Should I Give Away Literature at My Trade Show?
This is probably the most common strategic question that an exhibit marketing professional faces. When asked for my opinion, my reply is “reluctantly”.
The biggest problem with literature in the booth is not the cost, weight or other logistical problems, it is that the “do you have any literature” line coming from a prospect is the worst blow off that a booth staffer can get. Once the literature is handed to the attendee, it is very difficult to keep the conversation going. What's more, a large portion of the literature ends up in the convention center trash cans.
You do need to have some literature available in the booth but you can extend a conversation and gather much more critical information from the prospect by offering to deliver or send the literature after the show. You come away with a completed lead card and have the opportunity to schedule a follow up call or visit. Providing literature in the form of a DVD or other digital media has more perceived value and is more likely to be taken back to the office than traditional printed pieces.
Using this approach reduces costs in shipping, drayage, rental of literature racks and helps the environment by reducing the amount of brochures in convention center trash cans. We can help!
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Apple iPad New Cutting Edge Techology
Apple introduced their latest product the iPad with much fanfare yesterday. As a person who buys new technology the first week that it is available – this was pretty exciting.
Apple products are consistently on the cutting edge of technology. The iPhone and iPod touch have sent millions of people to the iTunes store and given them access to over 100,000 free or low cost applications.
Now those applications will be able to work on a much more versatile platform. Unfamiliar with this new device, check out Apple’s demo on youtube.
How will trade shows benefit from new iPad technology?
- Trade Show Attendees Armed with iPads
At tech-oriented shows, you can expect to see many trade show attendees carrying iPads on the show floor. This presents an opportunity for video demonstrations of products, literature and other sales related info in a digital format – loaded onto the attendee’s iPad right in the trade show booth.
- Video and Photos
Here is an opportunity to include multiple photos and video clip e-versions of pre-tradeshow emails that attendees would bring to the show floor. Once you have set up the connection with attendees, you can easily send updated information or invitations to presentations, hospitality suites or social events.
- Lead Retrieval and Demos
With the iPad, trade show exhibitors have the ability to create electronic lead cards on the same device that’s playing a demo. The entire interaction between booth staff and prospect could be scripted with lead card questions inserted into the presentation. Information gathered can be immediately sent to the marketing or sales department for fulfillment.
- Attendee schedules
Most tradeshow websites provide an attendee schedule function. The iPad will provide a way to enhance this feature and allow promotional messages to be included when attendees add an exhibit to their schedule.
- In the Exhibit
Install an iPad in information kiosks or product information stations to allow prospects to read detailed information or watch promotional videos. Here again, touch screen capability would allow for attendee interaction.
Technical and medical exhibitors can provide electronic journals or white papers as booth giveaways providing additional promotional opportunities.
As the use of the iPad becomes more common, attendees will start expecting the technology in your exhibit to keep up! Find out the Top 10 Trends in booth design and marketing. Download our FREE trend report. What do you think? Will the iPad work for trade shows?
Establish Goals and a Strategic Plan Before the Trade Show
I believe that the best way to choose a spot is to take the time to study the likely behavior of the attendees. At medical shows, there are normally a large number of educational sessions and the path that the attendees will follow will be into the exhibit hall directly from the meeting rooms.
Certain other attractions for attendees are worth considering, if there are large dominant exhibitors in the show it may pay off to be close to these booths. Close proximity to catering, lounge areas, restrooms or association booths could also be considerations.
Marketing executives, who have experience in retail, often opt for “end cap” or peninsula booths. These spaces normally have very restrictive rules pertaining to exhibit design that can turn out to be a disadvantage. Sometimes high volume traffic is undesirable. Too many “tire kickers” can distract the booth staff and allow the real prospects to get away.
I have read about a study conducted at a major national show where RFID sensors were placed in the badges of attendees so that traffic patterns and time studies could be analyzed. The area that got the most traffic and held the exhibitors for the longest time was an area just right of center and just a little farther than halfway into the exhibit hall.
In summary, there is no one answer to picking the right spot. You need to establish goals and a strategic plan and then carefully study the entire show /convention schedule to maximize your return.
Download our FREE report and maximize your return on investment. Get the facts so you will have the best booth space on the floor.
Tradeshows represent a big investment. The cost of the exhibit and related services and utilities are just the beginning. Travel and lodging costs for staff will often double the total cost.
Optimize your return on investment with some supporting promotion.
At a major show, the average trade show attendee will spend more than 2 minutes in just 26 booths. There are in excess of 1000 booths in most major shows!
You should do everything possible to increase the chances that your booth will be one of these 26 for your most important prospects. Some promotion is easy, and also either cheap or free! You should touch every base for every conference where you exhibit.
- Modify your email signature
- Contact all of your prime prospects to set appointments
- Put a notice in every shipment
- Mention your booth number in your ads
- Put a banner ad on your own website
- When you invite people to your booth, tell them what’s in it for them
- Take the time to fill out the show’s exhibitor profile
- Take advantage of any publisher-offered opportunities for pre-show publicity
- Wear your logo shirt or badge at all times
- Use Social Media to create excitement about your booth
Following these basic promotion tips will attract the most important prospects! Lets Get Started.
Ever considered a Hospitality suite to improve your trade show results?
Many successful exhibitors use hospitality suites to provide additional sales opportunities at shows. This is normally a meeting room or suite in the headquarters hotel or a hotel attached to or near the convention center. The room is set up with comfortable furniture, televisions and is catered providing snacks and beverages of all types. There are often displays set up that provide promotional opportunities for the exhibitor’s new products or services.
The room provides a place to meet before, during or after show hours with important clients or prospects and encourages longer meetings and conversations. An invitation to a hospitality suite is a good way to keep from spending precious prospecting time in the booth talking to customers. The suite can also provide a good place for the entire booth staff team to get together and discuss strategies. This private room is a much better place to conduct important meetings than the booth, a restaurant or bar.
Customers and prospects feel like they are being treated as VIP’s when they are invited to the suite.
The challenge is to get attendees to take a portion of their limited time at the show and spend it in your suite. The suite usually works very well for customers but prospects are less likely to take you up on your invitation.
Suites can be rather expensive but if used properly can be an effective tool in getting the maximum results from each show.
Our on-site tradeshow specialists can maximize your trade show results.
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Attracting the ideal visitor to your trade show displays begins well before the day of the show. With a few proactive initiatives and show-day follow-up, you can leave less of your booth attendance to staff and start attracting potential customers.
Preshow marketing can be an effective way of driving interest in your company. Many trade shows today have Twitter hashtags, for example, to which you can refer when making Tweets about your upcoming trade show displays.
Starting conversations on social media sites or joining existing ones in anticipation of the show can help you isolate potential visitors and learn something about them and their interests before show time. At the show, you’ll match a face with the name and, because of your previous discussions, will be more likely to earn a visit.
Game Day Face-Time
Remember, your trade show displays’ best asset is the face-to-face sales time you have with potential clients. Once you’ve attracted your ideal visitor you don’t want to lose them too quickly to another booth or distraction. Do some research and know as much about your ideal visitor as possible. Study the show program and know what education sessions will be popular. Be aware of keynote speakers so that you can initiate a timely and interesting conversation with prospects.
Other staff tips for engaging and retaining visitors:
- Have a few introductory questions prepared that cannot be answered with yes or no.
- Remember that each visitor is important and should be treated as such. If, for whatever reason, a discussion has to be cut short, offer to follow up and do so.
- Standing staffers are better than seated ones. Standing allows for more engagement and mobility while generally showing more interest in your visitors unless, of course, they can pull up a seat next to you.
- Breathe and stay relaxed.
- Smile. (Let’s hope you don’t have to teach your team this technique.)
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Things to do before leaving for a trade show
Create a trade show project timeline. Take a look at the show exhibitor manual that is available online. Many show manuals include a chronological list of deadlines that make an excellent starting point for your personalized project timeline. Things that you may add to this list include: preparation and shipment of your products and literature, making your travel arrangements, hotel accommodations for your staff, making arrangements for activities, dinners, etc. during the show.
- Make a folder or binder to contain all of the confirmations and show services forms that you have submitted.
- Create a list of important telephone numbers. These are specific to each show. This can be done electronically or manually but should be something that you have with you at all times in the trade show city.
- Check the weather in the trade show city. Make sure that you bring the right clothes for the climate and keep in mind that the convention center might not be heated or air conditioned during installation and dismantling.
- Take a good digital camera to document things. Cell phone cameras are getting better but the best results can be expected if you use a decent quality portable digital camera. You will want to photograph your display to reference for future show planning. You may need to document damage to items during shipment. You may wish to take some shots of competitors displays or other exhibits that you find attractive.
- Plan how you will evaluate the show and collect the necessary information.
- Make sure that your booth staffers are aware of the show hours and when they are to work the booth.
- Plan a booth staff orientation meeting in the booth before the show opens on the first day to make everything work smoothly.
- Think about dismantle. Where and how are your materials being shipped after the show. Have labels and paperwork filled out to eliminate unnecessary confusion during dismantle.
- Leave yourself sufficient time to catch your plane. Dismantle will go much better if you are not in a rush to get to the airport.
Do you need trade show help? Click here for a list of services Alexis Exhibits provides to make sure everything goes according to plan.
Good luck with the show!
As tradeshow exhibit professionals we are constantly faced with justifying the value of participating in shows. The cost of exhibiting, the travel, diminishing show attendance and the economy has turned up the heat.
One basic test that helps me answer these challenges is to pose a simple question to any bottom line accountable executive.
The question: if you were given 2 minutes to explain the advantages of dealing with your company to a person who regularly buys the same products and services from a competitor, do you think that you could convince them to give your company a try?
If the answer to this question is no, perhaps they should consider working for the competitor or at least reexamining your product or service offering.
Most confident executives would gladly accept this challenge. The best place to set the stage for this scenario is at a tradeshow or convention. Couple this amazing opportunity with the fact that the buyer has paid their own way to the show and that they are receptive to this pitch in the show environment and you can easily see the value proposition that tradeshows create.
The clients that I have worked with over the years that have the most success at shows have enlisted the help of a tradeshow pro to put together an integrated tradeshow marketing plan that will result in producing the maximum number of these opportunities. Our exhibit management program focuses on producing successful shows with minimum stress and maximum value. Our on-site trade show specialists are there the entire time, from set-up to tear-down. Let's get started!
Schedule a book signing at your next trade show
Our clients are constantly looking for new ways to drive more traffic to their trade show exhibit. One very effective method to accomplish this is to schedule a book signing.
Most industries have some well recognized experts who have written books or white papers on subjects directly related to the show and to exhibitors’ products or services. The opportunity to meet and talk to one of these experts as well as walk away with an autographed copy of a book can be a very compelling attraction.
This type of promotion works particularly well in medical, scientific and technical shows. The authors are very often participating in the show as speakers or presenters so the cost of having them in a booth can be quite reasonable. They are often willing to work the booth for just the cost of the books.
Be sure to hype the book signing with preshow emails to attendees. Develop a lead card that gathers all of the information necessary to turn the lead into a sale. The attendees should be required to complete the lead card in order to receive the book.
Consider controlling traffic by making it a “by invitation only” event in your preshow promotions.
Find out more ways to drive traffic to your trade show booth with our Top 10 Trends document. Download your FREE trend report now!
The fundamentals of effective trade show displays boil down to your story, your staff and your execution. Before and during the show, there will be plenty of distractions or gimmicks at other booths, but if you relate to your audience and to the context of the broader show, you won’t get lost in the din of the event.
The Best Story
The best trade show displays tell a story—your story—clearly and engagingly. Vagaries, misdirection or over-generalized displays won’t do you or your brand justice. You have to assume that visitors have already been annoyed by other booths that take too long to understand.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be boring or robotic in presenting your brand, but it should be relatively straightforward for people to ascertain your basic mission and offerings in about a minute. A clear and upfront story buys you time to expound on your latest projects, rather than clearing up confusion over the basics.
The Best Staff
Send some members of your staff around the show floor to explore other trade show displays. In this way, you’re taking advantage of your presence at the trade show by learning things you can only learn by actually being there. Pay particular attention to your competitors, of course. It’ll make the investment in the show that much more valuable.
When you’re knowledgeable about other displays, you can also anticipate visitors’ reactions, preempt their questions and explain how your services are different or superior to those of others on the floor.
The Best Technology
Remember that a trade show is powerful, old-fashioned, offline interaction. Even if you decide to use screens, computers or other gadgetry for demos, the particular presentations should be unique and unlike anything that a visitor can easily view online at home.
At the same time, visitors to your display should be eager to go home and check out your site. The show doesn’t end when you pack up the display. If you present yourself right, it’s only the beginning.
Do you have the best spot on the floor? Click here for helpful tips.