Trade Shows can Grow Your Business

- Monday, October 29, 2012

Any new business is good business for most firms. Many companies are relying on trade shows to grow their customer list. How does a company maximize its return on investment when exhibiting at trade shows?

Trade shows present a range of valuable opportunities for companies that participate, including meeting potential customers, finding new and better ways of doing business and building a more impressive reputation within an industry.

But making a solid trade show appearance requires investing company resources, and many question if it is worth it. However, most businesses can see significant returns even from a modest trade show investment — if they have the right strategy.

According to data from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 88% of the attendees at a trade show usually haven’t been seen by a member of your company’s sales staff in the past year, and 70% plan to buy one or more products. On average, 76% of attendees ask for quotes and 26% end up signing purchase orders. 72% of visitors say the show itself influences their buying decisions.

The positive impact of exhibiting at a trade show isn’t confined just to the event, as 87% of attendees will pass along some of the information they obtained at the show, and 64% will tell at least six other people about it. From a sales perspective, shows can also be highly cost-effective — it costs 22% less to contact a potential buyer at a trade show than through traditional field sales calls.

Of course, the fact that trade shows offer a lot of chances for boosting business doesn’t guarantee success. To maximize the value of a trade show appearance, it’s important to find the events that are best-suited to promoting your firm and making an impact on the market.

Once the right shows have been identified, your business needs to develop a comprehensive strategy and ensure your company is represented in the best possible light.

For a trade show exhibit that will correctly portray and sell your business, contact The Exhibit Source.


Trade Show Marketing Fundamentals

- Monday, October 22, 2012

Nothing, especially in the business-to-business world, beats a trade show. You get to actually meet and shake hands with people, answer questions in real time, present your products and your message exactly how you want to present them, and meet new people who could very well become customers in the future. Here are some tips to help ensure that your trade show goes smoothly.

1. Drive traffic to your trade show booth BEFORE the show
It’s in the trade show’s best interest to drive people to the show. Once attendees are there, it’s up to you to get them to come to your booth. You can use any channel of marketing to assist you with this goal. Many trade shows offer a direct mail list of pre-registrants that you can rent as part of your show package.

But there are also a lot of more creative ways to get people to your booth. Notify your Facebook fans that fans who show up at the booth will be entered into a special drawing. Send personalized messages to your most loyal customers and invite them to visit your booth where they’ll receive some sort of VIP treatment.

2. Generating realistic leads
Everyone at a trade show wears a badge, and when you scan that badge you get that particular attendee’s contact information. Scanning any badge that comes along does not mean you are getting qualified leads. Decide on how you will qualify your leads. When you come back to work with new contacts, you should be able to explain, generally, why those people were considered leads. Not only will this give you a more accurate idea of how the show performed for you but it will also help you establish how you want to nurture those leads.

3. Have a plan to follow up with leads
Knowing how you are going to nurture the leads you generate at the show should be part of your pre-show conversation. As people return to their offices after a show they’re going to be playing catch-up from the work they missed while attending the conference. Soon, their interest in your company will wane if there is no follow-up. We recommend making sure that your customer service department, your sales department, and your marketing department are all on the same page.

Incidentally, following up with existing customers who visited you is not a bad idea either. Making them feel special by acknowledging that you saw them and appreciated their presence could go a long way towards building customer loyalty.

4. Exhibit with professional marketing materials
A trade show booth is like a real-life website homepage. You are standing in an aisle and you want people to see all of the things you feel are most important about your company. Professional literature and booth graphics represent a bigger investment, but when you are trying to make a powerful first impression, isn’t it important to put your best possible foot forward? Your booth graphics, your literature, your business cards, and anything else you present will be how people perceive you as they walk by. Make it a good first impression.

Think creatively from your efforts to drive traffic to your booth to the way you interact with people at your booth and through the process of following up with leads. For more information on designing a creative trade show booth, contact The Exhibit Source.


Beyond the Trade Show Display - What Else do You Need For Success

- Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall is one of the busiest times for trade show events. From mid-September through November, businesses exhibit to decision makers, sharing the latest in products and services at conference, conventions and trade shows.

When searching for a company to help with your trade show display, look for experience in designing, creating, and building trade show exhibits. But beyond an eye catching display,  here are some "must haves" every trade show booth should contain.

1. Office supplies. Come prepared with writing materials, scissors, rubber bands, safety pins, binder clips, paper clips and other miscellaneous office supplies. Include adhesive products such as masking tape, Duct tape, double sided tape, Velcro sticky dots, push pins and tacks. These items will come in handy when taping down electrical cords, hanging posters and repairing unexpected tears.

2. Basic tools and electrical cords, extension cords and adapter plugs. A basic tool kit including screw drivers, pliers and hammer will come in handy. If you are relying on electricity; make sure you have what you'll need to plug in lighted displays, monitors and printers.

3. Personal comfort items. In addition to shoes that are comfortable and offer good support for standing long periods of time, you also need  a mini medicine chest, aspirin and antacids, mints and chewing gum, eye drops, throat lozenges and lip balm as well as bottled water and quick, easy snack items.

4. Camera/FlipCam. Keep a visual record of your trade show booth experience by taking pictures of your trade show booth, sales team, and convention visitors. Where appropriate, use your FlipCam (or similar recording device) to capture real life comments from customers and prospects about your company.

The Exhibit Source offers affordable, creative trade show display options for your next trade show exhibit rental. Looking for a unique trade show exhibit design, contact us.

Wall Street Journal – Market Watch

How to Use Q4 Marketing Budgets

- Monday, October 08, 2012

We just started the final quarter of the calendar year and many marketing professionals are looking to spend their quarterly marketing budget before they lose it.  There are many different avenues one can take when deciding what is the best fit for your organization.  Depending on your goals, each option provides a different impact on you sales pipeline.  However, trade show marketing is a lucrative way to bring leads into your sales funnel.

Trade Shows/Conferences:  Trade shows are making a big return for many marketing departments; the problem is deciding which one you will invest in to provide the biggest return.
On any given week there are at least one or two conferences or shows worth attending, but which makes the most sense for your organization?  Gauging the ROI on a trade show booth investment can be difficult because most people don’t close business during a booth stop.  Trade show booths are great at creating word of mouth buzz (as long as they are done right) and providing prospects for your inside sales team to follow up with.  

For information on creating the right trade show exhibit, contact The Exhibit Source.


Increase Brand Awareness at Trade Shows

- Monday, October 01, 2012

One effective way of increasing brand awareness for companies is participating at industry trade shows.  As companies consider which trade shows to attend in the fall and spring season to demonstrate their value, products and services, they also need to strategically plan on how to get the most out of their time and effort. Companies should implement effective trade show strategies to stand out from the competition, while maintaining pre-defined budgets.

It's tempting for companies to significantly cut their marketing and sales budgets in a challenging economy. Rather than sacrifice participation at trade shows completely, more cost-effective marketing approaches -- such as participating in the highly visible exhibitions, crystallizing the message, speaking in addition to exhibiting, inviting a few key prospects, working the media, and partnering with others who augment their offerings -- all can result in lower costs and more qualified leads.

While the trade show world is not immune to a slow economy, according to a research study by McGraw-Hill, companies that market during economic downturns can achieve dramatic results. The study of over 600 businesses in the 1981-1982 recession found that businesses that maintained or increased their ad spending during this recessionary time averaged significantly higher sales growth during the recession and in the following three years.

Create an eye catching, cost effective trade show display by contacting The Exhibit Source.

Market Watch – Wall Street Journal


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