Trade Show Exhibit Marketing Tips and Advice

Ideas to stretch your trade show marketing budget

Posted on Thu, Oct 23, 2014

Many marketers are starting the process of figuring out their 2015 trade show marketing budget. Looking at last year and adding up all the costs involved in purchasing a booth,  shipping the exhibit, setting it up and comparing it to the leads they obtained.  Did your company grow in 2014?  If it did - your program was probably successful and your plan should stay intact.  If you do not feel you obtain the return on your investment of your trade show marketing program - then you might want to look at these ideas to stretch your budget next year:

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Topics: managing your trade show, marketing at trade shows, exhibit investment, trades show results, Trade Show Budget

How to Edit Your Content So People Will Read It

Posted on Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Remember in school when you were asked to write a three-page paper on a subject you could only write a paragraph about?  I’m sure you employed all the tricks—double spacing, using lofty, cumbersome, long-winded phrases to put as many words as possible in your sentences, widening the margins, etc. to make the paper the required length. Well, I must admit, I did too.  However, as a trade show marketing and  web content writer I am on the other end of the spectrum and usually required to edit my work down to the lowest word count possible. Why? So people will read it!

If we create content, we must be kind to our readers and write succinctly.  They want your information, but they don’t have time to wade through excess verbiage!

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Topics: graphics for a booth, Trade Show Marketing Tips, generating leads at trade shows, marketing messages, booth design

How to create a trade show marketing brochure from your website

Posted on Thu, Oct 16, 2014

As a freelance copywriter, I am often retained by agencies to serve clients looking for an integrated marketing strategy. In short, this means they want to develop a brand with accompanying marketing messages, then carry them through to their new website and marketing collateral materials. I enthusiastically apply myself to the project, which usually begins with the website content. The published website content then becomes the basis for anything else I write for the client, for example, their brochure.

While most companies allocate a larger budget and more resources for their website, a brochure or printed flyer can still be a valuable leave behind. Easier on the eyes, with a tactile appeal, brochures can be a nice respite in an ocean of screen reading. The sensory experience alone, combined with slick graphic images presented on a silky or cottony stock can make an impression that helps the reader remember your message.

Depending on your clientele, the brochure can be as important as the website. For many salespeople, it provides an essential connection with the client after they leave the office or walk away from the trade show exhibit. However, when it is time to write your brochure content, it’s important to remember that because the brochure is viewed and digested differently than web content, it must be written differently as well.

Here are some tried and true tips for creating a brochure from your web content.

1. Write Your Brochure With a Linear Construction.
Website pages are read separately, and sometimes completely independent of the other pages on the website. Consequently, it’s easy to write or revise a website in a “piecemeal” format, page by page. Website visitors jump from page to page, in whatever order they want. A brochure, on the other hand, presents the information about your company in one static document. The brochure’s presentation of information must be organized and pleasing to your audience, which typically occurs with a linear construction.

With a linear construction, each section of the brochure must pave the way for the presentation of the next portion of the brochure. It’s best to organize the content into an information funnel, travelling from general to specific. For example, the typical order of a brochure is to begin with a general statement about the company, then lead down to specific benefits of the products or services.
The content organization within a typical brochure looks a little like this:

• Mission/purpose of business and audience
• Services
• Competitive Advantages
• Testimonials
• Call to Action
• Contact Information

While your order can vary with your design or industry, the most important thing is to present all the necessary information in an organized, easy to follow fashion for your reader.

2. Mercilessly Edit Your Website Content for Design and Readability.
Space is much more affordable on a website than in a brochure. Since you pay in printing costs for every word on the brochure, every word must count.

Also, the design of a brochure is even more critical because the reader is a captive that cannot “scroll” anywhere and must digest the information as presented. Therefore, white space (or strategically placed blank areas in the brochure design) is key to leading the reader to the most important items to know. How do you get more white space into a brochure? Reduce your content. How do you reduce your content? Here are some tips:

• Use bullet points rather than listing items in a sentence

• Create main point bold headlines out of your paragraph topic sentences in your website content

• Have an objective eye edit your work. What you see as necessary, an objective bystander will be able to judge as essential…or not. (By the way, a freelance copywriter can be very helpful in this situation)

• Distribute content evenly throughout the brochure

After all that editing, you may feel worried that you’ve cut something important. That’s why the next tip is important!

3. Allow the Brochure to Complement, Not Replace the Website.
The hardest thing to do when putting together a brochure is to forgive yourself for not including everything on your website within your brochure. It is perfectly acceptable to refer the reader to your website for “more information,” “a full list”, or our “latest developments.” In fact, this is often necessary in businesses where the products and services change rapidly. It could even be the prime objective of the piece!

4. Include Your Branding Material.
In the midst of your frantic editing, spare the delete key on your branding elements—logo, tagline, mission statements—in short, anything that you have written that identifies the uniqueness of your company. These are (or should be) your key marketing messages that you bring to the client to help them differentiate you from your competitors. Under no circumstances should you omit them from your brochure. In fact, any designer worth their salt will give them a place of honor within the piece!

Turning your web content into brochure content is not difficult but can often use a professional’s touch.

Guest Blogger: Karen Dix, a professional copywriter, the founder of Big Ideas Writing and someone who LOVES to write for businesses who need assistance with their communication efforts! I have offered freelance marketing communications since 1996. Every time I sit down to write for a client I strive to offer “inspired communication solutions” for their advertising and marketing needs.

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Topics: Trade Show Marketing, Trade Show Marketing Tips, marketing at trade show events

How does a trade show manager manage deadlines?

Posted on Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Everyone has to deal with deadlines. When you were in college, you had homework assignments and presentations, file documents, gather information for the boss, or complete work for a client. The consequences of missing a deadline might range from a unhappy manager to an angry client and the loss of a contract -- or maybe even the loss of your job.  Deadlines that are weeks or months away are the hardest to manage. How can you organize a large amount of work across such a span of time to ensure the project is done on time? These several tips associated with your trade show booth that will help you stay on track with your deadlines. If nothing else, they'll reduce the stress of last-minute workathons and more hair on your head!

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Topics: chicago trade show services, managing your trade show, generating leads at trade shows, booth design, marketing at trade show events

Hot Trade Show Graphic Colors for 2015

Posted on Thu, Oct 09, 2014

It’s an obvious choice to utilize a company color scheme in a trade show exhibit. We see a lot of black and white with [insert standard color here] all over. That’s an acceptable look and there’s a reason it’s so popular but why not take inspiration from fashion and interior design trends to give your exhibit an update? Being different is important in the crowded trade show environment and one way to catch eyes is through a unique color palette.

For the past fourteen years, Pantone (which dubs itself “the global authority on color”) has selected a “Color of the Year”. In December they announced Radiant Orchid (PMS 2352) as the color of the 2014 and it truly has lived up to that name. The fashion, wedding, graphic design and home improvement industries have all embraced the warm purple hue. Several retailers and publications have marketed the Radiant Orchid color family including Sephora, HGTV, Veer.com, and many more.

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Topics: trade show graphics, trade show trends, trade show tips, exhibit designs, booth design

Hiring Our Heroes Trade Show Event

Posted on Wed, Oct 01, 2014

Today I participated in the Hiring Our Heroes trade show event.  We did not have a booth, we did not go to promote our company; we went to help our Vets.  I spent the morning conducting mock interviews and working on improving resumes.  The stories these guys and gals share are amazing.  I can not even imagine some of the things they had to do to help protect my family and yours.  Most of them have great resumes, they just need an employer that is a bit flexible in the work schedule or in some other areas.  I am hoping that as we work these events that we will see our hero's hired and contributing more to our work force and our country.   For example, I met with John.  John has disabilities and needs to go to the hospital weekly, he is in a wheel chair but has a very sharp mind and is very verbally articulate.  We suggested working with a logistical company in quoting transportation.  There were a few logistics companies there and I hope he gets a job. Please consider hiring a vet or attending one of these trade shows.  It would be worth your while!

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How to ruin a good trade show display

Posted on Tue, Sep 30, 2014

What’s the number one cause of a negative impact on your brand at your exhibition booth? Clutter! Clutter happens at a trade show almost by accident. It can happen when one of your staff carelessly drapes a jacket over a chair, leaves a notebook on a counter, places a coffee cup on the display or ignores the scatterings of literature or products by visitors.  It all produces clutter which in turn affects visitor’s perception of your corporate professionalism. In the 1960’s psychologist Albert Mehrabrian stated that 55% of a person’s opinion of the people they meet comes from what they see. It is a safe postulation that the same judgment comes from your booth presentation.

If your display is large enough to have a full-time person dedicated to ensuring that everything is where it should it would be a worthwhile investment. However, this is costly and many trade show budgets are already stretched to the limit.  Here are a few tips that you can take to eliminate unnecessary clutter in your booth.

Create dedicated space

When you plan your booth you consider such things as signs, graphics, product displays, demonstration areas, traffic flow and so on. All of these elements are important but also remember consider what happens when it’s populated by staff and visitors? Here are some of the questions that need to be answered:

  • Where will staff leave jackets, coats and personal items?
  • What is the policy around food and beverage?
  • Is there dedicated space for business related items such as extra literature, promotional items, business cards, Mobile device chargers, staplers, pens, etc.?
  • Have you allowed easy access for repairs to technology, lights, and movable product displays?

Delegate responsibility

Whose responsibility is booth maintenance and appearance? The quick answer is everyone who is working the booth. Recently I was in retail; store and was greeted by a friendly woman. She welcomed me and asked which department I was looking for. She then said, “Let me show you the way.” On our walk she stopped once to pick up a piece of paper and a second time to remove a coffee cup on a display case. Both retrievals were done without comment or fuss. Keeping the store clean and neat was something that she knew was everyone’s responsibility. The same holds true for your booth. Whenever anyone sees something out of place it should be rectified on the spot - no conversation, no complaints, just a sense of pride in your organizations. This attitude of pride in the workplace needs to be communicated to everyone who works in the booth.

Be prepared

Accidents come in small and big packages. You never know which will affect your booth so the trick is to be prepared for both. Small incidents like a spill or smudge can be handled quickly if your booth staff has the necessary tools. Include in your planning such things as a broom and dust pan, glass cleaners and paper towels. For the larger and more serious occurrences where a quick fix won’t work then include the emergency number for the professionals who can best handle larger maintenance issues.

Train staff

Hopefully you will have a pre-show briefing for the people who will staff your booth. In this briefing you will include such things as a description of the show and its amenities, a statement of your objectives; a profile of the visitors, the skills needed to accomplish your goals and an explanation of the booth and its features. Here is where you should include one additional agenda item which is aesthetics. You need to reinforce the importance of ensuring that the booth looks as good when it’s first put together as it does one minute before tear-down.  Let each person know what your expectations are and that no one is above stooping to straighten a display or pick up something from the floor.

You may have read this article and said, “That’s a lot of common sense.” If you did, you are right. But with so much to plan and organize, sometimes common sense takes a back seat.  Remember you can’t tell visitors about your professionalism and expect them to take your word for it. You have to show them.

Guest Blogger:  Barry Siskind of Siskind Training.  Barry is a trade show consultanttrainer, speaker and internationally recognized expert in trade and consumer shows.

 

 

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Topics: trade show display designs, Trade Show Marketing Tips, booth designs, custom booth designs, effective trade show business

Exhibit Design Planning Process: Five Steps to the Right Solution

Posted on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Going through the five steps of the trade show exhibit design process can save you money on your booth design, as well as headaches and re-work down the road. And with the help of the right creative team and excellent show services support, you are guaranteed to have a great experience and an exhibit solution you love. This simple project plan has demonstrated that it works.

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Topics: Trade show booth designs, custom display designs, booth designs, exhibit designs, booth design

TheTradeshowNetwork.com Goes Mobile

Posted on Tue, Sep 23, 2014

CHICAGO – August 5, 2014 – The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group has updated its website at www.thetradeshownetwork.com to be more user friendly for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, allowing trade show managers and marketers to access their online trade show exhibit resources more easily –especially when they are on the road.

The Tradeshow Network has redesigned the site using  a content optimization system for inbound marketing, which allows the website to adjust to each visitor for personalized viewing, whether on a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. The content optimization system works with every marketing channel, incorporating The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group’s website, blog and social media.

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Topics: chicago trade show services, modular trade show display, exhibit designs, Rental

How can your trade show display stand out from the crowd?

Posted on Thu, Sep 18, 2014

There are hundreds of companies at trade shows vying for your audience's attention. They distribute branded items, talk about their products, and do everything possible to scan attendees' badges with lead retrieval scanners. Most companies use the same trade show tactics as each other, and attendees eventually forget who was who. But there are other, smarter ways to strategically approach trade shows that will make you stand out from other companies and competitors and stay on attendees' brains long after the event is over.

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Topics: prospecting at trade shows, custom booth designs, exhibit investment, booth design, custom trade show booths

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