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. 

Myth #1:
IF YOU’VE BEEN TO ONE TRADE SHOW, YOU’VE BEEN TO THEM ALL
If you agree with this statement, then your trade show marketing efforts are already in jeopardy. You’re success at a trade show has everything to do with the ability to reach the target audience interested in what you have to offer. And unfortunately if you don’t know where to reach them, it’s highly likely you aren’t getting much by attending. In your early planning process, look over the attendee and exhibitor data for any shows you’re considering attending to find out whether that show is the right one to market your brand.

84% of exhibitors say “High quality of attendees” is the most important factor when deciding whether to exhibit or expand booth size. Also, 54% say “favorable return-on-investment,” is an important factor when deciding to exhibit or expand booth size, while 50% consider “Positive past performance” and important factor. Source: CEIR: The Changing Environment of Exhibitions

Myth #2:
YOU DON’T PARTICIPATE AFTER HOURS
Trade shows are often held in some of the highly populated, most desirable cities in the US. However, you must resist the urge to wander around the city on your own time because this trip is all business and you don’t get leads by sightseeing.

About 50% of the largest 200 shows in the USA take place in just 3 cities: Las Vegas, Chicago, and Orlando. Source: TSNN.com, The Trade Show News Network

You’re there for one reason and one reason only: to develop relationships, build new contacts, and turn those contacts into customers. And every activity you undertake while there should support this goal. Attending after-hours trade show events offer a huge opportunity to network and get your name out there, but keep in mind you’re representing your company and your approach to these events should always remain professional. Consider passing on that second glass of beer or wine so you’re able to listen carefully to hear the sound of opportunity knocking.

Myth #3:
THERE’S NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT TRADE SHOW MARKETING
Many companies only consider the physical aspect of attending a trade show: setting up a booth, displaying some marketing collateral and showing a few samples of your products. This is the wrong approach. Start by understanding why you’re attending trade shows in the first place and who you’re marketing to.

45% of attendees visit only one exhibition per year. So when you exhibit at a show you will find unique prospects there you can’t reach at other trade shows. Source: CEIR Report ACRR 1152.12

You can’t just show up, stand in your booth and hand out brochures to everyone passing by. The whole point of a trade show is to engage with attendees, capture leads, and if you’ve prepared you might even meet with new prospects eager to hear more about what you have to offer. The success of your marketing efforts at any trade show takes proper planning well before the show.

Myth #4:
ANYONE CAN STAFF A BOOTH
Sending Sandy from accounting or Bob from human resources to staff your booth at a trade show might not be the best idea. Booth staffers should be energetic and excited to tell everyone about your company, products or services. To ensure you’ve chosen effective trade show booth staffers, they should be well-trained in what your goals are for each and every show. There’s nothing worse than investing time and money in a booth, incurring shipping and travel expenses, only to have your booth staff standing around and not engaging with attendees walking by.

Myth #5:
TRADE SHOWS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
Of course if you’ve been unsuccessful at trade shows in the past you may feel they are a waste of time or that they take you away from more important business at the office. Consider these stats for a moment:

According to a recent survey, more than 75% of tradeshow attendees ask for quotes at the show, more than 22% are likely to sign an agreement with an intent to order AND 99% of marketers said they found unique value from trade shows they did not get from other marketing mediums.

Does that sound like a waste of time to you? You must always remember the outcome, whether positive or negative, has a direct correlation to the effort you put in. If you approach a show as a positive opportunity, you are more likely to get those positive results and continue reaping the benefits weeks and months after.

Myth #6:
TRADE SHOW LEADS ARE A WASTE OF TIME
We get it, leads can seem like a waste of time if: a) You ask attendees to drop their business card in a bowl to enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card, b) You’re not taking notes when talking to potential customers so you can send them more information after the show, or c) You wait until a month or two after the show to contact leads. Lead quality is a direct byproduct of your pre-show planning, proper booth staff training and timely post-show followup.

The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products. It has been the number one reason to attend for 25 years! So trade shows are a great place to introduce or feature your newest products. Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face

Trade shows offer a captive audience interested in your products or services. It would be a rare instance if you acquired a new lead while grabbing a cup of coffee, walking to the bathroom or chatting it up with co-workers. Lead generating takes time and a lot of patience. You have to be at the top of your game, because right after you hooked that lead they can (and will) walk down the aisle and fall right into your competitors arms.

Myth #7
SMALLER BRANDS DON’T STAND OUT AT LARGE TRADE SHOWS
You’ve heard the saying “small fish, big pond” but when it comes to trade shows, it’s every man for himself – small business or big brand. Small businesses simply need to be more strategic in their trade show marketing and when choosing the shows they attend. If budget is an issue, consider more targeted shows or smaller regional shows for now. Later on down the road, as your business grows so will your trade show budget. The opportunity to exhibit in the larger shows can be something to look forward to in the future and compete with the big guys at an even level.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Trade shows are an important aspect to your marketing strategy offering the opportunity to network with other people in your industry, form new relationships with potential clients and promote your business in a completely different way. Trade shows should simply be a way of life because it has the potential to be the lifeblood of your business.

Multi-Use Portable Trade Show Displays

Get The Most For Your $$$

Many of our customers purchase portable displays mainly for use at a trade show, but have you ever thought of utilizing the same display in other ways as well. We realize not all companies also do other marketing events such as open houses for real estate companies, pop up shops for retailers, red carpet events or other B2B networking events. Have you considered maybe you aren’t doing these other events because your trade show display doesn’t accommodate for the multi-use?

Below are some examples of how you can use our portable booths for other events besides trade shows. If you already own one of our portable booths but want to get more use out of your portable display between trade shows, feel free to reach out and chat with us for ideas to get creative!

Multi-Use Portable Trade Show Displays

Lounge, Discussion Area

Tension fabric display options are an excellent solution for a pop up lounge or discussion area. With the ever changing trade show trends, exhibitors are becoming more creative with their booth spaces, incorporating this trendy new option to stay relevant and be remembered. Tension fabric displays allow you to really show off your brand in new innovative ways.
By simply adding a retractable banner stand, counter or table cover, you’ll easily add depth to your trade show booth. But these add-on items could also be utilized in your office entrance or used at smaller events, such as a job fair or other community events, when trade show season is not in full effect.

Step-n-Repeat, Photobooth

Another trendy marketing piece for trade shows or events are step-n-repeat backdrops. Having an easy to assemble and durable tension fabric backdrop will cut down your time and effort during set up. Your high-quality, glare free logo graphics will make a great backdrop for photos at your various events.

These logo backwalls are great because even if you aren’t necessarily selling anything, you can still enforce your brand visually for any industry gathering or company party. Tension fabric step-n-repeat backwalls are the perfect solution even when the show is over – simply set-up in your office entrance for all visitors to enjoy. Tip: consider where you’re setting up and also time of day. Night time events may require some light features, and you can always upgrade to a lightbox option.

Fundraisers, Local Events, Job Fairs

There are many advantages to a tension fabric display including portability which makes packaging your trade show display smaller, easier, lighter and may result in shipping cost savings and storage costs. Another advantage is the ability for your fabric graphic to be washed, dried, ironed, steamed, folded or rolled for storage. You’ll also love that there is no glare on the fabric because of the smooth, non-glossy fabric finish which is perfect for an indoor trade show or high lit areas.

Sampling Bars, Product Shelving

Portable displays allow you to set up quick serving bars for food or beverages. Our Advertising Tent is perfect for indoor or outdoor use and made to be resilient to wear and tear with continuous use by the frequent exhibitor. All you have to do is focus on promoting your product, service or brand.

Sampling bars or counters add style and function to your trade show booth space by allowing you drive your message, product or service right up front. Use any of our effective point-of-engagement presentation counters to give demonstrations, sign up attendees for notifications, emails or giveaways or even have attendees purchase your products right then and there. These trade show counters and podiums give your exhibiting booth space more opportunity to drive home your brand or land more sales.

Adding shelving to a trade show pop up display is most definitely a game changer when it comes to product display during an event. Having the ability to display your product and have it available for the consumer to have a hands-on experience could certainly seal the deal.

Final Thoughts

Portable booths give you the freedom to set them up yourself without incurring labor fees. Even a large 20ft tension fabric display can be set-up by 2-3 people quickly and easily without tools. If you are interested in purchasing a portable trade show display for your next trade show or event, contact us here!

Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook to see more of our portable displays and banner stand options!

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.

8 Tech Savvy Ways to Spend Your Remaining Trade Show Budget

So you’ve made all the necessary purchases for a successful trade show season, but you’ve come in under budget (and your boss is high fiving you). This is great, however if the money isn’t spent it may not generate great returns on your investment. We have some seriously savvy ideas to help spend your remaining budget wisely to benefit your current and future trade show efforts.

We understand, having money left to spend can feel too good to be true. Maybe you just saved a huge chunk by reusing last seasons’ trade show display, or you saved on other big ticket items and just have some extra cash to spend. It doesn’t matter how you got it, here are some smart ways to spend your remaining trade show budget dollars wisely.

#1 – Up your game with audience engagement.
Audience engagement apps add another level of interactivity to your trade show. And before you look away, we don’t mean adding just any app – there’s some great tools out there you should be utilizing. The app industry offers easy to use web-based live sharing and Q&A solutions to engage attendees before, during or after the show. They might also allow followers to watch live presentations, ask questions, answer polls, make digital notes, live tweet & much more. By capturing what’s really going on in your attendees’ minds, you can use the data to help you target the right audience for future trade shows. If you’re not sure it’s the best fit for your company just start small and adjust from there. Review your engagement the first time you use the app to make sure it will work for your needs.

#2  – Social walls = real time engagement.
Imagine how neat it would be collecting social media posts from your attendees in real time and displaying them right on a monitor mounted to your trade show display for everyone to see. Try selecting a specific hashtag pertaining to your show and have attendees post using that hashtag. Or simply ask attendees to “tag” you in a photo. You could make a game of it and use this as a contest to win your giveaway. Let’s be real here — who doesn’t love seeing their post show up on a big screen!

#3 – Create a trade show landing page.
Having a dedicated landing page added to your existing website to showcase your trade show schedule, locations, agendas and speakers — this would be helpful to attendees, right? The main purpose is to send potential attendees to your website to help you spark interest and encourage social media sharing.  Of course there are OK landing pages and there are amazing landing pages. Make sure your message is clear and to the point. Also graphics are huge so hiring a graphic designer might not be a bad idea since you’ll want to make sure all of your dedicated trade show landing pages are fully on brand.

#4 – Let’s…chatbot?!
For those unfamiliar with the term, a chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via audio or text. Adding a chat feature to your website to answer pre-tradeshow questions may take some of the burden off your support team.  And don’t worry, your pre-populated answers don’t have to sound robotic either. You can make it sound just as natural as having a live human on the other end. But you want to know the best part? Chatbots work for you 24/7 and are pretty darn cost effective.

#5 – Retargeting is your friend.
Quite possibly one of the best tools for converting your landing page visitors into attendees. We know you’ve seen it – you go to a website and a “pop-up” appears for you to sign up. This has been around for a while but just now becoming more popular in order to run specific campaigns to increase conversions. Now you might be wondering how this actually works…well, think of your trade show landing page as a “shopping cart”. Typically you’re asked to register when shopping at most online stores so you can save your information for next time. Well, there’s a slight problem with this. Most people won’t register on the first visit, but it’s crucial to your conversion numbers. Just make sure your registration page is clear on your intent and it will be a easier decision to sign up. Lastly, maybe spend a little money to set up a specific retargeting campaign engaging with people that visited but didn’t sign up. Sometimes a little nudge is all it takes.

#6 – Create Pre-Show Teaser Videos.
Video is considered the most effective way to promote anything these days, even your trade show to boost attendance. Utilizing video before and after your trade show could help not only generate awareness to your brand but also boost attendance to your trade show.  However, professional video production can become quite costly and the cheaper options may not look as professional as you would like. So how do you meet in the middle? Try merging existing footage with still photos to create a short video to display social media or your trade show landing page. Try testing out different online tools to combine elements into bite-size video snippets in no time at all.

#7 – Consider adding a Mobile Charging Station.
We’re sure you’ve witnessed this before – someone wandering around cell phone and charging cord in hand in a desperate search of an outlet. How would you like to be the one to swoop in and save the day! Trade show attendees rely on their cell phones, tablets and other devices to check emails, answer voicemail, post to social media or chat with coworkers. Adding a mobile charging station to your existing trade show booth will certainly be something attendees will not stop talking about! Genius, right?!

#8 – Boost your WiFi.
Rather than shelling out a crazy amount of money to the venue, and sacrificing your first born just to get decent bandwidth, consider adding a portable internet hotspot to your trade show booth. It’s so crazy how these small modules can make all our internet fears disappear and for a decent price. You’ll finally put an end to that “sorry I’m at a trade show and the Wifi is so slow I can’t even load Facebook” feeling.

So maybe you still have a little money leftover?

This could also be spent on promoting your brand or products on social media. A little bit of money spent on SEO targeted content across platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram  or Facebook could also work wonders.