Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

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Who Wants to Take Better Tradeshow Exhibit Photos?

Do you want to take better tradeshow exhibit photos? Or are you satisfied with quick smartphone photos of your booth?

Learn to take better tradehow exhibit photos!

It all depends on what you want them for.

If your goal is to simply document how a booth looks at any given show, your smartphone should suffice. Point and shoot. Wait as best as you can until people are out of the way and snap your photos.

If you want something more professional, simply hire a pro. I’ve done it more than once, even though I’ve had decades of experience behind a camera. Sometimes you just need a photo at a show you’re not able to attend, or you want a very high quality photo that you can submit to a magazine. That’s probably reason enough to hire a photographer. If you do hire a local photographer, you can always ask for recommendations from colleagues. If that doesn’t work, do a search for local photographers, reach out to a few and ask questions such as how much they charge, what’s their experience shooting tradeshow exhibits, and can you schedule the session at a time of day when the show floor is not crawling with people? Preferably that would be prior to a show opening in the morning, during the time when only exhibitors are allowed. A short session should only cost two or three hundred dollars, and if you hire a local you won’t have travel costs to worry about.

If you rely on your smartphone, you’re still able to grab some good shots. Keep these tips in mind:

Know your goals: are you gathering exhibit photos for possible online sharing? To document the state of the booth? To show visitors and/or staffers in the booth so you can share online? All of the above?

If you’re taking photos during a busy show, wait until people walk past your viewfinder. Try to get as much of the booth in your screen as possible. This may take a little moving around to look for the best angle.

If you’re able, go early and take photos of the exhibit prior to the show opening. Take them from all sides, and take close-ups as well.

Hold the camera steady! Even though it looks great on your phone screen, if you’re moving even a little bit, the photo may end up somewhat blurry (one of my hard-earned lessons!).

Finally, if you have editing tools on your smartphone, you can crop, filter, brighten and so on to make the photo mo’ better to share!

3 Tradeshow Webinars That Are Worth Your Time

I love webinars.

No wait, I hate webinars.

I’ve attended so many webinars over the years that it’s easy to come away with both feelings: love and hate. Hate when you spend an hour only to have the presenter take the first 20 minutes giving you his poor sob story, 14 minutes of actual information that you can use, and 26 minutes trying to sell you on his $2,000 product.

But then there are those that cut to the chase, make it worth your while by delivering the goods. So I thought it might be fun to cruise YouTube and try to track down a handful of tradeshow webinars that are actually worth your time.

To begin, Ruth Stevens teams up with Lands’ End in 2013 for a tradeshow webinar called “Get More Out of Your Tradeshow Marketing,” which last about a half hour and is packed full of great information presented professionally.

Udi Ledorgor, author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller “The 50 Secrets of Tradeshow Success,” joined Pepperi for a fun-and-info-filled webinar. It clocks in at just under 40 minutes, so if you’re keeping score and home you now have almost 70 minutes of education to soak up by staying on this page. And if you do, of course, Google will love you, I’ll love you, and more people will find me. So you’re watching these now for TWO reasons: you’re going to learn something that will make you better at tradeshow execution and for the good of all mankind.

But wait, there’s more!

I ran across a rather long, but worthwhile webinar called “5 Tips to Maximize Your Tradeshow Experience” put on in advance of a show in 2016 called QuickBooks Connect by Kelly Bistriceanu of TSheets and Yoseph West of Hubdoc. While there are a number of QBConnect-only mentions for meetups and so forth, these two speak very knowledgeably and discuss some good ideas on planning and execution of tradeshows during this hour-plus webinar:

Okay, if you managed to make it through these webinars, I’ve taken up a couple of hours of your time by now. But y’know what? You’re smarter! And you’ve earned a break and probably a cup of coffee.


Sign up for TradeshowGuy Webinars – click here!

10 Things to Look for in Your Competitors’ Tradeshow Booths

Of course you’re busy at the tradeshow, but make time to check out your competitors’ tradeshow booths. You’ll learn useful stuff! Here are ten things to look for:

  1. tradeshow exhibit competitors

    New products or services. What are they launching, what is there that wasn’t last year? What is not in the booth that was there last year?

  2. Size of booth. Did they increase or decrease the size of the booth? What else changed?
  3. Lead generation. Can you get a good sense of what their lead generation and capture methods are?
  4. People. Who’s there? Do they have management along with booth staffers? How many?
  5. Preparation and engagement. Does the booth staff act prepared and trained? Do they greet visitors properly, or do they sit in the back behind a table and wait for eye contact?
  6. Exhibit function. Is there easy access to their booth or do they have tables or other items blocking the path? Does it look cluttered or clean? Is there significant meeting space?
  7. Messaging. is their brand message consistent throughout or does it leave you wondering?
  8. Visitors. are they getting a lot of visitors? Do you recognize any visitors as targets you’d like to connect with?
  9. Giveaways. Do they have giveaways? If so, what are they handing out, and is there any conversation that goes on prior to the visitor getting the freebie?
  10. Presentations. are they giving presentations in the booth? If so, is it a hired pro presenter or is it some member of management? If you can’t tell, go ahead and ask.

Once the show’s over, debrief with your comrades and learn what you can about your competitors’ appearances at the show. I’ll bet that information will come in handy some day.

Millennials and Tradeshows

My oldest son is a millennial. Born in 1992, he’s toward the end of the age range, which to marketers are those born between 1980 and 1996. So as we slip into 2017, the oldest of the millennials are hitting 37 years of age, the youngest are just reaching the legal drinking age in most states. I’d like to think that I am at least familiar with how millennials act and what drives them. But I still find myself surprised at some research findings.

So do millennials like tradeshows? If so, what does it take to attract them?

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As an aging boomer, I’m a generation ahead of millennials, but I talk to them a lot. In fact, I would say many millennials are in positions at companies that coordinate or help assist the coordination of tradeshow marketing. So yes, a lot of them go to live events such as tradeshows. In fact, according to a recent EventBrite , about a third (30%) of millennials say they met someone at an live event that became a good friend. Even more, 79% of millennials say that going to live events with family and friends deepens their relationship. With the advent of social media and online connections over the past decade or two, it doesn’t surprise me that millennials in particular are looking for more ways to bond other than a digital connection, and live events are a significant way for them to do so.

From the executive summary of the EventBrite research report, which was conducted by Harris, “they are increasingly spending time and money on them: from concerts and social events to athletic pursuits, to cultural experiences and events of all kinds. For this group, happiness isn’t as focused on possessions or career status. Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities. With millennials now accounting for over one fourth of the total U.S. population, their high focus on experiencing life supports the growth of an economy driven by the consumption of experiences. The combination of this generation’s interest in events, and their increasing ability to spend, is driving the growth of the experience economy.”

Other key findings: millennials prefer experiences to things. Yes, it appears they always want to have a new phone or electronic toy (as advertisers would have to believe), but more than ¾ would choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something they want.

So how do you attract and impress millennials?

According to GES’s Chief Creative Officer Eddie Newquist, you should craft a holistic experience for millennials. Also: don’t overdo the technology, give them something to DO in your booth ferhevvinsake, be creative and bold, and give them an opportunity to buy in at the last minute. They also respond more to digital marketing efforts, so that last minute to attend might have an impact.

Bottom line: millennials like live events, they attend tradeshows, but they’re looking for more than just the average exhibit or experience. Learn to step it up when targeting them.

 

How to Get People Talking About Your Tradeshow Exhibit

There are three phases to getting people to talk about your tradeshow exhibit. First, you’d love to get them talking about it before the show. Second, you want them talking about the exhibit during the show. And finally, you want to make it memorable enough so that they’re talking about it after the show.

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Realistically, I suppose it’s hard to achieve all of those bits and pieces with every exhibit and every show, but as my old football coach used to say, “It don’t hurt to try, do it?”

Prior to the show, set some goals. Figure out what you’d like to accomplish at the show in terms of booth traffic, leads generated and sales generated. Having these numbers in hand will help you focus. Drive traffic to your booth starting a week or so prior to the show by teasing products or in-person appearances in your booth on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, making sure you use the standard show hashtag. If you do a pre-show mailing, you can increase your booth traffic by increasing a promotional product in that mailing.

During the show, the best way to get people to talk about your exhibit is to have all hands on deck. Your staff should be well-trained and well-prepared for the show. They should be dressed appropriately (uniforms, matching tees?). The electronics in the booth should be tested and working properly, graphics should be attractive and functional. On social media, send out time-sensitive tweets and posts that invite people to see something new or meet somebody, or interact with something in the booth that appeals to the five senses. If you can pull off a few of these ideas in a clever and memorable way, show attendees will go out of their way to mention your booth.

After the show, follow up with all leads generated in a timely manner. Post photos of your exhibit and visitors over the next few weeks on social media. Mention any press you many have gotten online or in a newsletter. If you’ve created a list of email addresses or phone numbers of booth visitors, reach back to them to ask their opinion.

Word of mouth is an effective way to market your business. And even though you’re at a tradeshow, getting people to talk about your exhibit and presence at the show can start prior to the show and linger afterwards!

3 Extraordinarily Useful Tradeshow Infographics

Tradeshow Infographics, like any infographic, serve a very useful purpose. They give you a way to visually digest information that might otherwise be a little more difficult to grasp or understand. But an infographic, if done well, gives a reader a quick look as well as a chance to dig deeper into a topic.

With that said, we ran across three tradeshow infographics that illuminate areas of tradeshow marketing that anyone in the industry can easily use. Let’s stack them up.

The first comes courtesy the Northwest Creative Imaging Blog, with best practices for tradeshow booth design. Maybe more directed at the folks who actually design and assemble the booth, but certainly any tradeshow manager in charge of a new booth can appreciate the ideas contained here.

trade-show-signage

 

Up next is a look at 6 Things to Do Before Your Next Tradeshow, thanks to Discover Infographics:

to-do-before-next-tradeshow

And finally, from marketing expert and blogmaster Brandon Gaille, we look at Tradeshow Booth Etiquette:

tradeshow-booth-etiquette

 

9 Secrets to Tradeshow Success

Secrets to tradeshow success? There’s no secret! It’s all out in the open. Actually, it’s all lurking online somewhere. Just for fun, I plugged the search term “tradeshow success secrets” into the Google to see what I came up with.

Everyone seemed to want to chime in: Huffington Post, Inc., Brandwatch, Forbes, Tradeshow Advisor, USA Today and others.

  1. Success is measured by how much effort you want to put into it. I suppose that’s true of pretty much anything you do. But good effort is important.
  2. Trade leads and information with other exhibitors (that aren’t your competitors). I admit, I’ve only heard this one a time or two, and I suspect it’s rarely done. I wonder if you could actually get anyone to do that with you.
  3. IMG_3420

    Let people play with things. Yes, adults like to get hands-on experience as much as kids do. Create an experience where visitors can interact with something and they’ll stick to your booth longer than others.

  4. Have a booth host that knows what’s up. A trained staffer is worth their weight in gold. The really connections are person-to-person.
  5. Speak at a show. If you can’t speak at a show, sit on a panel. It’s better than nothing. If you can’t do either of those, create your own event that you speak at and invite everyone in your database.
  6. Steam live video from your booth. With the advent of Facebook Live, it’s easy to pull out your phone and go LIVE! Interview guests, do product demos and more.
  7. Stop people in their steps with creative flooring. Put your logo or some other attractive graphic at foot level. It’s still enough of a new thing that it’ll stand out and get people to stop.
  8. Know what to say to people. It’s great to have a trained staff member, or to have booth staffers who are knowledgeable on the products you offer. But spend time honing a brief 30 second pitch that focuses on the pain people have around things that your products can solve. For instance, if you sell roofing with a lifetime guarantee, ask visitors if they experience leaks, or if they are due for a new roof but are afraid of hiring some fly-by-night firm that won’t back up the roof installation. Let them identify their pain, then tell them that your product can resolve that pain.
  9. Follow up. When you do get leads, don’t sit on them. Pick up the phone and get back to them. Nuff said.

Tradeshow Exhibits: Rogue One

Or: How to Build Anticipation for Your Tradeshow Appearance

When I was just a mere 22 years old, the very first Star Wars movie came out. This was back when we would watch it, go buy another ticket and watch it again. And again. Star Wars, or as it’s now called, Episode 4: A New Hope, was a unique entry into movie-making. George Lucas says he was inspired by the Saturday afternoon movies he used to watch as a kid. He wanted to create a movie that was a rollicking, fun adventure for all ages, as well as a saga that tapped various historical points for inspiration.

Bottom Line: Star Wars was big, and each impending release caused more anticipation.

Which brings us to Rogue One. It’s the latest movie in the Star Wars canon, and is set to be released before Christmas this year.

rogue-one-poster

The anticipation is YUUUGE. My 16-year old son, who was introduced to the movies by his old man before he was 7 or 8, knows more about the Star Wars universe than I’ll ever know. And every time there is a new tidbit about the new Rogue One, such as a new trailer or story bit, he’ll let me know in no uncertain terms that he can’t wait until the movie comes out.

Now that’s product anticipation!

How can you build anticipation into your tradeshow appearance? Well, certainly, it’s hard to match the pent-up anticipation of Rogue One, but you can build anticipation.

First, have something that will whet people’s appetites. Maybe it’s a new product or a new service that you haven’t offered before. Or maybe you have grown to the point where you have a brand new tradeshow exhibit that will knock peoples’ eyes out.

Next, let people know about it. Send out press releases, talk to media outlets about what you’re unveiling at the big show, tweet about it, tease your audience with glimpses online. Make a big deal out of it: send out an email to your customer and potential client list. If you are unveiling a new product or perhaps a new and bigger booth, include a photo that only partially reveals the entire scope of the project. Build a contest around your product, service or even booth.

Finally, advertise at the show. Figure out how you might incorporate some methods at the show of building even more anticipation by using guerrilla marketing, putting footprints from the front door to your booth (with show organizers help, of course), buying ads around the show floor entrance, and so on.

No, you’ll probably never quite develop the full-blooded anticipation of a 16-year old Star Wars geek awaiting Rogue One, but with some work and planning, you can build up a healthy anticipation for your next tradeshow appearance.

Using Virtual Reality in a Tradeshow Booth [Webinar Replay]

I love a good discussion where I come away with more information than I had at the beginning. That’s what happened with the 20-minute webinar discussion I had with Dave Beck of Foundry45, a company that creates content for virtual reality viewing. Virtual reality can be used in a number of ways, and content can be created from many different angles and for many different reasons.

Here’s the webinar:

Sign up for future webinars at TradeshowGuy Webinars.com.

Exhibitor Magazine Features Tradeshow Success Book

Some Mondays are definitely better than others. After a long bike ride this afternoon, I came back to the office to an email alerting me to the finally-published interview I did earlier this year with Exhibitor Magazine. I’m told that it’ll appear in the November print version as well.

nigel-buchanan-tradeshowguy

Writing a book ain’t easy. This one took me a full year, and that was after at least two or three years of false starts. But as of this month, Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level has been out a year. And as you might imagine, one of the challenges after you publish is to promote it. During my run-up to the publishing date, I reached out to several authors to get their ideas on how to promote a book, and one of the suggestions was to ‘promote it for as long as it took you to write it.’ So yes, I’m still promoting it!

As for the article, it’s nice to see, I admit. It’s longer than I thought, with much more to the interview than I recall. And that custom illustration – hey, thanks to Exhibitor Magazine for getting Nigel Buchanan to put it together – pretty cool!

Check out the full article here – and look for it in the upcoming issue of Exhibitor Magazine!

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