Tips for Exhibiting at Conventions

By October 15, 2014 In the News No Comments

New York Comic Con has come to pass. After months of planning, it was over in the blink of an eye. This was the first con not only for Matt and I but also for Costume SuperCenter as a company. Some would say we were at a severe disadvantage trying to break into the niche at such a big event, but with the help of cosplayers, bloggers and seasoned con attendees, we put together a booth that was interesting enough to entice people to stop by.

Since we didn’t go to NYCC with the intent of selling anything, we’re judging our success by the amount of crowds and lines we had to check out the attractions at the booth.

So are you looking to exhibit for the first time at a convention? Do you want to revamp your exhibiting plans to widen your net to other niches? We’ll I’m here to share our knowledge in hopes of taking your next exhibitor booth to the next level.

  • Eye-catching Decorations

Costume SuperCenter BoothSince NYCC is in October and Halloween is in October, we thought it would be best to showcase what Costume SuperCenter does best. We scoured the website for a mix of scary decorations that we could use to deck out our 10’ x 10’ space. We had gravestones, spiderwebs, body parts galore and other gothic elements.

Our most talked about booth decoration was hands down our Supreme Edition Stormtrooper costume we had on display on a mannequin. Attendees stopped by to take pictures, to try to purchase it and ultimately try to win it!

This really depends on what your booth is about. Like I said, we’re all about Halloween, so a horrifying booth was great for the brand. Make sure your decorations are there to help work towards your goals and don’t distract from your mission.

  • Have Something Big to Giveaway

Supreme Edition StormtrooperThe ultimate goal of CSC exhibiting at the Con was to get our name out there and less about making the sales. Having done extensive work with cosplayers leading up to NYCC, we wanted to broaden our network and connect with the cosplayers we hadn’t already!

The marketing angle would’ve been a lot harder approach to take if we weren’t raffling off one of our collector’s edition costumes. The fact that we were giving away up to $1000 in product was incentive enough for attendees to leave their information with us at the booth.

The giveaway was a great method for us in terms of drawing people to the booth and starting conversations about who we are, what we’re doing and hear what our potential consumers want to see from us! It was easy to talk to people when our ice-breaker was, “Hey! Want to win $1,000-worth in costumes?” Everybody wants to win something.

  • Have Something Little to Giveaway

Costume SuperCenter SwagNot everyone wanted a chance to win our ultimate costume giveaway and although it was surprising, it was okay with us. We had other things to giveaway that would help everyone who passed by the booth to remember us by.

Since it was a COMIC Con, we thought bookmarks would be a great item to giveaway. No longer would people have to dog-ear the pages of the comic books, graphic novels or even text books. And if they actually utilized the special edition bookmarks we had created for just this occasion, they would constantly be faced with our website. It was the perfect way to keep our name constantly in their faces even after NYCC ended.

Another item of swag we knew would go over well with the attendees was buttons. Luckily during our planning Matt discovered that buttons were a hot collectible at cons so we knew we had to deliver some awesome buttons up. The comic book themed patterns fit right in with the whole weekend, so everyone was accepting of the freebies!

  • Have a Schedule of Attractions

Booth 1380 Special Guests ScheduleSince we didn’t bring along a warehouse full of products to our booth, we needed something to draw people to us. We have so many costumes, accessories and makeup at our disposal it only seemed fitting to showcase just that.

We split our booth between two different niche communities: cosplay and special effects makeup. We gave all of the cosplayers who signed at our booth with products to demonstrate how you can take store-bought products and modify them for cosplay.

We took the same approach with our makeup artist. She was given products to use for her extensive demonstrations. Her team worked tirelessly to transform two models and modify all of the costumes. We had so many repeat visitors because of all of the different things we had going on at the booth and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces each day!

  • Have a Street Team to Hit the Floor

Special Effects Makeup ModelAlthough it wasn’t easy for Matt and I to step away from the booth, we brought along people from the office to help us at the booth. While most of our time was spent talking to the people at the booth, we were able to send out people with things to hand out to drive other attendees our way.

The most effective tactic we had to get people interested in what was happening at the booth was when we sent the creatures our makeup artist created out and about to take pictures. In order for the street team to work, you’ll need to have something interesting walking around to spread the word. You won’t need a seven foot tall creature to necessarily achieve this however, it was awesome to constantly hear “The monster sent us here!”

In terms of exhibiting knowledge we gained, this is just a slight glimpse. But if you’re looking for a place to start when planning your own booth for any upcoming con, I hope we share enough to help!

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below!

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