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

Mobile Marketing

Coolest Tools I Use

I love productivity tools, and love sharing them with friends and colleagues. I got to thinking the other day that I’ve never actually compiled a list of those tools and posted it. So here ’tis: some are old friends, some are brand new tools. All of them help me do what I need to do with my online and offline world.

So…in no particular order or preference (all links open a new browser window)…

Online:

  • Freebinar.com: Do free webinars for unlimited audiences, follow-up with attendees and registrants. Download data from the webinars.
  • Freeconference.com: Ditto for teleconferences.
  • FedEx print online: Only had to use this a few times as I can usually print elsewhere, but on those occasions this service has knocked me out with how easy it is to use. Upload files, tell ’em what you want and when you want it, and go pick it up.
  • Photoshopsociety.org: I realize that my Photoshop skills are lacking – but this membership site has proven to have the goods with tons of tutorials, downloads, web and WordPress templates and more.
  • Bluehost website hosting: All my sites are hosted by BlueHost.com. Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains, thousands of e-mail addresses, one-click WordPress install and updates, and more bells and whistles that you can every use. All very easy. Great customer service when needed. And dirt cheap.
  • Aweber and Ratepoint e-mail marketing: I’ve used Constant Contact, which is a solid service. But they didn’t have a few items that AWeber did. I was pitched RatePoint one day and checked it out. I use it for my Tradeshowguyblog.com newsletter; I use AWeber for everything else (CommunicationSteroids.com, DigitalAudioWorld.com and others).
  • Eventbrite.com: Got a live or online event and want to track attendance, sell tickets, mine data? It’s all here. I’ve used it a couple of times and was very pleased. Looking forward to using it again.
  • Feedburner: If you have a blog, be sure to burn your feed with Feedburner. Tons of additional stats and tools with this free Google tool.
  • YouSendIt: Need to send a large file to someone that doesn’t have an FTP site? YouSentIt.com does it for free for most files.
  • WordPress: The best (in my humble opinion) blogging platform around. Tons of customization options.
  • Google Chrome: Chrome has taken over Firefox as my favorite web browser. It’s faster; the search-in-address-bar feature is easy, and there are more and more themes, plug-ins and extensions available all the time.
  • Google plug-in page rank status:  check the Alexa ranking of any website you’re on with a single click.
  • Carbonite back-up plus iPhone app to access any document at home or work from anywhere. My favorite new cool tool!
  • Google Calendar (and syncing to home and work PC’s); with Google Calendar iPhone app. No matter where I update a calendar from, it populates across all calendars. I also use ACT! which syncs with my Outlook calendar at work, so I see everything on all calendars no matter where I input it.
  • HARO: Peter Shankman’s HelpAReporter.com is tops in connecting sources with news (and blog) outlets. Free.
  • GoToMyPc: remote access to your computer from anywhere you have a ‘net connection. Just remember to leave your computer ON!

Software:

  • Software995 to create and edit and combine PDFs. They have a free version, but if you spring for the few bucks you don’t get sent to their website after each PDF you print.
  • Camtasia screen capture program: Version 7 kills. So many different ways to use it. I produce video, screen captures and more with this intuitive, easy-to-use tool.
  • Filezilla: free FTP software, easy to use.
  • Adobe Audition: multi-tracking audio recording software with more effects than I’ll ever use.
  • Photoshop / Picasa: Both are great for manipulating photos; Picasa has an online storage and sharing tool; PhotoShop is the king of photo manipulation.
  • ALZip for creating compressed files for emailing or uploading.
  • AudioShell and MP3Tag for editing MP3 ID tags. I’ve used AudioShell for years with Windows XP. With my new Windows 7 box, it doesn’t work, so I found MP3Tag which does the trick. Not as neat and unfussy as AudioShell, but workable. I only hope that the folks at SoftPointer make it work with Windows 7 64Bit soon!
  • Skype: I’ve used it off and on for years, and with my new Windows Life Cam (below) it’s becoming more of a regular thing.
  • iTunes: when iTunes first came out I was a big Winamp fan. Years later I can hardly recall Winamp.
  • UltraEdit: A super-powered notebook text editing tool. On steroids. I’ve used this for a few years and can testify it’s a great program. Not for everyone; you have to get used to how it works, but for creating simple text-only copy for copying and pasting to other documents it’s a great tool to avoid the underlying coding issues you often get with MS Word.

Hardware:

  • Flip Video camera: bought this a couple of years ago and love it. Easy to care, easy to use with a single stop-start button; it creates digital files that are easy to edit and post on YouTube or your blog.
  • ScottEVest coat – high tech clothing. Ran across this thanks to Peter Shankman. The best travel clothing. More pockets than I can use. Even lost my wallet in my coat once. Knew it was there, couldn’t get it out for five minutes until I found the right zipper.
  • Microsoft Lifecam (hi-def): My friend Tony Marino turned me on to this cool webcam which I’ve had less than a month and love it. Great quality, easy to use, powerful microphone built-in. About $55 if you look around.

What cool tools do you love? Please share!

Do the Yelp Dance!

You’re at a tradeshow, it’s time to close up the booth and head out for dinner and drinks. Maybe catch a Tweetup. Or maybe it’s still several weeks to the tradeshow and you want to schedule a Tweetup. How do you find a good place to meet, or to have dinner and drinks?

Try Yelp. They’re quickly building a reputation as an information provider that offers reviews of businesses – from people that have patronized the business. From Yelp’s website: “Yelp allows consumers to share the experiences they’ve had with local businesses and lets business owners share information about their business with their customers. Simply put, it’s word of mouth–amplified.”

Word of mouth – amplified.

This works from two directions: if you have a business that’s near a convention center, you’d better be listed on Yelp. If not, it takes a few moments to set up an account.

If you’re a small business, you’d better be looking at building a customer community program this year. Starting building an email (and SMS) list so you can offer specials and promotions to those customers. If you’re at a tradeshow or convention, Yelp is a great resource: on a recent vacation I used Yelp to track down a number of restaurants that I never would have otherwise found. All were worthwhile – some more than others – but each Yelp review gave insight into other customers’ experiences and thoughts.

Of course, Yelp can be a double-edged sword if you’re a small business. Treat a customer badly and you might create a firestorm of negativity – deserved or not. With new location-based and customer-review services popping up, it’s going to be a harder line for businesses to walk.

Besides Yelp, your business should be visible and listed on Google Maps and Facebook. Consider looking at newer and not-so-well-known platforms such as FireEagle,  Loopt,  Gowalla,  or Rummble or any of another hundred or more LBS-services.

With more and more people going mobile, the niche-oriented businesses such as Foursquare and Yelp will become bigger and bigger players. Not only can you use them to connect with people, find a great restaurant or coffee shop or tire store, as a business you’ll find a competitive advantage by being first to be found by that small but growing number of people using the services.

Is Foursquare the Next Killer App for Tradeshow Marketing?

The year: 2016

The scene: a busy tradeshow floor in Chicago

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The situation: almost half of the exhibitors at the show are welcoming visitors to the show, who are ‘checking in’ via Foursquare (or some similar app – who’s to know what will survive that long). After then check in at the booth, they’re rewarded with a couple of spiffs. Maybe a free download just for show visitors, a store discount, or a chance to win something cool. Maybe they get a free one-on-one with the CEO. Doesn’t matter, could be anything of value. By checking in, they also automatically are asked if they want to opt-in to receiving special offers via text message or old-fashioned e-mail.

When visitors check the stats in Foursquare they see that hundreds of visitors have also checked in at the booth, as well as many others. There’s a thriving online community of people who are also connecting face-to-face thanks to location-based-marketing apps. It could be Facebook, could be Foursquare or any other of the LBS (location based services) apps that are thriving in the new, increasingly connected world. With the deep personal profiling that has grown in the past few years, it’s easy to connect with people who are interested in the same things, or have certain characteristics in common, such as location, similar job titles, or even off-job interests like golf or skiing. Meetings are arranged either by users or companies who have an interest in bringing these small groups together. Kind of like a Tweetup on steroids.

The scene is not that far from reality. Location based marketing is exploding. Mobile marketing is right behind. Some people are already starting to use the mobile and GPS tools to great effect. Sarah Perez writes on Read Write Web that the key to success for your location-base app is to find a way to reward people for their activities. So what’s your reward?

Indeed. Give something of value to a group of people that are hungry for that item and you’ve started opening the door to a new client-customer relationship.

While Lopez refers to a recent study by Forrester Research that shows ‘only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based apps such as these, and only 1% out of those that use them do so more than once per week’ – just think back to the middle part of the last decade where people were just getting excited about podcasting and blogging, both of which are now well established. Web 2.0 was the new buzz. Since 2005, the incredible growth of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has been the focus of countless media spotlights.

The world is going mobile, and GPS-related services and location-based marketing is poised to take off big time. There’s huge potential there for the masses. And even now, as the Forrester research points out, the current small group of users of Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, MyTown, Brightkite are all very influential. People look to them for opinions and leadership. Friend ask what they’re up to and who’d they buy from.

It may not be the time to jump into location-based marketing quite yet for a tradeshow, but if you did you would not be too far ahead of anyone.

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photo credit: abulhussain

Can Mobile Marketing Improve Your Tradeshow ROI?

iPhone in Canada

Now that a lot of your audience are carrying around smartphones, are you even able to reach them anymore with email, blogging and your social media outlets?

Probably – at least you should be able much of the time.

But an ideal scenario is literally in your hands: reaching your audience with text messaging.

Here’s why text message (or mobile) marketing is worth considering:

First: approximately 97% of all text messages are opened and read! Yeah: wow, 97%!

Next: your competitors are probably NOT doing it. Yet. But chances are they will look at it soon.

Also: Texting can spur instant action because of the immediacy of the medium.

One comment I often hear when the subject of mobile marketing comes up: “…but who wants to get spam text messages?”

That’s the beauty. It’s not spam. Your audience has opted-in to your messages through your website or advertisement, and they can easily opt-out if they change their mind.

Let’s say you have a booth at a tradeshow, and you’re going to surprise your audience with a special deal, a celebrity guest, or some other reason to get people to head for the booth. By timing your text message, your audience can open the text (remember, it’s immediately sent), see the invitation, and come by the booth.

If you can narrow your market to a select group of show attendees, chances are good that you’ll get many of them to respond.

“Your only restriction with mobile marketing is the numbers of characters, so my best advice is consolidate and pack a punch with your message,” advises Van Allen, a leading business marketer and business author who uses text and SMS (short message service) technology to grow several business.

So the next question on your lips is (at least it was on my lips): how do you do this?

The difficult, and manual, way would be to send each message out individually.

Nope, you can see right away that’s not gonna work. Not with all you have to do to keep the booth running, right?

Sign up for a service such as Boomtext, Message Buzz or Moto Message, log in to your account, set up your message and when you’d like it go out and you’re set.

Some services I’ve seen have the ability to segment your audience. For instance if you put out an advertisement on “organic yogurt” you might have readers opt-in to get message specifically about organic yogurt. Other readers might want messages only about fruit-flavored yogurt. It gives you a chance to send extremely targeted messages based on the desires of your market.

Once you start thinking, the ideas on how to tie mobile marketing into your tradeshow marketing start tumbling over themselves.

Phone coupons, time-sensitive offers, opinion polls, welcome messages, games, video links…what can you think of?

If you have sent out or received text messaging, what’s your experience been?

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photo credit: jeffwilcox

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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