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

Event Marketing

Responsible for Drawing a Tradeshow Crowd? 9 Top Notch Ways to Spend Your Money

Drawing a tradeshow crowd is the boiled-down essence of the reason for exhibiting at a tradeshow. With hundreds or thousands of competing tradeshow exhibits, every single one of them wants to find a way to draw the biggest crowds throughout the tradeshow. Having a crowd – and knowing what to do with it – is the best path to success in your tradeshow marketing endeavors.

drawing a tradeshow crowd

Given that, let’s take a look at ways you can spend a little money and draw a crowd.

  1. Hire a pro. Professional presenters know what they’re doing. They will put together a short presentation designed specifically to not only draw a crowd but inform and educate the crowd about your product or service.
  2. Have an exhibit that is visually appealing and feels comfortable to walk into. Many exhibits look great but feel intimidating and will turn people away. Does your exhibit invite visitors to come in?
  3. Do consistent pre-show marketing. Letting people know what to expect at your show is one of the keys to getting people to make a special trip to your exhibit.
  4. Have in activity that relates directly to your product. Digimarc’s appearance at the National Retail Federation expo in New York gave attendees a hands-on experience that was unique and unforgettable.
  5. Leverage your social media activity. Make sure that all posts include the show hashtag and your booth number.
  6. Have a famous person in your exhibit. No, you can’t hire the Brad Pitts, George Clooneys or Jennifer Lawrences, but you can hire an author or speaker that is well-known in your industry to draw a crowd.
  7. Have a well-trained and fun booth staff.
  8. Offer food. Yes, at a food show, you won’t stand out that much. But at a non-food show, it can help draw a crowd. One exhibitor I saw years ago at a tech show made smoothies for visitors. Since it took a minute or two for each smoothie to be made, the staff had plenty of time to chat with folks in the smoothie line to determine if they were prospects or not.
  9. Offer a unique giveaway. Promotional items are a dime a dozen, but if you are offering something useful and cool, word will get around.

And remember – once you have drawn a crowd, be sure you know what to do with them!

12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Exhibiting at Another Tradeshow

asking good questions

As an exhibitor, or someone who manages an exhibit program for a company, you have oodles of details to keep track of each and every show. This often means you don’t have time to stop and ponder the very act of exhibiting at a tradeshow. But sometimes taking time to do just such a thing is a good thing. These questions are not aimed at the logistics of your exhibit, but are pointer more towards the internal conversation you may have with yourself and how you and your staff approach the act of marketing while standing in a tradeshow booth with the intent of finding potential clients or customers.

 

  1. Do you have any blind spots?
  2. What are your hidden strengths?
  3. Are you really focused on the things that are important?
  4. When it comes to networking, do you push your comfort zone or do you play it safe?
  5. How well do you take care of yourself during the few days of the show?
  6. Does everybody on your booth staff know all of your products or services well enough to talk about them fluently?
  7. Do you sometimes talk too much to visitors just to fill time instead of letting them talk?
  8. Do you have three good questions to start a conversation centered on the needs your product or service fulfills?
  9. What information do you need to determine if a visitor is a prospect or not?
  10. Once you qualify a visitor, what precise information do you need from them to move forward?
  11. Are you comfortable you’re doing all you can to maximize the company’s time on the tradeshow floor without doing too much and getting burned out?
  12. Do you have a tested plan to gather all leads and get them back to the sales team in a timely manner?

I could go on and on, but the point is to have you examine your involvement in tradeshow marketing from a different perspective and see if you could find some areas to improve. What questions should you be asking yourself or your team?

How to Build a Tradeshow-Specific Landing Page

Over the years I’ve suggested that companies create a tradeshow-specific landing page for each appearance they make at a show. But frankly, I don’t see too many of them.

But I recently ran across a tradeshow-specific landing page from Digimarc that caught my eye. Digimarc is a Portland-based company that helps clientele with product identification, labels, barcodes and the like.

Digimarc has a tradeshow-specific landing page for their upcoming appearance at NRF 2018 at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center.

Let’s take a look at their landing page and see what they are doing right.

In the first screenshot, Digimarc starts off by everyone that they’re going to be at the NRF 2018. They mention their booth number and invite visitors to check out their store.

tradeshow-specific landing page

Next shot: you’re invited to dig a little deeper to learn about increasing operational efficiencies and more, and again mentioning the booth number. Right below that are a pair of buttons inviting you to schedule a visit with them at their booth, and offering an NRF Registration and Discount Code, reinforcing the notion that not only do they want to you stop by their booth, they want to make it easy:

tradeshow-specific landing page

In the third screenshot, Digimarc offers a chance to learn even more specific knowledge, with buttons to get better labels, implement easy checkout and engage consumers now.

tradeshow-specific landing page

Finally, there is an offer to get a personalized language booth tour – when you click through, the options are to get a tour in Japanese or German – making it easier for those international visitors to make a connection with the company. Then there’s a Lyft voucher and (still to come) an NRF Survival Guide. It’s all capped off with an invitation to follow them on social media to continue the show connection.

tradeshow-specific landing page

Everything is clearly marked, easily understood and very specific. The only quibble I have is that the date and location of the show (NYC in January) are not on the page. But you might argue that anyone going to the show already knows that information, and this tradeshow-specific landing page from Digimarc is being shared with people who are already aware.

In any event, Digimarc did a great job with this.

My question is: why aren’t you doing this with your upcoming tradeshow appearance?

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: November 13, 2017 [video replay/podcast]

One great thing about doing a weekly podcast with guests is that I meet a lot of people. This week it was a pleasure to meet and talk with Roger Courville, who helps learning leaders prepare to reach, teach and lead in the Connectorship Age.

It was a fun conversation about events and tradeshows, how to bring value to attendees and much more. Take a look:

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING is the reggae-tinged band Noiseshaper. I’m not sure if the band still exists or is active, and the website looks to reflect that: the last update looks to be about 8 or 9 nears ago. But they left some great music behind.

3 Extraordinarily Useful Tradeshow Marketing Exhibitor Magazine Articles

Yes, it can be said without fear of being wrong that you will find useful tradeshow marketing articles in Exhibitor. That’s their thing. But in browsing their site this week, I found three which I believe go a little above and beyond because of what you can DO by reading them.

tradeshow marketing

Let’s take a look:

How to Measure the Value of Tradeshow Marketing. Complete with downloadable worksheets, this one takes you through the steps to figure out what’s really going on with your tradeshow marketing efforts and all of that money you commit to it each year.

Taking the Lead. Collecting leads that are worthy of a challenge in and of itself. When you have to convert those leads to sales, that’s when the rubber meets the road so to speak. This article walks you through the steps on grading leads, setting goals, figuring out what questions to ask visitors and more.

Four Factors that Affect Graphic Costs. It seems that graphic design and production is often the item that doesn’t get checked until it’s too late. And lateness (among other things) can affect your cost dramatically. Check out these factors to help keep your costs in line.

A lot of exhibitors wouldn’t do nearly as well as they do without Exhibitor Magazine – often called the bible of the industry. Always good stuff there.

5 Random Tradeshow Questions and Answers

Maybe these should be not-so-frequently-asked tradeshow questions. Or as we like to call them: NSFAQs. Because I don’t know if these questions ever get asked. But maybe they should.

  1. What do I do when the exhibit doesn’t show up? Hmm. It comes down to having a plan B. Or being able to think quickly on your feet. Being resourceful. Being like MacGuyver! It might mean printing up a quickie banner at a local print shop, getting a couple of rental chairs and table, setting up a laptop with a slide show. Anything to show your guests. Yes, of course you’ll do your best to track down the exhibit and it MAY get to you in time. But if not…

  2. Tradeshow Questions

    Why do exhibitors do dumb things? We’re only human. That’s why we left all but a half dozen business cards in the office. That’s why our eyes glaze over after a long day right when that big prospect comes up and asks a really good, engaging question. That’s why we can’t sleep in an uncomfortable hotel bed and we show up at the booth with eyelids and tail drooping. That’s why – when we do all of these things – we still suck it up, put on a smile and make the best of it.

  3. Why did the company decide to invest in a HUUGE island booth but only provide three staffers? Or the flip version: why did the company cut corners with a small inline booth but have 15 people scheduled? Could be bad planning. What do you think?
  4. When did your co-worker take that weird/ugly/goofy photo of you and decided to post on your company Twitter account with the show hashtag and now you’re getting lots of comments? When you weren’t looking. Are you going to get even?
  5. Why am I standing next to a handful of booth staffers who think they need to keep checking their phones 85 times a day, eat a sandwich in the booth, and ask questions of visitors such as: “Can I help you?” Here’s one with an easy answer: they’re newbies and nobody bothered to tell them that tradeshows are a unique environment. It’s a sales environment, but atypical. You need to discern if your visitors would use your product, if they’re in need of it now or the not-too-distant future, who is the decision maker and do they have the budget? Once you know that, you have a qualified prospect and you can set a follow-up that both sides agree on.

 

5 Things to Uncover About Your Tradeshow Competitors

Exhibiting at a tradeshow is a great way to show off your wares, but it’s also an excellent way to uncover things about your tradeshow competitors. Let’s take a look at a half-dozen things you can find out.

  1. Exhibit presence. Of course, the most obvious thing. You can tell at a glance what they want people to see and feel when they set up a booth. But look closer: is it bigger than last year? Is it newer? Have they made changes, or are they using the same old exhibit? Are they growing in their exhibit presence or are they downsizing?
  2. Products/Services: Naturally, this would be the second-most-obvious thing. Are they hawking something new, or does it all look like familiar products with nothing new?
  3. Attitude. Do the booth staffers smile and engage rapidly with passersby? Or do they sit in the back with their eyes on their phone or are they eating? Booth staffers often violate many rules of engagement at tradeshows without thinking, and it may mean that dozens of people keep walking instead of stopping to talk. Other companies exude a great spirit at all times – their staffers are wearing branded shirts, are doing activities designed to engage attendees and more. What’s the attitude of your competitors?
  4. Management. Does the company send managers to assist in the booth? Or are they offsite taking meetings. You may not find this out without an inquiry or two, but you should be able to find out how involved management is in the show.
  5. Job openings. Some companies will openly advertise job openings. Others will let you know if you make a discreet inquiry. Lots of openings usually mean the company is doing well. But it might also mean they have a lot of turnover.

No doubt you can uncover other things about your competitors if you keep your eyes and ears open. There’s probably a little gossip to be had if that’s your thing, along with changes in various departments that you might be interested in. Whatever the case, don’t let the opportunity to check out your tradeshow competitors pass you by!

 

5 Killer Quora Answers about Tradeshow Marketing

Have you checked out Quora? I think I heard about it a couple of years ago and may have even answered a question or two along the way. If you’re not sure what Quora , check out the Wikipedia description:

“Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Its publisher, Quora, Inc., is based in Mountain View, California. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users’ answers.”

And yes, there are questions and answers about almost anything. Including tradeshows. Let’s have a little fun and share some of the best Q’s and A’s about tradeshows and tradeshow marketing:

What should I know before attending my first tradeshow? An author in the industry, David Spark, jumps in with one of the deepest answers I’ve seen on Quora. It includes videos and deep explanations. Yeah, it’s kind of a self-serving pitch for his services and his book, but it hits the mark in all ways.

Here’s an odd question: If people do not want to be marketed to at a tradeshow, how do you un-market to the attendees? Well, shucks, if people don’t want to be marketed to they probably wouldn’t attend a tradeshow in the first place. But whatever. The person answering the question, Rita Carroll, has a short answer, but it distills the important points: have something for attendees to DO or SEE that’s engaging, for heaven’s sake.

Why do people go to tradeshows if there are solutions like Alibaba and etc.? Again, another pretty succinct answer, this one from Stephanie Selesnick. It’s all in the face-to-face.

What should startups consider when planning a tradeshow booth? Rosanie Bans jumps in with a good bullet-pointed outline, including doing your research, setting goals, specifying a budget and creating a game plan.

It’s a long question (and a two-parter), but a good thought-starter: for a young tech company is it better to start with a big tradeshow where whale clients will be found? Or build up slower through smaller shows? Rupert Baines, who tackles this one, recognizes that tradeshow marketing can be insanely expensive, and in some cases actually exhibiting at a show is not the right thing. At others, it might be!

Be sure to check out Quora and see what other questions have been answered.

And just for fun, I found this: What are the best active event professional forums and communities? For some reason, this blog – TradeshowGuy Blog – is listed here, right next to Seth Godin. I’ve never been in such company!Thanks to Josh Simi for the mention!

Pebble Beach concours d’elegance and Beyond

it’s not a tradeshow, but it’s an event of tremendous proportions. It’s historic week on the Monterey Peninsula, and I’ve been attending for over a quarter of a century. Since I first attended in 1989, it has grown to include multiple related events, including historic car auctions, vintage auto tours/rallies, historic auto races and more. It’s frankly hard to keep track of it all! It’s pulled off mostly by volunteers, and has so far managed to remain a mix of the one-percenters (who probably show most of the cars at Pebble) to the average historic/vintage auto buff. And very few celebrities – except for Jay Leno, who MC’s the raffles and a few other things to wrap up the Sunday show (get some new jokes, Jay!).

As I mentioned, I’ve had the good fortune to attend the show over 25 times, and get in a few golf swings at Pacific Grove Golf Course along the way. I thought it might be fun to share a few photos of the event. Check ’em out:

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