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interactive digital displays

Interactive Displays: Commanding a Digital Presence at Your Next Trade Show

Last fall, the NACS Show broke trade show records and attracted over 25,000 visitors.

With those kinds of numbers, you’ve got to learn how to stand out if you’re looking to not only garner attention at a trade show but also leave an impact on your attendees.

Investing in an interactive display in your booth or exhibit is one of the most unique ways to stand out in the trade show industry right now.

With the numerous opportunities they present for you in content, they’re transforming the way companies interact with trade show attendees.

Here’s how to make these creative displays work for you and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your next exhibition.

What Exactly is an Interactive Display?

All trade show booth displays should have some element of interactivity. They should tempt attendees to visit and interact with whatever the exhibitor is showing off.

However, an interactive display is a bit different. These are high-tech screens and kiosks that use displays in order to play interactive material or show off a company’s latest technology.

These displays should function almost as if you have an extra employee working for you in the booth.

They should invite and encourage attendees to interact with some sort of presentation, software, or content that you have on the screen.

These kinds of interactive displays can help you:

  • Show real-time social media updates
  • Direct attendees towards your booth using signals and signs
  • Tell a story about your company
  • Uniquely show off how a new product works
  • Turn visitors into actual paying customers

This, of course, isn’t an exhaustive list of interactive booth ideas and how you can make these kinds of displays work for you.

Learning how to correctly incorporate the display into your booth design while keeping your company’s branding in mind is going to be crucial to your overall trade show success.

How to Intelligently Incorporate an Interactive Display

Sure, you could purchase an interactive display and set it up at your next exhibition.

But, you’ll find that you get more return on your investment if you learn how to intelligently incorporate it into your trade show booth design.

Depending on your company, its products or services, and the kind of trade show you’re at, you’ll want to ensure that you’re using an interactive display in a way that makes sense.

Get a feel for the vibes before the trade show and ensure that your exhibition is going to be the most attractive to the general demographic of people that attend it.

Here are a few trade show display ideas that will help get you started.

Gaming with Multi-Touch Capabilities

Few things are more attractive to guests at a trade show than the chance to destress with a video game.

You don’t always have to promote your brand to ensure that guests are going to remember you. Instead, focus on offering them something of value, like fun.

At your next trade show, you can use an interactive display as a gaming tool. The more high-tech you can get, the better.

This means using the multi-touch capabilities of today’s digital tools and letting attendees play against each other or against an employee of yours.

Offer prizes if they’re able to beat your employee or get to a certain level.

If it makes sense, you can incorporate your brand’s story or whatever you’re selling into the game.

This doesn’t have to be a hard push, however. If you’re a plumbing company, simply set the video game in a similar setting to where you’d normally attend to guests.

Likewise, if you’re a legal company, make the game about a legal case that they have to solve. The opportunities here are endless!

High-Tech and Unique Visitors Lounge

Have you seen those digital menus at cafes and restaurants? Guests take their seats and a menu appears on the table with options for food and drinks.

They can swipe through the menu with the flick of a finger and view photos or videos of the daily special.

This kind of interactivity and use of digital media can really enhance your digital presence at your next trade show. Take the opportunity to use an interactive display like this as part of a visitors lounge.

You don’t even have to be directly selling anything to make this work. Find a unique way to work your brand or product into the menu.

Chances are, though, that if you sponsor a visitors lounge and feature interactive digital menu, guests are going to remember your brand without you having to promote anything extra.

Engaging and Magical Product Demo

If your product or service permits this without it seeming a little overdone, try to incorporate a little magic into the presentation.

One surefire way to increase booth interaction is to host demonstrations of your product throughout the day.

While you’re presenting the step-by-step process of how to use your product, you can have a visual representation and demonstration going on in the background.

Incorporate visuals, graphics, photos, music, and a little bit of magic. To do this, you can hire a professional trade show magician that can incorporate your product or company pitch into their act.

Make sure that they use the digital tools available to them in order to make things even more interactive and interesting.

Have an image appear and then disappear on the screen, or having something disappear into the screen only to appear physically in front of your guests.

Try to create a story around the presentation that weaves your product in and out of the adventure. Then, find creative ways to make use of a digital screen to really wow your guests.

Interactive Trivia to Increase Engagement

The great thing about interactive displays is that you can use them in so many ways. They make even normal trade show gimmicks or games seem new and updated.

Interactive trivia is a great way to increase engagement, and with modern technology at hand, you can use real-time data in order to have guests answer questions about what’s just happened at the event.

Or, you can use an interactive display to play “mind tricks” on your attendees and ask them to remember certain things on the screen.

These images or graphics should be related to your company, product, or service in some way as flashing them on the screen repeatedly is going to ensure that attendees remember your brand.

This kind of subliminal messaging will help foster connections between attendees and your brand while allowing them to enjoy the trivia they’re participating in.

If you’re going to go this route, it’s important to read up on current subliminal marketing trends and how they relate to virtual reality.

If you’re able to make the investment, it’s a wise choice to invest in virtual reality video creations and gear to enhance this effect.

However, incorporating virtual reality into your trade show booth design is a whole different subject matter.

Immerse Guests in a Visual Journey

What’s more impactful than immersing someone into a completely new world where they can go on a visual and sensorial journey?

Whether you’re using virtual reality or augmented reality, if you use them right, you’re sure to command a digital presence at your next trade show.

Take guests on a visual journey through your office spaces to bring them closer to the inner workings of your daily operations. Or, allow them to use augmented reality to simply find their way to your booth in the first place.

Take a look at the unique ways in which Skullmapping, for example, is using this kind of technology in order to create immersive experiences out of ordinary displays and settings.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t always have to include virtual reality.

Innovative real estate companies are using project mapping to show off plans for new construction sites or properties.

Cutting-edge environmental companies are using interactive displays to create 3D reconstructions of geographical areas that are feeling the effects of global warming.

Making a Digital Impact at Your Next Trade Show Event

Commanding a digital presence is easy to do, but doing it in a way that successfully converts your trade show booth visitors into lifetime paying clients requires a bit of work.

Learning how to correctly incorporate an interactive display into your trade show booth design can make or break your next exhibition.

Interested in getting help before, during, or after your next trade show?

Here at Metro Exhibits, we specialize in helping companies make the most impact by offering a complete portfolio trade show services and fabrication.

If you’re going to enhance your digital presence at your next exhibition, then we can help you set up before the show with our audiovisual and electric services.

Interested in learning more? Head over to our trade show services page and then contact us for specific pricing and details.

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b2b trade show

5 Reasons to Exhibit at B2B Trade Shows

Attending industry-specific B2B trade shows or events is an essential step for business growth. In fact, it’s so important that an estimated $24 billion is spent by companies annually to exhibit and display what they have to offer at trade shows and conferences.

Why is it important for businesses to attend industry conferences? B2B events are an ideal place to generate sales leads, debut new products or services, boost brand awareness, discover the latest technology, and check out what competitors and industry leaders are doing. As long as you carefully plan and budget your trade show, B2B conferences are money well-spent.

What Is a Trade Show?

By definition, trade shows are designed to bring together industry experts and business owners. They are intended for participants to display, demonstrate, and discuss their products and services. Trade shows are where new technology is unveiled, and business connections are made.

At a trade show, you can expect to find:

  • Exhibitors with informative booths
  • Workshops and presentations
  • Media
  • Networking events
  • Awards presentations

The top three trade show event marketing goals and strategies are to increase sales (83%), boost brand awareness (73%), and enhance product knowledge (53%).

Why You Need to Be Exhibiting at B2B Events

When you and your team attend trade shows, you have the chance to build new connections and develop long-lasting business relationships. If executed properly, trade show exhibitors boost brand awareness, successfully unveil new products and services, and outshine their competitors.

1. Generate Lucrative Leads

If you’re participating in a trade show, plan out a thorough strategy. Every event you attend is a chance to grow your business and expand your company’s customer base.

People who attend trade shows are in the right state-of-mind to be sold to. You should think of the entire audience as prospective leads. Most of the time, trade show attendees are motivated, interested to learn about your products, and may commit to a deal on-the-spot.

Before you head out to your B2B event, you and your team should establish key sales goals prior to the show. This will give your sales team a firm objective.

To make the most out of your trade show experience, you should:

  • Have a captivating and engaging trade show booth
  • Perfect your 30-second pitch beforehand
  • Research who will be at the conference ahead of time
  • Incorporate a call-to-action (like trade show pricing) to generate as many leads as possible

As you interact and engage with trade show attendees, document everything. When you exchange business cards with a prospect, write notes on it so you can keep track of all of your new leads. Always have a follow-up place in place after a trade show.

In the case that you don’t make any final sales during your trade show, your team will still be networking, which is always a plus. New connections build brand visibility and can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations.

2. Showcase New Products & Services

If your business is launching a new product or service, B2B events are the best places to show them off. A conference can be a highly effective place to launch your new product or service, but it takes a well-planned strategy in order to produce an impressive ROI.

Launching products at relevant trade shows maximizes exposure and directly connects the product or service with potential customers.

During your conference, incorporate a creative and interactive product display to drive consumer interest through the roof. The face-to-face interactions and hands-on experiences will linger in your customers’ minds, making them less likely to forget your new product or service anytime soon.

Weeks (maybe even months) before your B2B event, start generating interest around your new product or service. Use social media, email marketing, press releases, your business’s website, and other tactics to create anticipation. Event attendees will show up looking for the new product or service they’ve heard so much about.

Once you have the foot traffic at your trade show booth, make sure your sales team is delivering concise, yet informative, pitches to explain the product. Try to incorporate prizes or giveaways to keep the excitement level high. After building up so much anticipation for your new product release, you don’t want to let prospective consumers down.

After the event, make sure you’re following up with all of your leads to keep the ball rolling.

3. Build Brand Awareness

Attending B2B events is a great way to boost your brand’s overall visibility and increase your company’s awareness among consumers.

At a trade show, you and your team have the opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level. You can chat and network with people who may be interested in your business. Building solid relationships is a major foundation for growth in any business.

Small businesses can use trade shows to spread interesting news and boast business achievements. You can use the event to answer frequently asked questions current customers have about your products and services, so your new customers already have the answers. Offer in-depth demonstrations to explain how your product or service is best used and the value it brings to businesses.

Above all, trade shows are a way for consumers to put a face behind your business. Once people meet you and your team, they’ll be more likely to remember your business later. Face-to-face marketing and customer interactions are more effective than other forms of advertising.

Just how effective is in-person marketing? According to HubSpot Sales, nearly 100% of people claim face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships and the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%.

4. Check out Your Competition

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, right?

If you’re at a trade show, there’s a good chance your competition will be there, too. Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, use a B2B conference to learn more about your competition and discover what industry leaders are doing to boost their sales.

You’ll likely be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with big names in your industry. Take advantage of this opportunity by networking with these companies and learning more about their processes.

Check out their displays, listen to a sales pitch, and make notes of everything you learn. This way, you can make improvements for your next event and learn new tactics to boost your business’s growth.

Above all, at a B2B trade show, you’ll learn cutting-edge developments and industry news to help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Seminars and presentations will teach you about new processes and industry trends that have a significant impact on your business’s future growth. Therefore, attending conferences can help you keep tabs on your competition as well as discover new methods to stay ahead of them.

5. Discover New Technology

The world is always evolving, and your business industry is no exception. Attending trade shows gives you the opportunity not only to generate new sales leads but to also check out new technology that could drastically affect your company’s growth.

b2b trade show technology

Whether it be new software or technological equipment to make things run smoother at the office, you’re bound to discover something useful to your business at a B2B convention.

It can be overwhelming at first, but make it a point for each team member to learn about three new technologies or software programs that could increase business operations. If you can learn new technology before anyone else, it gives your business a strong competitive advantage.

Word to the Wise: Pick the Right Trade Show

Now that you know all of the advantages trade shows have to offer, it’s essential you pick the right ones to attend. Trade show exhibitions and tickets can become expensive, so be sure to only attend conventions that will provide a profitable ROI and a high chance of capturing clients and leads.

How can you decipher which trade shows are worthwhile to attend? By following these steps:

  • Establish a clear goal or objective to attain during your B2B event
  • Research your target demographic and only attend tradeshows catered to that group
  • Check out trade show calendars to get a glimpse of all of the different events offered throughout the year
  • Look into each trade show’s history (be wary of glamorous conferences that haven’t been around for too long)
  • Establish a budget and focus on events that fit it (keep in mind travel expenses)
  • Pick a trade show with a viable timeline you can work with and properly advertise for (you should schedule at least two months of prep time, if not more)

Once you’ve selected your trade show, conduct as much research as possible. The more you know about the audience who will be in attendance, the better you can design your presentation to create a lasting impression.

Prepare for Your Next Trade Show

B2B events are excellent experiences. They’re ideal places to meet prospective clients and network with potential business partners. At trade shows and conferences, you can expect to participate in informative workshops to advance your business and stay updated on the latest industry technology and trends.

If you’re considering attending a trade show, you’re going to need an exhibition that stands out against the crowd. Metro Exhibits provides first-rate exhibit services to help you crush the competition at your next B2B event. Contact us to learn more about what we can offer your team.

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international trade show

The Logistics of Preparing for International Trade Shows

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 27.9 million registered businesses in the country. That’s a whole lot of local competition if you think about it.

With such a competitive environment in the United States alone, it may be a good idea to consider new ventures.

Perhaps, it’s time you consider expanding your company’s global footprint and think about potentially setting up shop in foreign markets. International trade shows provide the perfect avenue to do that.

When exhibiting internationally, you get broad access to potential customers, partners, and global contacts. You also get the chance to objectively evaluate your product’s export viability based on the feedback (or lack thereof) you get from suppliers and distributors. Doing this is crucial before you make any huge financial commitment.

Taking part in an international trade show isn’t as daunting as you think. With the right amount of planning it’s actually a straightforward and simple process. Read on to learn how to prepare for an international trade show.

1. Research on Exhibiting Opportunities

The importance of this first step cannot be overstated. You need to research and find the right exhibiting opportunities that give your business the highest potential for growth possibilities.

Identifying where your target market is located may be a good place to start. You won’t want to exhibit in a country where there isn’t any opportunity for your business to grow.

Also, if this is your first time exhibiting internationally, and you have a tight budget, you are going to have to be a little picky when choosing which are the best opportunities for you.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Identify the international shows to start with that have the highest potential and go from there.

Great sources of information you can use include the Foreign Commercial Service, local and international banks, foreign embassies and consulates. You can also get in touch with trade associations, use the internet to check for upcoming events, or check out our handy trade show calendar.

2. International Trade Shows: Get the Timing Right

Just like any trade show, there is A LOT of planning involved and timing is everything.  One of the most important aspects of trade show planning, both internationally and domestically, is locking down your exhibit space at the event.  Most times, space allocation in trade shows is done on a first-come-first-served basis. Don’t leave it until the last minute to submit your applications to the show organizers.

Especially when it comes to an international show that you’ve never exhibited at before, the more time you allot to planning, the better.   There may be a different process for exhibiting at a show internationally than you are used to, so it’s important that you are prepared for any delays in that crucial first step.

international trade show planning calendar

Ideally, the best time to book space and reserve your spot should be between 12 and 18 months before the scheduled day of the trade show. Use that time to come up with unique trade show booth ideas to make your business stand out from the pack. Our pre-show marketing tips are a good place to start.

Most international trade show management companies have global sales offices. Get in touch with the global representative closest to you to iron out some of the finer details you might be unsure about.

3. Shipping Arrangements

The next step, of course, involves getting your products and equipment to the international show venue. The organizers usually offer trade show services that include incorporating an official freight forwarder to deal with all the shipping nitty-gritty.

The last thing you want to deal with on an individual level is arranging for licenses and declarations, invoicing, insurance, bills and sorting out all the other paperwork required. An international freight company takes this worry off your hands.

It deals with the movement of product samples and equipment between countries. If the equipment is destined to remain in the foreign country once the show ends, then there will be a duty charge assessed on the items in question.

4. Compliance with International Safety Codes

You need to be aware of the laws and safety standards of the country hosting the trade show. Some have very strict regulations regarding product testing and technical specifications that you have to comply with. It helps to engage a local consultant to guide you through the compliance process.

For example, there may be restrictions on what exactly you can bring into the country. Just like when anyone travels internationally, there are certain items that are prohibited to be brought with you.

Again, do your research. You may find that you might not even be able to promote your product in some countries, and that will be essential to know before you decide where you will be exhibiting.

5. Create Some Wiggle Room in Your Budget

If you’re not prepared, you might find that you’ve exhausted the funds you had budgeted to use for the duration of the trade show. Make sure your trade show budget has ample wiggle room to cater for unforeseen expenses.

international trade show budget

Some factors you need to consider include the costs of the venue location, shipping expenses, display banners and all the bells and whistles that bring your tradeshow idea to life. You also need to factor in the cost of graphics printing of promotional materials, prevailing exchange rates, staff costs, import duty… You get the idea. To be on the safe side, add an extra 30% to your budget as a contingency cover.

This is especially important if you are used to exhibiting at domestic trade shows.  Prepare for the additional expenses that are sure to come with exhibiting internationally, and evaluate if the potential benefit is even worth those added costs.

6. Get to Know the Country’s Union Policies

Lots of countries have trade unions with policies and regulations that must be respected and adhered to. Make sure you look them up and familiarize yourself with them before you take on any local contractors to ensure that you aren’t in contravention of any of them.

It helps to have someone close at hand who speaks the local language to be able to give instructions. Arrive well before the trade show commences to ensure you have ample time to sort out any potential issues that may arise.

7. Get the Pricing Right

If this is your first shot at expanding your business internationally, it’s important to understand that you may need to adhere to a different price structure for international clients and customers.

While you’re at the trade show, most customers will want the prices quoted in CIF. This stands for Cost, Insurance, and Freight. It’s a subtle way of letting you know that the buyer expects that you (the seller) will cover all the costs related to the loss or damage of the goods while they’re in transit to the export port.

As soon as the goods are loaded, the responsibility shifts to the buyer. So if your negotiating skills are rusty, now’s a good time to dust them off and give them a spin. You also need to be aware of other price factors like tax, and tariffs when quoting your prices.

8. Pre-Arrange for Payment

The last thing you need while at the trade show is to strike a deal with a potential customer only for you to be unable to receive their down payment. So, before you set off on your journey to the great unknown make sure you have your payment affairs in order.

The starting point is to find a bank that has international affiliations and discuss your expectations with them as pertains to transfer of funds, bills of exchange or any letters of credit you might require. Most customers you’ll deal with at the trade shows will expect to see your credit report before they can proceed to do business with you. So, ensure you have it handy with you.

9. Get Local Currency

At the risk of stating the obvious, when in Rome… get local currency! On a serious note though, it’s a rookie mistake to transact in dollar currency in a foreign land. That’s the number one way to get ripped off.

local currency for international trade shows

Use Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to get local currency. You may not be aware of this little tidbit, but using an ATM to withdraw currency gives you a much better rate that if you were to use hotels, or, foreign currency exchange bureaus.

Before you leave home, ensure you get enough local currency. You’ll need it to pay for your transportation from the airport to your hotel and a little extra to tip the driver along the way.

10. Use a Native Born Translator

Always insist on using a native-born translator to translate all your business communications and copy for international trade shows. It helps to have someone with some technical background of your industry to accurately convey the message.

Relying on someone who isn’t a native speaker of a language, to translate might result in them using slang, double-entendres and other colloquialisms that could leave you red in the face. Prepare translated catalogs, data sheets with metric measurements and product literature in the languages of most of the countries that will be represented at the show.

11. Don’t Compromise on Quality

Attending an international trade show is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. This isn’t the time to skimp on quality.

Customers expect high-quality products and exhibits that stand out in style, design, and innovation. Remember, there’s nothing new under the sun.

So if you want your products to compete with the locally produced merchandise, you need to be able to prove why your product is unique. It’s the only way you’ll gain acceptance.

12. Train Your Staff

This step of the preparation process is often overlooked. Your products could be amazing, and you could have ironed out every kink in the logistics of preparing for the trade show. But, if the individuals you’ve entrusted to represent your company at these events aren’t competent then it all amounts to a zero-sum game.

Train them on the different negotiating styles. They should exhibit cultural and conversation sensitivities. They need to know how to properly address visitors, maintain eye contact and give firm handshakes.

They should be aware of their body language. The whole point is for them to exude trust and sincerity.

After all, it is the key to creating and developing lasting business relationships. The success of your business hinges on the soft skills your business’ representatives possess.

The Final Word

Taking part in international trade shows is the first step to expanding your global presence. The opportunities available to you on the world stage are infinite. You only need to reach out and grab them.

Use the tips you’ve learned in this article to make that first step. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. What are you waiting for?

When you’re ready to take that first step and leap into international exhibiting, our team at Metro Exhibits has the capabilities and expertise to help you each step of the way.

Let us know how we can help you today!

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trade show follow-up emails (1)

How to Convert Leads with Trade Show Follow-up Emails (and Other Best Practices)

Whether you’re a trade show veteran or you’re new to it, there are always ways to improve your trade show tactics.

After all, there are tons of opportunities that are present at trade shows:

49% of trade show attendees intend to buy one or more of the products/services exhibited.

82% of these attendees have the authority to buy on behalf of their organization or business. 

A trade show gives you direct access to these key decision makers. But it’s not just about making contact or showcasing your product, it’s about how you follow up with your leads post-show. That’s how you close the sale.

Here’s how to close deals and convert leads with trade show follow-up emails and other best practices.

Trade Show Pre-planning

There’s much to be said about post-show actions and trade show follow-ups. But before you can think about post-event emails and lead follow-ups, you need to make sure that you’re on track months before your trade show arrives.

There are definitive marketing techniques for trade shows that one should follow leading up to the event. We also suggest creating a timeline for yourself so that you can stay on schedule and don’t miss any important details of the planning process.

Make sure you start planning months ahead, don’t leave yourself with little to no time to plan what your on-site call to action will be, or how you plan to steal the show with an amazingly designed exhibit.

Ensure that you have clear goals and understand why you’re participating in that particular trade show. Plan what it is that you’d like to tell potential customers when they stop at your booth. Simple informative brochures and catalogs in this day and age won’t work.

Get the word out. Make sure you start telling people way ahead of time that you’ll be exhibiting. Harness the power of your social media audience and do a build-up campaign to the trade show. Perhaps even run a special offer for those who follow your social media and visit your booth, not only will this encourage them to visit your display, but you could use it was a way to measure the impact of your social media campaign.

Capture Your Leads

You can’t launch a follow-up campaign without any leads.

Before you can action a post-show strategy and follow up, you’ll need to gather some information from your booth visitors.

Design Your Exhibit Strategically

There’s no point in placing a brochure rack right at the entrance to your exhibition stand. Hordes of people will simply walk past, grab a brochure and keep walking.

You don’t want to give show attendees the opportunity to pass you up. When designing your booth, think about doing it in such a way that people are invited to come inside, to interact with you and your brand.  This way they’re more likely to interact, ask questions and leave their details for follow up communication.

Perform a Game or Do a Giveaway

prize wheel trade show booth

Ever seen a prize wheel ready to spin? Human nature has you wanting to walk over and spin it. Entertain your booth visitors by ‘gamifying’ your exhibit and making it more interactive for people who choose to stop in.

Another great idea is to advertise a simple giveaway that entices trade show visitors to walk in, grab a little treat and perhaps leave their business card in the box.

Your End Goal

If your end goal is an email follow-up campaign, then obviously your goal during the trade show is to collect email addresses and other contact information. Make this a main priority and figure out the best way for you to collect those email addresses.

Trade Show Follow-up Emails

“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” ― Confucius, Chinese philosopher

You’re probably thinking, “Ok I’ve collected tons of email addresses…what next?”

Here’s a tip: immediate action is key.

Don’t wait until after the trade show to decide what your follow-up email message is going to be. You’ll want to plan this strategy well ahead of time.  You should have the email template designed and ready to launch just a few days after the show. Even a day or two after the show will set you miles ahead of your competition who may take weeks to send out their first line of post-show communication.

Your plan should be to make the first contact.  Odds are that there were a few businesses at the trade show that do exactly what you do, or sell exactly what you sell. Being the first to make contact already puts you a step ahead of your competitors.

Post-event email is a great way to make that first contact and potentially turn your lead into a customer. But make sure that you don’t use the same email for different trade shows. Consider putting the name of the show in the subject line, and even personalize your email campaign.

“Hi Daniel, it was great to meet you at XYZ trade show yesterday.”

But that’s not all. Offer a download along with your first email contact.

“Here’s a free e-book for you that might be helpful.”

Giving your visitors something useful, free of charge not only gets their attention but it also gives you a measurable way to determine which leads are genuine and give solid information to your sales team to act on.

Consider putting an image of your display in your follow-up email so that your recipient remembers who you are straight away. Keep in mind that they visited many exhibits during the trade-show, and this is a sure-fire way to help them sift through the chaos.

Thank You Goes a Long Way

thank you follow up

You heard it. A simple thank you goes a long way with the visitors at your booth. Bombarding them with a post-event email crammed to the max with information won’t get you very far.

But, a simple, “Thank you for visiting our booth,” will leave a lasting impression.

Few people remember to remember people.

Confusing, right?

Not really.

Thousands of people visit trade shows every year. How many businesses really place importance on thanking people for their time, at all?

A “thank you” to your visitors is a genuine and heartfelt message that can definitely set you apart from your competitors.

Record Everything

return on investment

In order to measure your success, you need to document everything.

Make sure you have a record of marketing collateral used, pre-event and post-event correspondence and the results it gained.

Report on your goals and how close you came to achieving them, or how far you overshot them.

Keep your budget clear. Make sure you know how much you spent on pre-event, during event and post-event marketing and branding. This way, you’ll be able to see how well you’ve done, and if your exhibiting experience was worth it.

You’ll be able to quantify whether the leads you gathered gave you a good return of investment. Also, you’ll be able to decide which trade shows have worked for you and your brand, and which you should maybe skip the next time around.

There’s no point in returning year after year to a trade show that hasn’t given you the results that you’d hoped for. Having documentation of everything to do with your trade show will allow you to make tweaks to disappointing campaigns, or overhaul your whole strategy if the results were extremely poor.

Tricks of the Trade Show

The trade show you decide to participate in is bound to have a few companies who do exactly what you do. But, there are other exhibitors who have the exact same audience you do but for a different reason.

For example; if your company installs fireplaces and there’s another exhibitor who installs fire alarms; you’ll have the same target audience, but you’re selling something different.

In this case trading leads and contact information is a win-win situation.

This is a great trade show tip in terms of return on investment.

Most trade shows have exhibitors with the same target audience as you. Why not trade leads and contact information?

Or go one step further, consider coordinating your post-trade show email campaign. Or even, offer a giveaway together if you can make contact with this other business before the event day.

Follow Up Often

One email is definitely not enough.

Many companies make the mistake of doing one simple follow up email. This is wrong. Most sales are made on the third or fourth attempt.

Your follow-up email campaign should be in stages.

Don’t give up on your first email sent.  Plan for a slow roll-out of various different follow-up messages, enough to keep your leads interested without overwhelming them.

Having said this, there is a fine line between smart marketing and irritating marketing. Make sure the messages in your email campaign aren’t overbearing, ensure that they don’t just say sell, sell, sell.

Your People are Important

Don’t forget that staffing at your trade show booth is also important. Having your best salespeople engaging with the show attendees is a guaranteed way to keep the conversation going. It can be one of the deciding factors whether or not an attendee will leave their information with you or not.

If you have to hire promotional staff to man the booth, make sure they’ve attended a pre-show briefing and that they understand your service or product.

There’s nothing worse than visiting an exhibit where a young person sits on their phone and isn’t interested in engaging with your visitor. There’s no better way to see your leads walk away than this.

Your exhibit staff should be able to speak in depth about the product or services you are offering.  They need to be able to treat people with utmost respect and attention, whether they are an employee of your company or not.

On Your Way to Trade Show Success

You’ve got your pre-planning on par, you’ve had a trade show experience that feels successful, now you’ve got to perform on your trade show follow-up email.

Remember, don’t give up. Plan your communication. Make sure your message is clear and relevant.

Don’t spam your email list. Give them something meaningful and your trade show follow-up campaign will be successful. Check out our blog for more great trade show tips if you find yourself overwhelmed with trade-show planning.

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8 Trade Show Marketing Techniques — Your Guide To Pre-Show Planning

Trade Show Marketing

Trade shows can bring your business a lot of benefits, including lead generation, brand recognition, and cost-effective advertising.

without trade show marketing leading up to the event, you won’t walk away with the results you wanted. And you need to get started long before the trade show date gets close.

Not sure where to begin?

Take a look at these pre-show marketing tips to help make your event successful.

Find Your “Why” and Set Goals

If you don’t set clear, attainable goals for your trade show, your marketing attempts—and the entire event—might not go as well as you’d hoped. How can you get the results you want if you don’t know what those are?

So the first step of trade show marketing is finding your “why” and setting goals.

Figure out exactly why you are exhibiting at this trade show. Exhibiting at a trade show is no small expense, especially at larger events. Think of the long term planning as well as the costs of the booth and space itself. Will it be worth the investment in the long run? Once you discover the reason for having your company represented at a trade show or convention, it’s time to set clear goals.

Make these goals specific.

For example, instead of saying you want to generate new leads, write down exactly how many you want, how you plan to get them, and how to follow up with them after the trade show.

This will direct your marketing efforts and set you up for success.

Design Your Message

You need to create a compelling and clear CTA before you set up your booth day-of. Otherwise, your potential leads might fall through the cracks. Even if they like your product, they won’t know how to contact you, how to buy it, or what else they should do.

Before you start marketing, design your trade show booth and message.

How will the attendees remember you? How will you stand out from the crowd? How will you represent your brand?

Answer these questions first. They might help narrow down your marketing strategy.

This, in turn, ensures your products are both valuable and different.

Start Planning Several Months in Advance

Give yourself plenty of time to plan and run marketing strategies before the trade show.

It’s a good idea to start planning 12 months in advance. But if you can’t make this timeline work for your business, give yourself at least six months to get ready before the trade show.

Don’t wait any longer than this. If you do, you’ll end up rushing through marketing techniques, run out of time to use them effectively, and not get the results you want.

Also, it is good to build in extra time in your planning timeline to account for any setbacks you may have. There are many things that may go wrong along the way. Being prepared for worst-case scenarios will cause less stress and less last minute decisions in the event something does happen.

Pick Your Marketing Methods

One marketing campaign isn’t enough to gain attention for your trade show. Instead, you should choose multiple different methods and use them all.

Why?

Different marketing strategies will allow you to reach different audiences on different platforms. Multiple marketing campaigns are always better than one, even if that one is seemingly perfect. Having multiple marketing strategies also allows you to hit your target audience multiple times, perhaps making you stand out and be more memorable.

Here are eight types of pre-trade show marketing techniques you should consider.

1. Build a List of Outreach Contacts

Start your marketing by creating a list of contacts for outreach. These contacts can consist of your current customers, known prospects, and other contacts.

Let these people know you’re going to be at the event. But don’t stop there. You should also build up the trade show itself. This can encourage people to go if they weren’t planning on it originally.

This will also ensure you have as many potential clients and customers there as possible.

You can also build a list of registered attendees. Since they’re already going to the trade show, let them know you’ll be there and where they can find you.

2. Promote on Social Media

Social Media Marketing

Nearly 80% of people in the United States have at least one social media profile. Many of them have several. Odds are that’s also where most of your audience is, so it’s the perfect place to promote the event.

There are a few different ways you can do this.

You can post about the trade show on your social media accounts. Let your audience know what it’s all about and that you’ll be going. Inform them where exactly they can find you on the trade show floor.

Also, if you have any incentives, giveaways, or games planned, be sure to note this in your posts as well. It can build up excitement and give attendees more of a reason to stop by and visit your booth.

You can also make short videos to catch their interest.

Videos are a more exciting and interactive way to deliver your message and will also be more memorable for your audience.

But don’t rely on your posts alone.

Create some targeted social media ads as well. These ads can get clicks from a much larger audience. With targeted social media ads, such as on Facebook, you can choose the demographics, age, gender, work, education, etc. of who you want to reach with your posts.

This ensures that you are reaching exactly who you need to with your messaging.

3. Launch an Email Campaign

Launching an email campaign is a quick, cheap, and effective way to market for an upcoming trade show.

It also gives you a way to track how much engagement your emails are getting. By looking at click-through rates and open rates, you can get a good idea of how many people are interested in the event.

Your email campaign should consist of several different emails. To begin with, you should send an introductory email about the trade show to let people know that you’ll be attending.

Depending on who you are targeting with these emails, there is a chance they may not be knowledgeable about the event. Provide them with a brief summary and information about what they can expect from your company if they attend.

After that, you’ll have to send follow up emails to remind them (we’ll touch more on that below).

4. Harness the Power of SEO

seo optimization

Don’t forget to use the power of SEO in whichever marketing strategy you choose.

For example, create a sharable blog post on your website announcing that you will be exhibiting at the trade show. Be sure to find the right keyword density, write attention-grabbing headers, and use appropriate images. Also, make sure the page is SEO optimized in terms of titles, length, linking, etc.

When using Google Ads, they won’t be very effective if you don’t know what type of trade show keywords people are searching for.

Do your research.

Find out what it is people are searching for, and make sure your ads and campaigns are all SEO optimized to meet the needs of what your audience is searching for.

5. Send Direct Mail

While direct mail marketing may not be as common as email marketing, it’s far from dead. In fact, sending direct mail to your contacts can be an effective way to make them aware of your event. Saying this though, if you have a number of contacts across various platforms and you know it will take a long time to send an email to each person, using programs that provide a contact syncing feature can make this a whole lot easier.

Here’s how.

By sending something like a postcard—especially one in an interesting shape, you put the trade show on people’s minds long before it happens. But not only that, the postcard stays in their house. That means, depending on where they keep it, they’ll see it every day.

This not only reminds them of the event, but it can also build excitement.

While this is a good strategy for anyone, it works best for people you already know will be attending the event. So find that list you made of the trade show register attendees and send them some direct mail.

6. Use Targeted Marketing Methods

There are a few, more targeted marketing methods you can also use when it comes to trade shows.

For example, you can work with the trade show managers to get discounted registration fees or free passes. You can then offer these to your customers to help encourage them to show up.

Save these for people you know will be high-potential visitors. Then, if you can, set up appointments for these people during the trade show. You can even set up a smaller event for your customers during the trade show itself.

Let yourself get creative with targeted marketing approaches.

7. Build a Landing Page

You may want to consider building a trade show landing page. Make sure this page includes your CTA and more information about the event. You may also want to include extra resources your customers might find helpful.

Most importantly, like in any email marketing you may do, state where your booth or display will be located at the event. This makes it easy for those who are interested to find you during the show. You want to make it easy as possible for potential clients to find you, or they won’t bother to go out of their way at all.

If you do choose to create a landing page, don’t forget to make the landing page mobile-friendly.

After all, almost 60% of all internet searches come from mobile phones. If your content isn’t responsive, you might lose a potential client.

8. Follow up with People

Remember when we said you would have to follow up with people as part of your marketing campaign? Don’t forget this step! Otherwise, people who were planning to go might forget and not make it.

So here’s what you need to do.

  • Three Months Before the Trade Show

Email your contacts a “save the date” notice. Make sure you include your booth number and any incentives in this email.

  • One Month Before the Trade Show

Create some social media posts that have the date and your booth number. If you’ll be using any hashtags during the event, include these in the posts as well.

  • Three Weeks Before the Trade Show

Send out another email with all the information your guests will need to know. This includes things like your booth number, promotional giveaways, CTAs, and more.

  • One Week Before the Trade Show

Make several social media posts about the trade show to keep people updated. You can post about your booth number, other highlights about the show, information about the surrounding area, trade show tips, and giveaways.

  • The Last Days Before the Trade Show

Use your social media to post pictures of you traveling to the event. Take pictures of you setting up your booth, and create “almost time” pictures to share.

Set a Marketing Budget

trade show marketing budget

Before you get carried away with these pre-trade show marketing strategies, make sure you set a marketing budget. If you don’t, the costs can add up fast.

Picking the Best Trade Show Marketing Tips

If you don’t take the time to do some pre-show marketing before your event, you won’t get the results you want. Trade show marketing is one of the most important parts of your event, so don’t forget to start early!

Need some help getting ready for your trade show?

We can help! Click here to take a look at some of our trade show services.

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