The 5 Most Common Tradeshow 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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10 Steps to Enable Your Building Products Event Experience (Part 2)

15 Jul

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Put a Name to Your Face With Well-Planned Trade Show Events

Not everyone is good with names, but most people can easily recall a face. That’s why events and tradeshows are such an excellent way to grow your audience and customer-base. With noteworthy information, exciting content, and a unique experience, you can make sure your building products customers know and remember not only your name, but also your face.

Events like these are a vital opportunity to present current and potential customers with the facts about your business; but more than that, it’s also an excellent way to humanize your company. With personal interactions, you put a face to the name of your company, and in doing so, are presented with a chance to secure real leads and increase relations with current customers—hopefully increasing your sales in the process.

The only problem? Creating an engaging trade show event isn’t always as easy as it seems. Luckily, we have your back. Last week, we discussed five key tips to enable your customer’s event experience. This week, we’re bringing you the final five:

  1. Connect the Dots: It’s amazing how many companies don’t have a strong pre- and post-show marketing program that goes beyond a blast email. Segmentation will easily improve the experience people have with your company.
  2. Mobilize your exhibit: Does your target base use smartphones and tablets? If they do, then they most likely have these devices with them during the event. Create ways for attendees to download content, images, or demonstrations that they can view on their own time. Are your attendees using text messaging? Think about collecting cell numbers to send links and messages throughout the show with updates and important news.
  3. Giveaways, freebies, tchotchkes: These are all items that cost money and, to most companies, are not well thought out or connected in any obvious way to your marketing and sales objectives. Think critically about the giveaway and work with a company that can help you choose the right item that represents your brand.
  4. Launch/Re-Launch: Even if you don’t have a new product to show off, promote a desired feature on an existing product. If you only have a prototype, create buzz with animations and allow attendees to interact with the product.
  5. Create a fun experience: Prospects and customers are drawn to a happy, fun place. I recently worked with a company that manufactured only one thing: fans. They could have chosen to simply put them on display and hope that people would come by and talk to them; instead they chose to be different. This company had strong interactive displays, music and a photo booth with wind blowing at attendees while their photo was taken. This company maximized their customer experience and created a very memorable trade show exhibit.

As you can see, planning an awesome event experience is no easy task, and it’s one that requires creativity and careful attention to detail. But with the combined tips from last week and this week, you’re guaranteed to make an impression and ensure that your customers and leads won’t forget your name or your face.

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