Angela

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Visual Marketing Trade Show BoothsIf there’s one clear advantage of visual marketing in trade show booths, it’s the ability to capture and maintain the attention of trade show attendees. As we all know, getting attendees to stop at your booth is a vital step towards capturing leads.

Visual marketing in trade show booths combines printing, and digital content to maximize your trade show booth’s impact and helps to convey your message in a memorable manner. The best way to do this is with a simple, impactful design that captures attention. Here are a few things to think about:

 

Pictures increase engagement

Use graphics to create an emotional connection with visitors and encourage them to learn more about your company. What makes for an engaging graphic? It should attract attention, but also be relevant to your brand and messaging. Don’t use kittens to sell your sports products, or happy families to sell technology.

Original visual content

The last thing you want is to invest in visual content strategy, only to find out that another booth at the same trade show is using the same stock photos. Create unique video content or images, using custom graphics and original shots of your actual products and employees. With the cost and weight of large monitors coming down dramatically, adding a large video presentation to your booth is an eye catching alternative. Showcase the great features and benefits of your products via stunning video graphic presentations.

Include calls to action

Once you’ve attracted a visitor’s attention with your graphic or display, you want to help them decide what to do next – which is why a call to action is essential. Here are some samples:

“Request a free product demo!”

“Receive our free whitepaper”

“Sign up for a free estimate.”

Etc.

Visual Marketing in Trade Show Booths Reflects your brand

The graphics, visuals, colours, and tone of your displays should match your brand. No whimsical lettering or imagery for a serious brand, or a serious tone for a fun and upbeat brand. Ensuring your visual messaging matches your brand helps visitors to connect, which means they’ll be more willing to hear a pitch from your salespeople.

Check the big picture

What does your visual marketing message look like to attendees? When you’re creating trade show graphics make sure important text or your focal point are clearly visible from 20 feet away. In regards to text, here are some suggestions for the correct text size to ensure maximum visibility.

Finally, you can increase your engagement by combining visual marketing with social media, including graphically-based social media channels, including Pinterest or Instagram.

Please contact us for some free creative input on creating  visually stunning trade show graphics.

Photo credit: Twobee

ID-10075109Why do trade show event organizers charge so much for booth space? For one, because they know that companies will pay it – and they will pay it because trade shows are well worth the investment. Trade shows provide companies a huge opportunity to forge new connections with people interested with what you offer. Once you leave the trade show, however, the organizer’s involvement ends and your company takes over. What you choose to do with the information will affect the success of your trade show. What is meant here is that your ability to record and follow up on the information you gather will ultimately determine how much business you create as a result of your trade show participation.

What to do with Business Cards

At the least, when you leave a trade show you’ll have a stack of business cards or a notepad of contact information. Your first order of business should be, at the very least, to input the data into a spreadsheet or sales software program. The longer the information goes un-catalogued, the more likely it is that your company won’t act on the information.

Tip – Ideally, have someone (or take shifts) enter contact information into a spreadsheet during the trade show, so your team can start making calls as early as possible. A business card scanner can help expedite this process.

Encouraging Information Collection

Half the battle at a trade show is encouraging visitors to part with their information – so your company needs to put together a plan for gathering this info, preferably offering a type of incentive. Probably the simplest method is to offer a draw for free products or services related to your company in exchange for contact information. However, you can pre-qualify your leads by having them fill out a brief questionnaire to ensure that you only contact leads with the best chance of a sales conversion.

Data Collection Methods

What is the best way to collect lead data at your next trade show event? There are a few different methods; the best depends on your access to technology and your ability to incorporate/promote said technology into your trade show booth. Here are a few options:

1)          Tablet or Computer: Encourage visitors to enter contact information

Pros: Easily upload contact information into your system.

Cons: You can only capture the information of visitors directly at your booth.

2)          Text Message: Have visitors text a keyword to a text-only mobile number, including their contact information to receive an entry or promotion.

Pros: Easily to upload contact information, promote via social media, get information from people not directly in front of your booth.

Cons: Your company needs to promote the code heavily on marketing material, websites, emails, etc. to ensure everyone sees it.

3)          QR Code: Add a QR code to your marketing materials that opens an information sheet that they can fill in for entry.

If your event organizer is also collecting participant data, ask for an electronic copy of the information and include it in your marketing efforts for future contacts. The same applies to ongoing collection; your website should have a form or email capture system to pick up leads that land on your website looking for information.

Lead Follow-Up

Before each trade show begins, once you’ve decided on the method of lead capture, establish a timeline for lead follow-up. Ideally this follow-up will be executed on a number of different channels, such as electronic, mail, or personal contact. By targeting your leads in different manners, rather than sticking to one method, your company will have a much better chance of establishing two-way communication.

Your follow-up schedule should include the following:

–          Timing: How long after lead capture should the message be sent?

–          Method: What is the format?

–          Message: What is the message?

–          Next Step: What is the next step you are encouraging your lead to take?

–          Responsibility: Who is responsible for ensuring the message is sent? Who will contact be sent to?

Having a centralized document can help everyone stay on top of where each contact is in the sales funnel each contact, as well as what is to happen next. Ideally, all initial follow-up should be automated to ensure no one is left out.

Messaging

So what should each message say, and exactly when should you sent it? Here’s a suggestion:

–          Immediately send a text message or email thanking the contact for connecting and for providing you with their info. You can also confirm entry into a sweepstake, provide a coupon code, or offer a sales incentive.

–          Within 2 days send an email containing trust-building content (free information, tips, etc.) and invite readers to get in touch/follow via social media.

–          In 3-7 days leave a voicemail making a special offer, with a deadline.

–          4-6 weeks after (and every 4-6 weeks afterwards), make contact via voicemail, email, or text. Communicate sales or trust building info to encourage communication or a visit to your website.

–          Use regular social media posts to keep in touch with your followers, encourage new followers, and communicate about new products and promotions.

Applying a cross-channel marketing strategy that is moderately automated helps to reduce the workload of sales staff and helps contacts feel like they are valued throughout the year, not just immediately after the trade show.

Next Steps

Put together your company’s a) marketing plan, b) messaging, and c) schedule, as well as a method of capturing and tracking leads – and make sure everyone in your company is aware of the plan. Put it into practice, see how it works, assess, and revise!

Photo credit: Renjith Krishnan

business strategy processImagine that you could have a targeted audience, an audience that is looking for a product or service in the area you offer. Not only is this audience delivered directly to your doorstep, they are interested in what you have to say! This is the power of trade shows; they provide a venue for sellers and buyers to come together on equal ground.

However, you can’t just set up a booth and dive in; you have to take the time to develop a targeted marketing strategy that specifically appeals to your audience and encourages them to want to learn more. But is it really worth the effort? Here’s why you should consider investing in trade show marketing:

Efficiency

Rather than (or only than) advertising over the airwaves or through print mediums, where you will only hit a small amount of your target audience, why not go where everyone is your target? For example, as a caterer who specializes in weddings you could advertise in a local newspaper where a percentage of readers may be brides, or you could attend a wedding show where a huge percentage of attendees are looking for your exact services.

The more you advertise, the more it costs to capture leads – particularly when you have no guarantee of reaching a large target audience. Trade show marketing may appear to cost more on the surface, but in reality they are delivering the public to your door in large numbers.

Leads Ready to Buy

At a typical trade show, you won’t encounter as many “lookee-loo’s” as you would in a store setting; people specifically attend trade shows to look for a particular product or service that they are aiming to purchase. Most attendees are looking for an easy way to compare products and prices for their selected product, without having to drive around or spend hours on the phone collecting prices. What a trade show provides is focused, isolated leads that let you cut through the noise and get direct access to ready and willing buyers.

For this to work your business needs to do two things. First, it has to find trade shows that attract the particular type of buyer you are aiming to influence. Second, your trade show marketing plan needs to be able to be noticeable amongst the crowd of other suppliers, so your product or service is remembered after attendees leave your booth.

Low Risk, High Return

What are you risking by exhibiting at a trade show? Sure, made an investment in a booth, marketing supplies, and exhibition fees, which are all part of marketing your business. Other than that the sky’s the limit, only held back by your ability to promote your product efficiently, collect qualified leads, and have your sales team follow up on those leads after the trade show has ended. There’s really no risk involved; as long as you are properly prepared you can expect to succeed.

On the flip side, if you don’t exhibit at trade shows that are frequented by your competitors you are automatically losing out; odds are that one of them will get the sale. Typically attendees aren’t going to leave a trade show that had a range of suppliers, return home, and then contact additional suppliers for quotes – your lack of attendance is certainly costing you sales.

Marketing Power

As mentioned, the cost to market via trade shows is much lower on a per-lead basis than other forms of advertising, if you market effectively. It is also vital to track your results from start to finish so you can see exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to trade show marketing. Here are some tips:

  • Look at the big picture: How many trade shows are you attending each year? Which trade shows give you positive results? Could you improve your marketing investment by attending less trade shows, or more?
  • Develop a process: From lead gathering to follow-up and final sale, your team needs a clear process to follow. How soon should follow-ups occur? Is there a script to follow? Clarifying these details can result in improved closing statistics.
  • Communication is key: For the process to work all of your employees need to be on the same page, not just the sales staff.

Finally, don’t overlook the importance of a good trade show booth design and how it meshes with other marketing materials. Looks may not be everything, but first impressions certainly count, so it can pay to have a professional designer work with you to communicate your company’s brand and message in a sophisticated, yet simple manner.

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