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.
Do you have any blind spots?
What are your hidden strengths?
Are you really focused on the things that are important?
When it comes to networking, do you push your comfort zone or do you play it safe?
How well do you take care of yourself during the few days of the show?
Does everybody on your booth staff know all of your products or services well enough to talk about them fluently?
Do you sometimes talk too much to visitors just to fill time instead of letting them talk?
Do you have three good questions to start a conversation centered on the needs your product or service fulfills?
What information do you need to determine if a visitor is a prospect or not?
Once you qualify a visitor, what precise information do you need from them to move forward?
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?
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?
Welcome to a new year – so glad you found us online! This week’s interview on the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee features the author of a new book called “Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs and Robot Overlords.”Charles Pappas, a senior writer at Exhibitor Magazine, was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss this unique historical look at expos, exhibitions and tradeshows:
This is a guest post by Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur & coach: “tradeshow essentials for luxury ecommerce brands.”
Get ready to impress — it’s time to meet your discerning customer face-to-face. For a luxury ecommerce brand, attending a tradeshow provides a great opportunity to make some sales and do some important market research. Not only will it give you the chance to meet customers face to face and promote your products in a completely different way, but you will also be able to see what the competition are doing. As all luxury brands know, staying ahead of your competitors is essential when it comes to standing out in a lucrative marketplace…
Here are six essentials to help you make the most of your next tradeshow in the luxury ecommerce market!
1.Decide on your strategy
Having a solid strategy in place is essential for success at tradeshows: from who needs to attend, to how you’re going to market your stand and generate leads post-show — everything needs to be mapped out well in advance. If not, you run the risk of wasting valuable marketing budget on a poorly executed show. It’s also a good idea to marry your offline/online marketing and create a tradeshow landing page (or at least blog and post about it in advance).
There are hundreds of tradeshows out there for ecommerce brands to attend – so it’s really important that you do your research and choose to attend the ones that best fit your overall brand strategy. It’s a bad idea to stress your business out by attending too many, or only going to the ‘safe shows’ where you stand to learn nothing new.
In the same way that you would review any other platform before deciding to promote your ecommerce business there, the tradeshow you choose to attend needs to fit your goals and objectives. Speak to previous attendees and delegates and spend time quizzing the sales team before you sign up.
2.Plan an engaging & aesthetic stand
In the luxury market, your aesthetic says it all. Generally more understated and elegant in tone, luxury brands need to convey their heightened sense of self with a cohesive and ultimately beautiful stand. Color schemes and decorative flourishes need to highlight the more exclusive nature of what you’re offering. Look at fashion show centerpieces for inspiration.
This also means ensuring that your branding is 100% professional, and that you have a good amount of high-quality literature available for attendees to take away with them. For a luxury brand, you will want smaller print runs of high quality tokens and mementos, rather than a load of flimsy flyers. Samples and token boxes are good thing to give away to potential prospects or partners.
You also need to make sure that you have enough staff available to deal with enquiries, and that they also represent your company well by appearing smart and professional. Get your best people on the ground, including some people from sales and customer support who have firsthand product knowledge.
3.Showcase your products effectively
It’s important to take a selection of products with you to display on your stand. And ensure they are showcased and displayed in the most attractive way possible, constantly patrolling the stand to ensure that the first reaction is ‘wow’. For a luxury brand, more is probably less — so only take your big sellers with you.
You need to make sure that your tradeshow offering mirrors the images that customers (or potential customers) have seen on your website. For luxury products especially, it’s essential that they are presented in a way that reflects their superior quality – you need to make them stand out and look desirable. Think of it like dressing a set before taking a perfect photo.
4.Know your stock levels & capacity
If you’re going to actively take customer orders on your tradeshow stand, then you need to make sure that you know your stock levels or delivery capacity well in advance – just as you would monitor them when selling on your online store. Otherwise you run the risk of overselling, disappointing prospective customers and damaging your reputation as a result when you can’t fulfil orders fast enough. Luckily, most online store systems have built-in dashboards and inventory management systems to help you keep on top of everything when you’re on the go.
5.Make sure you capture data
Attending a tradeshow means one thing in particular – the opportunity to meet lots of prospective customers and business partners. In order to maximize this opportunity, you’ll need to capture the email addresses of visitors to your stand in order to build a specific mailing list for your email database. Offering incentives such as discount codes or other offers can encourage attendees to give you their details.
In order to mirror the seamless online experience that customers have when shopping online, why not capture this data via a tablet? The visitor can even enter their details themselves and the data can then be imported into a database straight away – a win-win situation!
As people spend more and more time attending tradeshows, they can become more reluctant to part with personal data. That’s fine — you don’t want unengaged people clogging up your email list anyways. Don’t get too obsessed with capturing data — it could harm your brand reputation.
6.Make sure you follow up on leads after the show
After going to all that hard work you need to ensure you follow up to qualify any potential leads. This means sending an email to customers to thank them for visiting your stand, or sending over other content that’s specific and timely. If you receive any queries back, it’s also important that you respond to these as soon as possible to ensure that you come across as a brand that gives good customer service – something that’s so important for anyone breaking into the luxury market.
Create some awesome content about the show and what you’ve learned in order to make the most of the event. Use the event as marketing collateral over the coming weeks and months.
When it comes to attending tradeshows, the most important thing to remember as a luxury ecommerce business is that your in-person offering mirrors your online offering. The two should be seamless in terms of presentation, offering, and service, in order to attract customers or attendees and drive sales as a result.
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur & coach.
I’m Patrick Foster and I write about ecommerce and digital technology trends. I’m passionate about helping ecommerce merchants reach their audiences online. You can find my blogs, articles and resources across a variety of entrepreneurial websites aimed at digital growth.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
Today’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee caught up with the very busy Booth Mom Candy Adams. She’s been in the industry helping companies succeed at tradeshow marketing for years and shares a lot of great insights into how it all works – especially when you have to pull Plan B out of your back pocket:
Wait a minute – everyone is better than you? How does that work? After all, you’ve been to school, you’ve gotten years of hard-knocks experience and street skillz, right? So how does that make everybody better than you? Certainly, there are some people and companies that you’ve surpassed.
But maybe they are better. Better at marketing. Better at sales. Better at creating good products. Better at making and sustaining good relationships. Better at just about everything.
It could be that I’m kidding, just a bit. Not everybody is better than you. There are a lot of companies and people tha
t have fewer skills and less experience.
But you’re not competing with the ones you are already better than everything at. You’re competing with the ones who are better than you. You’re already selling better than those competitors. You’re putting out better products. You’re building better relationships than those people who are not as adept as you at communicating.
No, you’re really competing with those who really ARE better than you. It may be that not too many companies or people are better than you. Or it may be that almost all other companies that you compete against are bigger and better. But those are the only ones that really matter. The only ones that you still have left to pursue. And of those, everybody is better than you.
The only ones you have left to compete against are the ones who are better than you. Aren’t those the ones you want to compete against? Of course they are. Those are the ones that bring out the best.
It’s like the championship series or game in sports. As a fan, you secretly love it when the other team’s star goes out with an injury. It gives you a better chance of winning. But if you win, you are not beating them at their peak. You’re beating them with their best player on the bench. But if you beat them when the best player is competing at his or her best, you’re really proving something to everyone.
So, don’t worry about all of those other companies that you’ve already surpassed. If they become better at what they do, then they’ll become fierce competitors and you can worry about them then. Right now, focus on everybody that is better than you. Those are the ones you’re trying to beat. And right now, everybody ahead of you is better than you.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Matt Kazam joins me for today’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: Matt has done stand-up comedy in Las Vegas for years and is moving into the corporate and tradeshow world, so we sat down to discuss how he’s approaching that and some of the challenges that come up around that endeavor.