Monday, May 27, 2013

Simple Trade Show Tips

Trade Shows are a valuable investment for your business and your performance is based the magnetism of your display, your ability to communicate quickly and effectively about your product/service, the materials you provide and most of all, your follow up. There are specific things you can do to maximize your return on this investment.

Pre Show: Invite as many people as you can! Let them know where you will be and offer various types of incentives to show up: “Make sure to stop by and pick up some free samples” or “Don’t forget to come over, say hi and enter into a drawing to win a gift certificate!” Most shows provide you with a list of people who have pre-registered or other vendors. Use this list to send direct mail or e-mails beforehand and  encourage them to visit your booth.

Make sure you have a focused message going into the trade show. Talk to your staff before hand; make sure everyone is on the same page. We recommend picking just two or three key ideas that you want to get across at the show and train yourself and  staff to "stay on message". For example, purely sell your new product or inform people about how eco-friendly your service is. Design your graphics, pre-show promotion, literature and show directory advertising around your message. Keep things integrated.

Show time: Make attendees intrigued by your booth, ensuring that they stop by instead of walking right on by. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make your booth visually appealing, just make sure to put your products front and center and put the people manning the booth out of the way. Think about it like this: don’t you hate having to deal with sales staff the first thing as you walk into a business? Most trade booth workers are going to be aggressive; yet people like to be left alone to look, touch and play with your product first. Make sure you acknowledge the people approaching as well as pay attention to become available once they have a question. Just let them explore on their own first.

Post Show: Naturally, since you were in touch with attendees before and during the show, it is crucial that you are in touch with them after the show as well. If you had a ‘bowl’ for people to enter their names/business cards in for a prize, use that information to reach out and send a personalized e-mail thanking them for stopping by your booth. Encourage them to ‘Like’ you on Facebook or direct them to your website. If you had a sign-in sheet, take that list and reach out to those people acknowledging that you appreciated them stopping by.

As you gain experience and improve your trade booth skills, you will achieve greater results. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at BBG&G if you need any materials, designs, posters, etc for your next trade show!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trade Shows: Top Secrets Revealed

Trade shows are a top marketing channel for many businesses, yet in recent years they have become quite under-utilized. Trade show events offer businesses the opportunity to build personal relationships with consumers, which potentially lead to sales increases. And the real beauty of a trade show is that you can share your product or service with the audience face-to-face. Building new relationships, with the added bonus of having the opportunity to check out the competition.

Research shows that about 50% of trade show attendees do make a purchase within 1 year of the event. Why is this?

  • Some products are more easily sold with a demonstration. You are able to give live  demonstrations of your products to a large audience.

  • You are enabling people to meet YOU and your team; you are the people behind the product. You are not crooked and not just out to get their money. You are the people, honest and hard-working, who have created a product or service based on a real need.

  • Finally, the greatest thing about trade shows to many — the Give-A-Ways! Promotional products abound at trade shows … pens with your logo, yard sticks, candy … you name it. But, even better, if you product is inexpensive to make, you can give a sample to every attendant. If more expensive, then have a drawing at the end of the show. Either way you are connecting with consumers. Everyone loves free things.

Attending local trade shows and events is a good way for national brands to connect with local consumers. On the other end, local brands can connect with consumers that were not reachable before. Ultimately your business, whether just starting out or an established company, will obtain new referrals, quality leads, deal closures, and valuable cross-selling opportunities. 

Check back next week for tips on how to make the most of a trade show!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Storytelling within a Consumer Journey

I have touched upon storytelling in the past and why it is so important to all business. People are drawn to a good story and will literally pay more for something that comes with an exciting tale. What’s important to remember is that consumers are going to enter your story at different chapters along their voyage. It is crucial to connect your story of how you solve the customer’s problems at each step of their journey with your company.

First, ask yourself where the customer is in the buying cycle: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, or After-Sale. From there, create content that is relevant to the needs, issues and requirements for each buyer stage. Buyers at each stage are interested in different types of content. For instance, a prospective buyer (awareness stage), does not need a list of cool features of your products. You need to reel him or her in with a story of why the ‘change’ from a competitor to your company is worth it. A customer that has been a solid customer of yours for years (after sale stage) hardly wants to view generic content that lists product benefits; they already know. They need engaging content to continue the story with your company.

Louis Vuitton, luxury retailer, employs the art of storytelling in a BIG way. They offer an iPad app just to tell their history and legend. It is a narrative of what made them famous: luggage and trunks. Each has a visual chronicle. The app is $16.99, which may seem like a lot to us ‘regular people’, but pales in comparison to what the brand’s devotees typically pay for the products – and, oh how it expands the consumer experience!

This app is intended for Louis Vuitton’s brand loyalists (after sale) - consumers already enthusiastic with the products. They are proud of the luggage they travel with and now they have a sense of historic luxury to go along with it. Louis Vuitton found a way to tell their story and create brand ambassadors.

This is how I see it, if your product or service seems quite similar to a competitor, your story can help your product rise above. I love the idea of storytelling because it brings products and services to life and shows consumers how your products or services can benefit them and maybe even change the way they do something. Consumers will learn to trust your company if they are involved in your story — enough trust to do business with you consistently. Storytelling and content marketing will generate new leads, drive brand awareness, create brand ambassadors, and in due course, drive sales.