How to conquer trade shows before, after, and on the floor!
Considering the cost for booths, marketing materials, travel and promotional items, trade show marketing can be an expensive undertaking. The fact remains that the exposure they offer businesses results in connections with prospective customers and fellow entrepreneurs, creating invaluable growth potential.
Yet, considering the expense, it is necessary to come well-prepared to allow for the most impact for the money invested. It should be known that the most inventive and tenacious trade show preparation will fail to succeed if the printer producing the materials does not provide the highest quality end result imaginable. Make sure to seek out the most talented experts in the printing industry to ensure the decline of problems related to inexperience. Intelligent selection of print professionals from the start eliminates the ripoff of precious resources and sets businesses free to focus on marketing their brands and amplifying their presence on the trade show floor.
Within the business services industry, Minuteman Press, the world’s largest and number one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise is continually helping businesses at trade shows attract visitors by advising on the most effective approaches to great presentations. Professionally printed collateral will be needed – such as flyers and brochures, trade show discount offers, folders/trade show kits, pop-up banners, and promotional products such as branded clothing – and they should be custom designed to enhance industry reputation and exude a professional company image.
When it comes to trade show marketing, planning in advance is important because brochures, flyers, business cards and many other printing needs require attention to detail, as does booth selection. Brochures, for example, have the ability to become a very attractive tool for showcasing various products by displaying them in the best possible light while providing needed details and specifications about each item carried. A properly designed and printed brochure can help trade show visitors grab the details they need to have without waiting on a long line.
Only the best within the printing industry know how to utilize all of the special techniques needed and can offer embossing, foil stamping, die-cutting and many other specialized processes on multiple printed pieces, without garnering complaints. So, as appointment scheduling for the show is done in advance, so should the process of print consultation, design and execution because implementing a specific marketing strategy begins by having a clear picture of the grand plan by producing sharp-looking, printed marketing collateral, customized for the event. All of these decisions come together to make for a more productive show with more curious visitors who are eager to learn more and make connections.
Bob Davidson owns the Minuteman Press Franchise in Tigard, OR, and advises against a passive approach while encouraging proactive engagement at trade shows: “I say without hesitation that when at a show (or any such event or marketing solely to a potential client), you would need to be actively engaged, meeting and talking with people. You need to actively seek a chance to meet and speak to them, to show your product, to hand off your print or promotional materials. If you sit back and wait for someone to come to you, you will very soon be out of business. 99.9% of the time the world WILL NOT beat a path to your door, as there are usually a large number of others out there providing a similar service or product that you do.”
Bob Heimbuch is Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for the Maryland/Virginia area, and he knows that all Minuteman Press locations have trade show marketing needs covered from start to finish: “Exhibiting at a trade show is typically an action-packed event. It’s almost guaranteed that your company will be one of many companies promoting their products and services and it is imperative that that you set yourself apart from your competition. You do this by promoting your company with branding and professionally designed printed promotional products. At Minuteman Press, we’ll put your name and logo on your shirt, brand your booth from the floor up with banners, signs and displays, and provide high quality, eye-catching printed materials that your prospects can take away with them. Materials such as brochures, business cards and even promo flyers outlining your show specials are needed. No trade show or convention is complete without the obligatory promotional giveaway. At Minuteman Press, we can provide virtually anything you could imagine on an item – such as a name, image or logo – we can provide it. Ask us for a product catalog.”
There are ways to escalate the benefit of trade show attendance that start with the ways brand message is being presented visually within the booth to the appearance and professional ability of your trade show staff. Here are seven ways to you can win the trade show marketing war:
1. Mailing before the big day: During pre-show planning, take time to review a list of show registrants and use it to send a fascinating direct mail piece that cannot be ignored and will be sure to drive them to your booth. As always, have a marketing specialist from a trusted business services franchise assist with specifics. The direct mail marketing campaign should highlight a particular item of interest and it should indicate that there will be a contest at the booth with instruction to bring the piece as an entry OR the mail could be redeemed for a unique gift. This will provide a change to measure response, too. Additionally, maintain the database of attendees at the show and get business cards or contact information of those visiting the booth.
2. Give stuff away! Make sure to bring high quality branded merchandise, which offers plenty of marketing “bang for the buck”. Hand out items that visitors will be likely to use, reuse and perhaps, share. Suggestions range from reusable bags, USB drives and ear buds to classics like travel mugs, pens and notepads. ALL promotional items should be visually striking and also adhere to your brand identity guidelines. Note that most trade shows also have scanners to utilize for easy reporting and importing to your CRM.
3. Take advantage of that space: Don’t forget that the entire trade show is a big competition with every exhibitor being prepared to receive as much attention as possible that will generate new business. To stand out, make sure to have the best lighting, signage, table displays, and a wide variety of your very best printed marketing materials including your trade show promotional pieces and solid reading material like white papers, pamphlets and brochures. Videos, slideshows and demonstrations that grab attention can also be prepared with the right mentor advising you during pre-show planning.
The floor plan should be open when possible, ideally void of tables or barriers between staff and attendees. Taller tables and displays are better served near the back wall and longer tables angled into the booth all encourage visitors to come over and explore. Make sure to get proper professional print advice so that displays produced are bold and stand out from neighboring booths. The display needs to be clear and easy to read for all walking the floor. Brochures, folders, business cards and other printed marketing tools need to be compelling, of highest quality and well at-hand.
4. Coordinate attire and materials: Excited, knowledgeable, and friendly exhibitors at your booth need to be properly dressed to help with consistency and recognition of your brand, which will be displayed beautifully in printed form throughout the booth. Therefore, consistency in color, badges, and branded apparel with logos clearly visible will make it easier to recognize your staff both in the booth AND as they make their way through the trade show floor. Little details matter as matching ties or lanyards with brand logos are small things that will get recognition.
5. Keep that website busy: Use your website as a communication and marketing information nerve center. Landing pages could be added that visitors can tap into right away as this drives additional engagement at the show, keeps the website busy and can initiate meaningful connection through videos, downloads or interest forms. Remember to make it mobile friendly!
6. Social media draw: “Like” or connect with the particular trade show channels online, get hashtags to Tweet or Instagram well ahead of time and let it be known that tweets will be happening throughout the event, with Instagram pictures going up as well. Afterwards, review all content, including additional photos that may have been collected and, of course, share it.
7. Follow-up is key to winning the trade show marketing war: The very best time to plan for a successful post-show direct mailing is when the pre-show mail is being created. Allow marketing specialists within the business services industry such as The Minuteman Press Franchise to help you create an entire trade show communications plan that includes pre- and post-show direct mailings. In this way, the post-show creations will be readily available as the new database of prospects is imported. Mailings, coupled with emails and phone calls help make the entire show a worthy venture. Visitors leave with a wealth of information, so have a plan to nurture all of the great leads secured with a personalized follow-up plan. And if you don’t hear back right away, you should definitely follow up again after an appropriate amount of time has passed.
Jon Wittenberg, owner of the Minuteman Press Franchise in Sandy Springs, GA, is well-versed in the best promotional items and the best tactics for trade show success. Jon says, “We have been successful at trade shows by using an icebreaker such as our Plinko game which, in exchange for a business card or information slip, gives visitors the opportunity to win prizes. Whether it’s our branded coffee mug, branded mini flashlight, branded “Frisbee” or a discount coupon, everyone wins something. We also have our brochures, branded pens, branded pads, promotional products catalogs and more for people to take with them. At our last show, we gave away branded trade show bags which were very popular. What is the common theme? BRANDED! Everything has at least our name and phone number so we leave a lasting impression. Gosh, we even TALK to people at the trade shows too!”
Careful, advanced preparation, secured and partnered with the best marketing, design and print professionals is the most intelligent first step once the trade show date is circled on the calendar.
Ultimately, the Minuteman Press franchise is vested in the art and science of bringing to life your brand identity so that you can win the trade show war. We will arm your business with the marketing materials and overall strategy to help you grab the attention of potential customers on the trade show floor, and the result will most assuredly be a hard-fought victory that will only be solidified by following up with your newly acquired target audience.
Let your local Minuteman Press franchise help you implement your trade show marketing strategy today.
Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise opportunities at www.minutemanpressfranchise.com