trade show marketing

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

ID-100224522Happy New Year! Here’s to a prosperous year, one where your business excels in every way. So what are the best ways to succeed marketing your business? Here are some upcoming trends that may help you get ahead:

Economics

Although the economy seems to be recovering, trade shows are still feeling the pressure. Your company needs to maximize its marketing dollar to get the most out of each attendance. If you can’t afford the investment in a trade show booth, look for ways for your marketing materials to do double duty. You can even consider renting a booth and using banners and other marketing materials, until your success proves that the investment is worthwhile. Booking your trade shows early to save costs can help as well.

Measurement

Every investment needs proof of its returns; the same goes for your company’s investment in trade show marketing. Arm yourself with information, balance costs with returns. Track your expenses, but also track the number of visits, as well as those that are definite prospects. After the trade show you can work on converting prospects into clients.

Trade Shows = Great Marketing

More and more buyers are looking for an in-person experience prior to committing to a purchase; a trade show offers the perfect venue to let major players test out new products and services – particularly when it comes to B2B marketing. Rather than focus on phone calls and other marketing methods, set more time aside to meet potential buyers face-to-face.

Savvy Buyers

Today’s buyers like to research before they buy, or before they attend a tradeshow. Make sure your internet presence is solid – you should have an informative, great-looking website, as well as accessible marketing materials, including demo videos if possible. The more potential buyers can learn about your product, the better.

Promote More!

Regular marketing doesn’t cut it anymore; you need to work harder to get the message out. Social media is a key element here; but so is word-of-mouth marketing, promotions, and even contests. Find unique ways to get the word out about your event.

Social Media is Key

Where traditional marketing methods may not be as effective, social media is an incredible tool to help promote your trade show. Before, during, and after trade shows you should be using any and all social media channels available to you in order to encourage followers to come and check out your booth. You can also promote events, promotions, or special giveaways during a tradeshow to attract attention.

Better Promotions

Setting up a booth and handing out brochures isn’t enough these days; if you want to bring in leads you’ll need to offer something in return. You can offer something physical such as something branded by your company – a pen, thermos, keychain, etc. You could also offer an intangible benefit: knowledge. Offer free advice, or a way to get more out of the product you of are selling.

Digital Trade Show Booths

Trade show marketers used to get by with the same booth, show after show, only exchanging a banner here and there for a different look. By adding an LCD TV or computer screen you can change the look of your trade booth, or promote a different product, without having to pay for new promotional material. Between trade shows your digital components can run double-duty in other areas of your business.

Interaction Engages Visitors

While you’re updating your trade show booth with technology, you might want to work on increasing engagement through interaction. Tablets and touch-screen can help visitors engage with your product, explore new features, or view how-to videos. The more you can engage trade show attendees, the more likely it is that they will become buyers.

Lighter Materials

For national trade shows you can save significant cost shipping your trade show by investing in today’s lighter, stronger trade show materials. Tension Fabric Trade Show Displays are not only lighter and cheaper to ship; they’re printed using vibrant, dye sublimation printing and they look great and make your company look great in return. Additionally you can get more distance out of your trade show booths by incorporating trade show materials into existing displays, such as on your sales floor.

Qualified Leads Equal More Sales

Handing your salespeople a list of prospects and expecting them to turn them all into sales – they need more information. You’re better off to pare down your list to only include leads you feel are ready to talk to a sales person – that way sales can spend more time on working each individual prospect for a better closing rate overall.

Photo Credit: Gubgib