The 5 Most Common Trade Show Mistakes (Part 2/2)

3 Oct

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And What You Can Do to Avoid Them

In last week’s post, we discussed two important trade show mistakes to avoid. It’s common to overlook the significance of your trade show presence and how it can impact your business. But in today’s competitive markets, it’s vital that your trade show strategy makes a lasting impression on potential customers.

To generate good, qualified leads, you need to make sure that you’re telling a cohesive brand story—one that gets to the heart of what it is you really do, while at the same time, putting on your best face to prospects. You only have a few seconds to make your first impression. Are you making the right one?

Avoid these final three trade show marketing mistakes to ensure true sales success for your company:

        1. “Sales reps don’t care how pretty our exhibit looks.” Not so fast. Many companies who exhibit at smaller events send their sales representatives, and yet it is not uncommon to see exhibits with creases, cracks, and coffee stains. These things happen, but companies would do well to remember that for many sales representatives, these exhibits are representations of your company, brand, and style of delivery—even if only on an unconscious level. Make sure your traveling brand stays neat and clean.

          Helpful tips:
          • If they are running the booth, train all the sales reps to properly setup and pack the booth
          • Have them take a picture of the booth at each event for you to see to ensure quality
          • Schedule yearly booth cleaning and maintenance
          • Work with a reputable company to take care of your exhibit investment

        2. “Knees have eyeballs, right?” Not really. While there is hopefully no need for an anatomy lesson here, it’s important to remember where you are placing important information and images. It’s a common mistake for many companies not to plan how their exhibits actually function; make sure that yours is considering and using its space wisely for human interaction.

          Useful insight:
          • Stop putting text and key images at knee-level on your exhibit.
          • Keep the most important text at eye level—approximately 5 feet from the floor; help people focus with one clear message or image
          • Not every inch of your exhibit needs to be covered in text or random images
          • Develop an exhibit strategy and messaging goals that extend beyond the backdrop

        3. “If they can’t read our exhibit, they’ll just come closer.” Or they will avoid it altogether and go to the next guy’s booth. It’s not enough to have good content at a trade show event; you need to make it clearly visible, memorable, and easy to understand—and you must do all of this at a glance. This is not the place to showcase the 100 features of your 45 products.

          Key information:
          • Text height should be a minimum of 4 feet tall. Make your text 1 foot high for every 3 feet you step back. Thus, if you want people to read it from 20 feet away, then your text should be 6.5 feet high
          • Fonts: Use serif or san serif styles and only two fonts per graphic— clean and simple wins every time at a trade show
          • When it comes to colors, you don’t want your exhibit to look like you got in a paintball shootout 15 minutes before the event
          • Images are more powerful than words and stand the test of time; text should not take more then 3-5 seconds to read, and it certainly shouldn’t look like an eye chart

No matter the industry, these tips will help you tighten up your brand message, refine your trade show experience, and make a lasting impact on customers that will generate more sales.

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The 5 Most Common Trade Show Mistakes (Part 1/2)

23 Sep

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And What You Can Do to Avoid Them

It doesn’t matter whether you have been working in event and trade show marketing for one year or 20 years, one thing always remains the same: You have five seconds or less to make an impression and get that reluctant attendee to stop in your space and learn.

Proper use of your brand and key messaging elements will help tell your story quickly. In most small exhibits, your graphics are the most important element. One of your main goals should be to create awareness and gather leads that will turn into revenue for your business.

This two part series will help you avoid the top 5 common trade show mistakes for people in the building products industry—stay tuned for the final three next week:

    1. “My team wants to put all of our product images on the booth.” Probably not the best idea. Instead, use an attention-grabbing image that communicates your brand at a glance. Consider the following:
      • A good rule of thumb is to show one large image, visible at 30 feet
      • Use tablet computers such as an iPad in the booth to give attendees a closer look at your products
      • Only use high-resolution images to ensure a quality shot
      • Work with a branding firm that understands how to properly launch your brand within your event space
      • Make sure to test or check results of your exhibit so that you can make changes year to year
    2. “I’ve heard that not using lighting is the quickest way to save money.” False. Many companies try to eliminate lighting to save on exhibiting costs, and this is exactly the wrong way to trim back your budget. Some companies even try to justify it by arguing that lighting can heat an event space, making it uncomfortable for attendees. But lighting technology has come a long way. A few ideas:
      • Light more than just your header
      • Space lights every 2 to 3 feet
      • Use LED lights to reduce heat and power consumption
      • Remember: Halogen lights are not allowed in some convention halls
      • Consider uplighting from the floor

For the three more trade show mistakes to avoid, don’t miss next week’s blog post!

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Beacon Technology: The Near Future of B2B Marketing

9 Sep

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Embrace This Powerful Technology and Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

Today, both B2B and B2C marketers are presented with an opportunity to provide enhanced customer experiences, thanks in part to a new and powerful technology: Beacon applications.

A beacon is a wireless device that communicates with a customer’s smartphone within range using low-energy Bluetooth connections. With the right app installed on a mobile device, beacons can collect a customer’s data, determine their proximity, and send them notifications and content.

It’s taking the marketing world by storm and many are seeing the benefits. An article from this past July by RetailingToday.com describes a recent partnership between Swirl Networks, a provider of a leading iBeacon marketing platform, and Motorola to deliver enhanced product, sales and service to leading retailers. As a result, retail environments can take customer interaction to a new level. Take Macy’s and Kenneth Cole for example, who are personalizing the in-store experience by engaging with shoppers through personalized digital content through beacon rollouts.

In the B2B environment, Metrie, a leading distributor of solid wood and composite wood mouldings and supplier of interior doors, released an app earlier this year that utilizes iBeacon technology to enhance the experience at its trade show booth. So, how can you begin to employ beacon marketing in the near future?

  • Events and trade shows: Similar to Metrie, beacons can significantly improve attendees’ experiences at your booth. For instance, welcome messages can be pushed out to their mobile devices once they arrive. Overall, attendee data can be delivered to exhibitors to pinpoint popular booths.
  • In-Store: Once a customer enters the store, your staff can obtain a notice to properly greet them and provide them with the information they need and want to know.
  • Content Marketing: Within store range, relevant content such as digital copies of your company’s newsletters, flyers, videos, and more can be pushed out to customers.

For more information on Swirl’s partnership with Motorola and iBeacon marketing capabilities, give Retailing Today’s article a read.

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Colors That Will Guide the Building Products Industry in 2015

4 Sep

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The New Sherwin-Williams® 2015 Colormix Collection

As building products marketers, it’s important to stay ahead of the latest trends in the industry. The Sherwin-Williams® Colormix 2015 Collection offers a variety of color palettes for designers and other pros to consider when determining what looks will sell best in the coming months. By researching trends in art, fashion, science, and pop culture, the marketing team at Sherwin-Williams has produced four palettes of varying colors to forecast the design trends that will influence those in the building products industry and beyond in 2015.

The following four palettes should be a good starting point for those in the building products industry moving forward:

  • Chrysalis: Off-blacks, chalky neutrals, and dusty blues that evoke a sense of calm and comfort
  • Voyage: Vivid teals, greens, and purples that draw on science fiction, space tourism, and underwater adventure for more vibrant customers
  • Buoyant: Light and deep greens, corals, and purples inspired by vintage, quirky florals
  • Unrestrained: Saturated colors like yellow, turquoise paired against black and white to enhance rooms with bold, ethnic-inspired flavor

For more on the colors Sherwin-Williams is featuring in its 2015 Colormix Collection, check out this great article by K+BB.

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Small Screen Marketing is Smart Screen Marketing

28 Aug

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Better enable your sales message for mobile

There’s no argument about it: customers are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets at growing rates. Mobile devices are surpassing computers in sales, connecting customers and prospects to your business, and helping salespeople close deals. In short, mobile is becoming the first screen while personal computers are becoming the second screen. As people are increasingly utilizing their mobile devices for information on the go, the small screen is proving that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to delivering your sales message to your audience.

Consider these stats:

These stats show an important trend: people are making decisions while using mobile devices to look for products, services, and your business information. Below are five insights for what your customers want on the small screen.

  1. Your website must be mobile friendly: This is the point people miss the most when they say they are not ready to invest in a new website. At ER Marketing, we recommend at least creating a simple mobile-friendly website landing page that has key information about your services and includes contact information. Whatever the case, make sure you incorporate a mobile-friendly website in your sales and marketing strategy.
  2. Make sure your email is easy to read on mobile devices: Mobile-friendly email is a key business communication tool. Whether you’re marketing or simply communicating with your customers, you need to think about the small screen. Keep your message’s subject line short. Your brand name and call to action should be high enough on the screen so viewers easily know what you’re asking them to do.
  3. Customers want to find you: Your customers and prospects want to find you and contact you. Make it easy for them by including these key items: a readily available contact page with your address and a map that links to Google Maps, click-to-call enabled phone numbers, easily accessible email addresses, and social media links—if you’re not using it, you should be.
  4. Content is king: Content should come first in any marketing and sales strategy. Your website should easily describe what you do—but not only what you do; it should also convey the benefit of this service to the customer. When a customer is looking at your website or email on a smartphone, the content needs to be refined. Less space to get your message across can be a challenge, but it’s one worth facing. Consider using a content specialist to help you format your story and your message to fit across multiple screens. Lastly, note that forms and downloads should be mobile friendly as well if you’re looking to include them on your mobile website.
  5. Mobile devices and sales: Your sales teams are using mobile tools to help sell your products and services. If they’re not, just know that your competitors are using them. These tools can include tablets loaded with online demos, PowerPoint presentations, documents and online brochures—or they can include apps such as sales management software or even email to help them close business. This should be part of your strategy to grow your business. It will help make you communicate more efficiently and connect you to your customers.

To summarize, focus on your website, but make sure that you’re optimizing your mobile message. We believe this to be the center of your business operations, no matter the industry you’re in. Serve up a mobile-friendly website experience that allows customers to find you and contact you. As the smartphone becomes the computer of choice, companies that enable their message for the small screen will be poised to attract new business and strengthen their brand awareness. Small screen marketing has become smart screen marketing.

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