results you want.

Do: Advertise Prior to the Trade Show
Use social media to connect with your audience, letting them know of the big contest, as well as the time and location. If your budget allows, sending out direct mail to your current customers is a great way to get them to your trade show booth. Start your marketing campaign at least a month prior to the show in order to give everyone an ample amount of time to plan for it.

winnerDon’t: Collect Business Cards in a Fishbowl
It may be convenient for both your staff and attendees to just leave their business cards in a fishbowl, but that is a much less personable. You may be bringing more traffic to your booth by doing this, but you will be missing out on the added benefits of face-to-face interaction.

Do: Keep Entry Forms with You
Instead of laying contest entry forms out for all of your customers and prospects to fill out on their own, keep them with you and your staff. The reason for this is it will require everyone to go to you, giving you the opportunity to meet these people face-to-face. After getting the chance to speak with them, you’ll be able to decide if they are in need of your products or services. Mark the entry forms of the “highly interested” attendees so that you can follow up with them after the trade show.

Having a spectacular trade show display is only half the battle when it comes to drawing in a crowd. Using these do’s and don’ts will help create a successful contest and get you the results you want.

What successes and failures have you experienced with Trade Show Contests?

Kristin Hovde
Smash Hit Displays

Kristin Hovde is the website manager and a regular blogger for Smash Hit Displays, an online trade show display company.

  1. March 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Loved the article.. This is what my company is doing at Exhibitor


    It’s been a great campaign!!


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