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


Trade Show Booth Flooring – A Key Consideration

Guest Article by Jules Sowder

Long parquet tiles inside exhibition

Trade show booth flooring is often overlooked as an important trade show accessory. Yet, your exhibit area floor covering can play a vital role in furthering your company brand image, enhancing the overall booth design, and creating a welcoming environment that draws prospects into your booth.

Consider that you have invested a tremendous amount of time and money producing a beautiful, high-impact display. This includes carefully selecting your display layout and graphics, lighting, accessories, and promotional item to help ensure you maximize your effectiveness and achieve your objectives from show participation.

Rather than work with the concrete or other plain utilitarian flooring most exhibit halls feature, it will serve you well to go the extra step to design and order custom flooring that complements your exhibit. Your flooring contributes to making an impression that reflects the quality of your product, as well as plays a role in attracting visitors who want to learn more about your products.

For example, custom carpet with your logo sends a strong message of professionalism and character. Beautiful area rugs create a warm, inviting atmosphere that emanates comfort and service.

Bold colored carpets depict strength and cool colors like blue and gray create a professional and crisp environment. Your flooring also can be crafted with color changes and lines to help the traffic pattern in your booth.

Another consideration with your flooring is the padding beneath your carpets. A good pad adds comfort and makes it less tiring to be on your feet for hours at a time. While attendees may not notice, those working the exhibit will feel the difference and see the difference in the number of leads that are generated from your efforts.

This article was written by Jules Sowder, an executive marketing adviser. For more information, visit her online tradeshow guide designed to help exhibitors maximize success:

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photo credit: Horia Varlan

How to Effectively Use a Roll Up Banner Stand

Guest post by Brantley Graham

164 - Another Trade Show

A roll up banner stand is an excellent way for a company to make the most of their presence at a tradeshow or exhibition. By controlling every aspect of your customer’s experience at your booth, it is possible to manipulate how they perceive you. However, in order to be able to do this, there are a lot of things that you are going to have to keep in mind. In order to properly take advantage of the benefits of banner stands and banners, you will need to have a very close attention to detail. All aspects of the banner set up should be considered, including lighting and assembly of the unit.

The first thing you should keep in mind when purchasing a roll up banner stand is that not all stands are created equal. There are stands that are ideal for businesses that travel frequently. These stands are fast and easy to set up, require very little in the way of assembly, and pack down into small, lightweight cases that are easy to transport. For those who need a larger set up, there are larger stands that are heavier and bulky, but are compatible with larger sized banners. This can be useful if you are planning on doing a long term branding campaign at one location. When you are selecting your stands, you should carefully consider how much money you wish to invest and how often you wish to travel. These factors will make a big difference in which stands will best fit your needs.

In addition to picking the best roll up banner stand for your needs, you will also need to take care to pick the best banners. Having banners that match your stands is very important. However, having banners that successfully pass the message you want and demand interest in your business is vital if you want your investment to be profitable. When you go to purchase your stands, you will have the option to order banners at the same time. Many businesses choose to take advantage of this option. If you do not have a design completed, you may also be able to request assistance in making a design for your banners. When you pick your design, you want to make certain that you are able to control how your clients perceive your company. If you are branding, you want to make certain that your logo and company name are both clearly visible. In many cases, a simple design is much more effective than a cluttered and busy design. Take your time picking your banner design as this is one of the most important aspects of your purchase.

Once you have purchased your roll up banner stand, you will need to make certain that you properly care for it. Whenever you finish with a stand at an event, check it over for damage. If either the banner or the stand gets wet, dry it out completely before putting it into storage. Damp equipment can cause health problems, discolorations on the banner and odours. Taking proper care of your equipment can help guarantee that it will last you for years to come.

Visit to place a quick quote for Roll Up Banner Stand for conference, meeting and other events from display boards suppliers. is the largest UK conference and event website and by submitting a quick quote, your requirements will be sent to multiple suppliers so that you can find various items including exhibition stands and display boards.

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photo credit: eyeliam

The Big Problem With Tradeshow Lead Collecting


Companies spend boats full of dollar bills on tradeshow marketing. They’ll spend to train their staff, spend to put up a great booth, spend to spiff it up with cool graphics and maybe contrive an outstanding demo of their products.

They may do it so well, in fact, that they’ve got hundreds of folks clamoring for their product. These hot prospects leave contact information and details on their wants and needs in regard to the product or service.

Then they go back to their office, expecting a follow-up call or email. Or brochure, or postcard. Something. Anything!

But they get nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Squat.

Why? Because the company with the booth dropped the ball. They didn’t follow up consistently. The sales staff didn’t see the value in the leads. Or they made a couple of calls, ran into a few dead ends and assumed that all the leads were equal. And stopped calling.

Or the leads were delivered to the sales staff, but someone there didn’t do much with them. Because it was, after all, a pretty big job. With hundreds of leads, the idea of calling or writing all of those folks was intimidating to say the least! So the follow up was far short of what was necessary to drum up more business. Which was, in fact, the whole point of going to the tradeshow.

So often the long chain of events that starts with the decision to exhibit at a tradeshow falls apart with a single weak link.

In this case the tradeshow leads were collected – a lot of them! – but there was minimal follow up, mainly because the system broke down. Or expectations were unrealistic. Or the manpower to follow through wasn’t available. Or the will was weak. Or something.

Before heading off to the tradeshow, make sure the ‘back end’ is set up. Put your system into place which takes into account the following:

  • How will the leads be distributed?
  • Who will follow up?
  • What is the nature of the follow up?
  • How many leads are expected?
  • Is the manpower sufficient to handle the new show leads?
  • Is the budget in place to make sure the follow up happens?
  • Is someone actually in charge?

Tradeshow leads – by themselves – are worthless. Like a great idea that sounds cool over a can of beer, nothing happens until the action takes place.

If your tradeshow leads remain in stasis, you won’t write any business. Without action, you’re like the wallflower at the dance thinking about asking the pretty girl to dance. You’re just standing there. In the shadows. Against the wall.

If on the other hand you have a plan – and a system – for tracking the leads, the follow up (phone, email, direct mail, in-person visits), and the inevitable customer wants and desires, you can actually make hay with tradeshow leads.

In a recent chat with Fred Trembley with, he confirmed what most people in the tradeshow consulting business say: that almost 80% of all tradeshow leads go a-wasting. He says that a system is definitely needed to prevent that from happening.

And I say that if you are able to follow up on most of your tradeshow leads, you’re at least one important step ahead of 80% of your competitors!

Are your leads wasted?

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photo credit: aikijuanma

Podcast: Interview with Pooja Dhawan of

Want to find out how Facebook can work to draw people to your tradeshow booth? Listen to this podcast interview with Pooja Dhawan of She’s a wholesaler of womens young contemporary fashion and she has used facebook and other social media outlets successfully in marketing for the past couple of years.

Imagine selling your product just by posting a photo on your Facebook wall! Pooja has done that – and much more.

Send Tingles Down Your Customer’s Spine

How can you engage your customer so thoroughly that you’re sending shivers down their spine?

It doesn’t happen all that often, and admittedly, to get a real spine-tingling moment is rare. But it can be done.

It happened to me yesterday – and it wasn’t something I expected.

In reading some Facebook updates, a FB friend was telling the story of seeing Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pops Festival in 1967. You know the story (or maybe you don’t): it’s where Jimi – a virtual unknown at the time – had been given a slot AFTER The Who – who were arguably the biggest draw at the show. But somehow the promoters saw fit to put Hendrix on after the Who.

“…He took a total piece of crap in “Wild Thing” and made it heavy. Serious. In the middle he diddled out the melody to “Strangers In The Night” in a minor key, which got a laugh out of the crowd, then let the music swirl into another feedback meltdown. Now he was down on his knees controlling the feedback with the Whammy bar. I can’t see from where I am, but Jimi douses the Strat in lighter fluid and drops a match on it.. Whoosh. The feedback takes on the wailing tone of a Stratocaster burning to death. The Who finale was Angry…but this guy is sacrificing his guitar for us….”

As an old rock ‘n’ roller, this description literally sent chills down my back by projecting me back to ’67 and imagining what it must have been like.

Can you do that to your audience?

A good demo onstage might (no, you don’t have to sacrifice a Stratocaster!). A terrific story certainly could.

People react to stories. If your story is compelling and hits your audience in the gut, the reaction may be visceral. There’s no better way to get someone’s attention than with a powerful story.

The downside is that for most people it’s difficult to tell a story. And it’s even more difficult to tell a story in a compelling, arresting way.

Start collecting stories about your products and your customers. Ask them how your product or service impacts them. Why did they buy? Why do they keep coming back?

The more stories you collect, the better chance you have of finding that one nugget that succinctly tells the story of your product.

Once you’ve got that, find a powerful way to tell that story to your prospects. Engage them. Enlighten them.

Give ’em chills and they’re yours.

Perception is Reality

Interior Macro-isity

Perception is Reality, right?

What do people see when you send out a tweet, newsletter, blog post; put up a tradeshow booth…what is the perception of what people see?

Are you seeing through the eyes of your visitors, or through your eyes?

It’s not an easy question to answer as we all have our own vantage points. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t completely get outside of ourselves and see things objectively. Especially if we had a hand in creating the sales tool.

But it’s a good question to ask – and to try and find an answer. Or two, or three: what do other people see when they look at your ‘stuff?’ Do they see what you want them to see or do they see something else?

If your goal is to get a tradeshow booth visitor to see that you’re a fun company with an engaging product, is that coming across? If your goal is to get a visitor to see your company as conservative in your approach to the marketplace with your offerings, is that what they’re really seeing?

When you start peeling back the onion of your marketing message, it may take the eyes and ears of a third party – an ad agency, a colleague – to help you see things more clearly. And it may take the services of a professional to craft that message in a way that resonates with your visitor.

Creating the marketing message with the help of an experienced pro may be the best money you’ve ever spent. She might see things that you’re blind to. She can help with a subtle nuance in your message that makes a big impact.

On the other hand, no one knows your company, product or service quite like you – especially if you created it and live it on a daily basis. Even if you’re ‘just’ a tradeshow marketing manager, you still work and live and breath the company’s culture everyday, which gives you insight and a bird’s-eye seat into how you can reach your customers. In a perfect world, the collaboration between you and a professional (writer, designer) will result in a message that touches your potential customers in ways that move them to action.

The most successful tradeshow booths are the result of collaboration between several people, giving each person a stake in the message, but not surrendering to the whim of an individual. But committee meetings can only go so far: any successful message has to have a passionate advocate who has an understanding of the product/service and the impact that a customer feels when they commit to your company by pulling out their wallet.

So. Get a second opinion. And a third. Feed their comments and opinions into the hopper, chew them over and let them inform your creation, but not control it.

And remember it’s all fluid: markets, products, people. What works today may not next year. Or vice versa.

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photo credit: LadyDragonflyCC – Home from Vacation

What is a ‘Thank You!’ Worth?

Tradeshow marketing is about the sale. You may take a meandering path to get there, but at the end that’s you want: the sale. The path may involve direct mail to get your prospect to the show. It might mean inviting your market to come see a new product launch. Could be that you’re offering an incentive to her to stop by your booth.

Whatever approach you take, you’re engaging in building a relationship with that person. In some cases ‘relationship’ may be too strong a word, but in most cases it applies. You want the prospect to feel good about coming into contact with your company. You want them to get a lift from using your product. You’d like to invoke a positive reaction when they see your tradeshow booth.

All of this comes together to build a market of people that respond: they purchase products, they engage, they spread the word.

And with all of that engagement on a large scale the small things can have the most personal impact.

Take a birthday card, for example.

I don’t know where companies get the information, but every year when my birthday rolls around, I get cards. They come from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, auto dealers, car dealers. Of course I’m glad to get them, but they don’t mean as much as the hand-written card I get from a good friend. The business-birthday cards are mostly cranked out by an automated system. Yes, some of them have a brief hand-written note. But I know they’re still trying to do one thing: get me to come buy something: “Remember me! I’m still here! Wanna new car? Need a new house?”

It’s all a sales pitch, built around the birthday card.

I like to do something a little different. When I get to know my clients I make sure I get their birthday and stick that info into my SendOutCards database (disclosure: I’m a SendOutCards affiliate). Then when their birthday rolls around I get a reminder when I log on to the SOC site. I can jot a personal note and – here’s the neat thing – stick a gift card into the card.

Most often I’ll put a $10 Starbucks coffee card in because it’s a great pick-me-up to the recipient without overdoing it. Who doesn’t want to spend $10 at Starbucks?

Now you may think I’m pitching SendOutCards, but if you think that’s all I’m doing, you’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter how you make the connection – only that you make it. What really makes MY day is when I make THEIR day. When someone opens up a birthday card from me and is surprised – first by the card, second by the gift card – and they let me know by e-mail, phone or maybe a simple posting on Facebook – it totally makes my day.

Not only have I made their day, I’ve solidified myself in their mind as someone who is separating myself from other suppliers and salesmen.

Getting a wow ‘Thank You!’ under these circumstances demonstrates a deepening of the relationship.

What are you doing to deepen your relationship? Are you saying thank you? And are doing anything that elicits an enthusiastic ‘Thank You!’ from your clients?

Coming Attraction: Social Media 101 Webinar

Webinar setup

You may have had it up to HERE with social media! In fact, you may not want anything more to do with social media. Too much Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn?

If that’s the case, you can stop reading now and go back to pawing through your vinyl records because this doesn’t pertain to you.

Or you may be so into social media that the thought of learning the basics may seem so boring and old hat that you’d rather stick needles in your eyes. Or at least take a few moments to learn another smartphone app during coffee break. And tweet about it. And post it on Facebook. And hey, maybe even shoot a short video to put up on all of your social media outlets. After all, you have a five minute coffee break, right?

If that is the case, you can also stop reading now, because this is going to get boring!

However, if you’re among the crowd of people that would like to LEARN about Social Media, to learn how to get involved, why to get involved, and even what to do once you’re there – this webinar is for you.

Coming up in less than two weeks, I’m hosting two identical Social Media 101 webinars that will get you up and running on all of those platforms that you keep hearing about: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

And yes, blogging too! After all, I believe that blogging is the centerpiece of your social media efforts, at least as far as your company is concerned.

The webinar is free, and it’s set for two days so you get a choice: Tuesday the 27th or Thursday the 29th. You can register here.

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photo credit: sridgway

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

Tradeshow Press Releases Increase Your SEO


A terrific guest post by Brad Shorr on Heidi Thorne’s excellent blog ‘Promo With Purpose Today’ got me to thinking.

In the post, Brad discusses how long-term thinking and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help to bring more people to your website. And Brad says that press releases are an excellent way to seed your company’s brand throughout the web.

I can’t agree more.

But with apologies to Brad, I’d take it a few more steps.

If you’re planning a press release, come up with a short list of a half dozen keywords that people might be searching for in regards to your tradeshow appearance. Perhaps you’re in the food industry and you want folks to find your products and scheduled appearance.

Your first sentence should contain at least one or two of those keywords and the name of the show. Search engine algorithms tend to look for keywords within the first several words of an article or release. So don’t waste time getting to the point.

In the body of the copy, be sure to include the other keywords that you’ve targeted. Sprinkle them generously – but don’t overdo it. It’s got to be both search-engine friendly and human-friendly (readable!). It may take a little re-working, but you’ll know when it reads right.

At the end, be sure to include all of the pertinent contact information, including links to your company’s website and blog (the link-backs that Brad mentioned).

Press releases have jumped from old media to new media quickly – and the change really took place a few years ago. Press releases can be found by anyone searching for specific keywords – they aren’t limited to reporters and bloggers. And as Brad stated, you may actually get an immediate lead from your release.

Two of my favorite resources to improve your press releases include a book and a website.

Check out David Meerman Scott’s “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and Joan Stewart’s terrific website Publicity Hound. Be sure to subscribe to Joan’s weekly newsletter which is easily one of the best newsletters I open each week.

And while you’re at it, run by David’s blog here.

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photo credit: Bohman

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