Valuable Trade Show Staffing Guidelines

It’s true that the success of any action hinges on how prepared you are.

The benefits you reap at any trade show relies heavily on well trained booth staff and how they interact with prospective clients or attendees on the show floor. Before sending your booth staff out in the field, make sure you’re providing them with the support and training they need.

In this post we’ll give you our best advice and best practices when it comes to choosing staff for your trade show booth, responsibilities of staffers, concerns when preparing your staff for the show floor and budgeting.

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Trade Show Budget: Displays Under $1,000

So you’ve been given the task to search for a new trade show display – we find that very exciting, but you may not.

Chances are you don’t know where to start or even what you want. There’s a lot of things to think about when searching for a trade show display (size, shape, travel friendly, graphics, etc.), but your trade show budget is definitely the most important.

Typically our first question to any of our customers contacting us for a trade show display is “What’s your budget?”. The easiest way to dwindle down your options when searching for a trade show booth is to answer this question first. Consider this: you can’t possibly start your search when buying a car or a house without knowing your budget, right? Well, the same goes for trade show displays.

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7 Spot On Trade Show Marketing Myths

Myths are everywhere.

From mythical creatures like unicorns or mermaids, lightning never strikes in the same place twice, dogs’ mouths are cleaner than our mouths – but that’s not they type of myths were talking about. Today we’re debunking a few of the most common trade show marketing myths, with a few compelling stats to back them up. Brace yourself, because it’s about to get real. 

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Our Best Tips, Tricks & Secrets for a Successful Trade Show

Does it seem to you that some businesses have it all together when exhibiting at a trade show?

Almost like they have the secret recipe for networking and bringing back a positive return on investment. Their secret is it’s no secret at all, it’s simply this:

A successful trade show is measured by how much effort you want to put into it.

Yes you read that right. Sounds simple, or is it. Being that we are a trade show display company, we’ve attended many and have seen a thing or two at different trade shows. So here’s our best tips, tricks & secrets for a successful trade show.

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Fun, Fresh Ideas to Step Up Your Trade Show Game

Trade shows might be for business, but they don’t have to be all business. It’s time to up your trade show game to make your investment worth your time, increase return and finally get people to engage in your brand.

Most people describe a trade show like this: people wandering up and down aisles glancing at booths with no rhyme or reason as to exactly why they are even there. Some of them were told by their boss to go make an appearance at the trade show, while others went there on their own free will. No matter the reason they are there, you need to remind them why they went. There are tons of ideas out there to help you embrace new business and bring new excitement to your brand. Don’t get comfortable and continue doing the same old thing. It’s time to shake things up and take your trade show experience to the next level with these fun, fresh ideas.

Up Your Marketing Game

The right marketing before a trade show event has the ability to get people talking, sharing, and engaging. You can go all in or stick with a budget. And with the addition of social media, organizations large and small are finally embracing before the show marketing.

Create some hype before you arrive on the trade show floor by utilizing a partial reveal just to get people talking. For instance, include a statement in your marketing that mentions something huge will be revealed at the show but only to those who visit your booth. What’s the big surprise? Well thats is up to you. It could be:

  • A big company announcement
  • A new sponsor or collaboration reveal
  • A prize for a contest winner

The whole point is to cause curiosity and draw attention to your booth at the show. The best thing that can happen to you at a trade show is a crowd!

Marketing Made Fun

Here’s where the fun comes in. It’s all about involving your attendees and making them want to participate in marketing your business. Here’s the trick though – it has to be easy! If it’s complicated, most people won’t engage. Try to stick to simple ideas that no one can say no to.

Humor: Create a “hidden” camera scenario where something unexpected happens and you record your attendees’ reactions to things. You could even stream their reactions in real time if you have the right type of audience.

Scrolling Message Board: Utilizing a large screen within your booth space or in the middle of the trade show floor, encourage attendees to post on social media about your company at the show, using a certain hashtag or emoji to get on the message board. You’ll be surprised how this will motivate people to do some silly things to get on that message board. All the while, they are promoting your brand or company with a simple post on Facebook or Twitter!

Interactive Walls: It could be as simple as creating one out of post-it notes, a whiteboard or chalkboard surface. Propose a question and ask people to respond or invite them to post their business card to show that they were there. When they show is over, you could post a photo to boast how successful your show was and ask if they can locate their contribution.

Mini Contests: Throughout the day, host quick contests to draw in with attendees walking by your booth. Make themes based on well known games, like would you rather or Simon says. Your prizes should be worth their time so you’ll not only draw in willing participants, but you’ll also create buzz and give people a reason to stop by your booth.

Photo Booth: Trust us, photo booths aren’t just for weddings! As each attendee walks onto your exhibit floor, give them a mask or a prop with your booth number written on the back telling them to visit your photo booth. They will be so intrigued, that they’ll have to stop by your booth for a photo. A little bit of fun not only entertains it serves as a great conversation starter as well.

Offer A Mid-Show Snack: Just as the mid-day slump rolls around, so will you offering up a mid-day goodie! Stroll the exhibit hall with an an ice cream cart or a popcorn cart. Just make sure your snack offering is portable and branded with your logo. That way you can serve a refreshing snack throughout the exhibition floor, with the intention of enticing people to visit your booth.

In Conclusion

One of the best ways to switch things up at your next trade show is to create an unexpected experience. The goal is to condition your audience to expect the unexpected. Surprises are some of the most memorable aspects of life so take advantage of this even at a trade show.

Trade shows can either be really fun and memorable or really boring and not worth your time. The decision is yours. But one thing we’ve learned from our previous trade show experience is this – we should all embrace the trade show with a smile and a laugh.

Trade Show Checklist – 26 Must Haves!

The day has finally come. You’ve been prepping for your trade show for what seems like an eternity. You arrive at the venue, start unpacking and BOOM. You realize you forgot something! Showing up unprepared has got to be the worst feeling especially when it comes to something you thought you were prepared for. Lucky for you we’ve enlisted the help of our fellow exhibitors to compile this handy trade show checklist.

Trade Show Checklist Download

DOWNLOAD NOW: Printable Trade Show Checklist

And trust us, we know it’s easy to forget the small things on your way out the door since your biggest concern should be your trade show display. Keep our simple trade show checklist handy for future use. It will be a lifesaver and you’ll make friends with everyone around you since you’ll be the prepared exhibitor!

Booth Items:

  1. Signage – If your trade show signage is separate from your display, don’t leave part of your company behind.
  2. Promotional Items – Brochures, postcards, flyers, handouts, samples etc.
    Business Cards – Bring plenty to hand out to as many qualified leads as you can. More is better.
  3. Business Card Holders – Simply because it looks much neater than a stack of cards thrown on the table.
  4. Giveaways – Make sure you choose something that makes sense or is relatable to your company, and just don’t give it away to anyone walking by – make sure they are worthy.
  5. Containers to hold your giveaways – Basket, candy dish, pen cup, etc.
  6. Bowl for collected business cards – Just an easy way to keep everyone’s information in one place to take back to the office for follow ups.
  7. Name Tags – Don’t rely on the event to give you a lanyard name tag. Everyone wants to know your name as well as what company you are with.
  8. Table Linens – Let’s be honest, those trade show venue tables can look pretty rough. And it’s a bonus if your table cover has your logo on it!
  9. Presentation/Video/Media – You worked hard on that video or powerpoint presentation, so don’t forget it.

Office Supplies:

  1. Pens/Pencils/Sharpies – Yes, you might be at a trade show where there’s an unlimited supply of pens from other exhibitors, but just bring your own.
  2. Scissors – It’s almost inevitable that something will need to be cut during set up or tear down.
  3. Notepads & Post Its – Good for taking notes or if someone else forgot their business card you can jot down their information for a follow-up.
  4. Rubber Bands/Paper Clips – Don’t lose all those business cards you just collected. Plus you can bend paper clips and use them for the most unconventional purposes.
  5. Stapler – The stapler can come in handy to tack all sorts of unsuspecting things together.
  6. Tape…all the tape! – Scotch, Duct, Masking, Packing, Double Sided – any kind of tape you can think of, you’ll need it.

Technology:

  1. Laptop/Monitor/TV/iPad – The bigger the better!
  2. Chargers – With constant use, devices are sure to run out of juice so make sure you pack all necessary chargers. And this includes your phone charger!
  3. Cords to Connect Computer to TV/Monitor – Nothing worse than the moment you realize you’re missing your HDMI cord because it’s at home in your living room.
  4. Extension Cords/Power Strip– Outlets are shared between exhibit booths and it always seems you need just one more outlet. Plus, in the event you  want to place your TV or monitor in a location not so close to an outlet, you’ll at least have a backup plan.

Other Supplies:

  1. Safety Pins – Two words…wardrobe malfunction.
  2. Snacks – No one wants to feel “hangry” or “parched” during a trade show. Quick snacks will do the trick to take the edge off.
  3. Gum/Breath Mints – We would suggest skipping the onions or garlic for lunch and always good for after your coffee break.
  4. Hand Sanitizer – Think of the hundreds of hands you’ll shake. Enough said.
  5. Zip Ties – For all you OCD peeps out there, these help keep computer wires looking nice and tidy.
  6. Back up Shoes (if you’re wearing heels) – Comfortable shoes are so worth it, especially when the show is over and you have the dreaded job of packing up your trade show display.
  7. First-Aid Kit – Well, you don’t bleed all over your prospects.

Face-to-Face Marketing in a Digital World

Social media and online advertising are certainly proving to be the wave of the future. We’re more connected than ever before, yet there is still disconnect when it comes to marketing. In many instances digital marketing is a super convenient way to get your brand and products in front of a large target audience, but not without some challenges. Overcrowding on some social media platforms tends to make it difficult for brands to engage without increasing their marketing budget.

In reality, having a presence online and face-to-face should both be an essential part of your marketing strategy. However, when trying to instill value in your product or service there’s only one technique that works time and time again…networking. Yes, good ol’ fashion, face-to-face networking! And can you guess where the easiest place to do this is? Well, a trade show of course!

NETWORKING WORKS, PERIOD.

Maybe you love it or hate it, embrace it or avoid it, networking is quite possibly one of the simplest, most effective tools to market yourself or business. But, the effectiveness is up to you! Many of us approach networking with good intentions – think of that stack of business cards from your last trade show collecting dust in your desk that you haven’t touched. Or the hundreds of LinkedIn contacts you’ve actually never met (or chatted with for that matter).

Don’t worry you’re not alone! We all know how incredibly important face-to-face marketing is, along with community involvement, yet we all try so hard to avoid it. The hard truth is it’s possible networking might be the missing piece your marketing strategy needs to boost your efforts and see a spike in sales.

FACT: 74% of trade show attendees say that they have a more
positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service
being promoted after the event.
Source: EventMarketer.com

Have you considered attending or exhibiting at a trade show yet? Trade shows are all about building relationships – simply getting to know someone. Asking questions and really listening to determine if they are in fact the potential client you’ve been looking for. There’s something special about being present, making eye contact with someone and showing them the confidence you have in your company.

Rather than try to cut through all the social media noise, start by attending a few local events or business-to-business trade shows. Just remember to keep an open mind – you’re creating long term business relationships here, so it won’t be a fast process.

BUT BE SOCIAL ONLINE, TOO.

There’s no better place to network than at a trade show. So by combining the social aspect of marketing before or after your trade show can most certainly benefit you as well. Here’s a few examples:

Before the trade show: connect with your existing clients online or on social media to let them know you’ll be attending and would like to meet up.
At the trade show: take a pictures with clients (new and old) at your booth to build awareness about your show presence.
Before the trade show: Use social networks to gauge your clients most pressing needs and interests.
At the trade show: Speak with clients about these needs to create a more valuable in-person experience.

Digital communication provides a great opportunity to keep customers and prospects engaged long after the trade show doors have closed.

FINAL THOUGHTS.

Whether its online or social, marketing should always be consistent and always follow through on your brand awareness. Consistency builds trust, and in turn a long lasting business relationship. It’s this constant communication that will keep the dialogue with prospects and customers fresh and lively year-round.

In the end it all comes down to positive audience engagement, both digitally and in-person.


DID YOU KNOW: YOU ONLY HAVE 3 SECONDS TO CAPTURE THE ATTENTION OF ATTENDEES?

Now’s your chance to get creative! Since 1994, our family owned company offers quality trade show display products, providing exceptional customer service to each and every one of our customers worldwide. Lucky for you we have “all things trade show” in one convenient place online – www.AffordableDisplays.com.

So start envisioning your own trade show display today. And the best part is we’ll be here to guide you throughout the entire process!

Questions To Ask When It’s Your Trade Show Off Season

Here’s the typical scenario: trade show season begins and you invest in two or three trade shows or marketing events because you expect to see a return on your investment. You prepare, attend, gather leads – then you’re back at the office with that “high on life” attitude ready to follow up on those precious leads and convert them into new business.

But workflow and life gets in the way.  And instead you come home, check emails, look at the work piling up on your desk and play catch-up. Unfortunately this often ends in business-as-usual mode and an unwelcome back to reality wondering where all your motivation went.

We hear about this all the time.

But how do you change this vicious cycle that could be hurting your trade show investment? Well, quite simply you have to make the time. Here’s a few tips on how to maintain the positive momentum and take advantage of your hard work after the shows wrap for the season.

Ask yourself “why, how and who”

Why am I participating in trade shows? Great question, right – but do you have an answer? Deciding to participate in a particular trade show is the easy part; it’s figuring out why you chose that show thats most important. You could be looking for a way to build brand awareness, or increase distribution of your new products. It could also be that you would like to focus on client relations as a way to nurture the face-to-face relationship. Nail down your WHY and determine a clear initiative that aligns with your business strategy to move it forward.

How am I going to measure attendance? Counting leads is the first step to measuring your success at the end of a show, but try and find a way to measure attendance before the show as well. Consider this – it’s like placing an ad on Facebook, choosing how many people to target then going back to see how many people you actually reached. You need to understand your return on investment to insure you marketing efforts are working for you. Just ask and you shall receive! Ask the show organizer to give you numbers based on last years attendance to help you decide whether a particular show is even worth attending.

Who am I targeting at the show? You might be exhibiting at a high traffic, well marketed trade show, but have you figured out how to actually get them to visit your booth? Some of you might get stuck on the number of people that visited your tradeshow booth instead of measuring their legit interest in your products or services. Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Don’t settle for 300 basic leads when you could have 50 well-qualified leads. By singling out the type of clients you want, you can plan your presentation more effectively reel them in – hook, line and sinker!

 

Bottom line: The show does not end when you get home. It’s so important to take the time to reflect on your current trade show season and put your newfound knowledge to work for your company. And the best time to do this is NOW – before you’re routine tasks suck you in again and before you realize you have to be in full-on trade show season mode…again.

Need a trade show display? Shop online and buy now at AffordableDisplays.com.