Tag: tradeshow

TOP

Top Trade Show Tips For Attendees And Exhibitors


top trade show tips

Trade shows are essential in business. Whether you are attending or exhibiting, there are a few trade show tips that can help you navigate and make them more successful. You don’t want your trade show investment to be a flop, so let’s take a look at some of the top do’s before your next event rolls around.

Tips for attending a trade show:

  • Determine why you are attending. To meet new suppliers, educate yourself on a new topic, see the latest and greatest? Once you determine the reason you’re going, how you walk the show will point back to your mission.
  • Prepare for the show and know the answers to the following questions: What are the things you need? What are things you want?
  • Attend presentations. I know it is easy to blow these off, but educating yourself on your industry and competition is key.
  • Bring plenty of business cards. You may hand them out to the exhibitors or meet a future employee walking the show.
  • Strike up conversations. You never know who you are speaking with.
  • Set appointments with the exhibitors you really want to meet with. They may not be available if you just walk by.

 

 Tips for exhibiting at a trade show:

  • Get a feel of why your audience is attending. (I’ve listed the top reasons below.)
  • Have an exciting, professional booth. Let ePromos help you.
  • Look professional in custom polo shirts or logo button-down shirts.
  • Just as I advised above, set up appointments with your top prospects and customers. Make sure to have an extra-special incentive for them at the booth. (Our technology promos have been the hottest items.)
  • Cost-effective giveaways are a must to get the casual contact to stop by. Some of our top items include: mints and gum, tote bags and drawstring bags, lip balm, car chargers, sticky notes (great for tagging your catalog!), and pens.
  • Collect data and contacts
  • Strike up conversations with everyone. Trade shows are all about face-to-face contact.
  • Follow up. You can do everything right, but not follow up on the conversations, and you have a tradeshow fail.

In a survey conducted by Skyline Exhibits and EXPO Magazine, attendees were asked why they attend trade shows, conventions, and conferences. Below are their responses.

  • See new products: 92%
  • Keep up to date on industry trends/issues: 78%
  • See many companies at one time: 75%
  • See existing suppliers: 67%
  • See specific companies or products: 67%
  • Network with colleagues and/or vendors: 65%
  • Create and/or strengthen industry relationships: 60%
  • See products in-person that were reviewed online: 57%
  • Get technical information or specifications: 52%
  • Attend seminars/workshops: 41%
  • Place orders: 25%
  • Source partners: 25%
  • Present at educational sessions: 16%
  • Because our competition attends: 14%
  • Recruit employees: 3%

Our Brand Consultants are here to talk trade shows with you. Are you unsure what promotional giveaways to choose? How many you’ll need? When to hand them out? Check out our guide to custom trade show giveaways, and then call us to get started on your trade show promos.

Do you have other tips for a successful trade show? Share them by commenting on this post.

TOP

How Hexigo Used Custom Magic 8 Balls To Shake Up The Tradeshow Experience


You don’t typically see custom Magic 8 balls at tradeshows. Pens, mints, sticky notes – these are the promos that most often prevail on the show floor.

But when you’re an exhibitor wanting to draw booth traffic and create a buzz, novelties such as Magic 8 balls are just the promo items to pique attendees’ interest.

Take it from our client, Hexigo, a collaborative decision management platform. The company was exhibiting at Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual user and developer conference, and the year’s biggest cloud-computing event. It needed a way to make a creative splash and get noticed by attendees.

“They have about 130,000 attendees and some pretty big computing names speaking,” says Hexigo’s Rebecca Cattermole. “We wanted to get our brand out there to Salesforce customers.”

promotional Magic 8 balls

Considering the nature of the company, custom Magic 8 balls were spot on. Think about why people pick up Magic 8 balls in the first place. To help them make decisions – albeit in a whimsical, just-for-fun kind of way.

Decision management is what Hexigo is all about. The promos tied in with the brand perfectly.

“We used the Magic 8 balls as a leverage to ask how customers make decisions,” Cattermole says. “We actually jokingly called them our prototype.”

Have A Strategy For Your Giveaways

Anybody who’s ever been to a tradeshow knows that cool swag gets swiped quickly. Hexigo planned accordingly and reserved the Magic 8 balls for attendees who took the time to speak with a sales rep.

“We handed them out individually, and we also kept some in a bowl on our stand to try and avoid the people who were just there to collect freebies,” says Cattermole.

Sometimes at tradeshows, you just want simple promos to hand out to the masses. But Hexigo was looking to have some meaningful discussions with prospects. The Magic 8 balls allowed the company’s sales team to take a playful approach to decision making, getting people to stop by and engage in conversation.

custom Magic 8 balls

Booth signage was also spot-on, asking attendees: Does your business make good decisions? A bowlful of Magic 8 balls with Hexigo’s logo got the message across perfectly.

Show attendees were pumped up about the unique promos, and Cattermole says they were a big success overall.

“People loved them. In the mix of other giveaways, the Magic 8 balls really stood out,” she says. “And certainly they were one of the few, if only, items that had a direct link to the company and its message.”

Are Magic 8 Balls Right For Your Brand?

Magic 8 balls custom printed with your company logo are fun and memorable, no doubt, especially for corporate giveaways, fundraisers, and party favors. By customizing the answers inside, you have a totally unique giveaway for your brand.

But, you have to first determine the purpose for handing them out. What do you hope to accomplish with them? Hexigo wanted to generate brand awareness and also strike up conversations with serious prospects.

If whimsy and fun are part of your brand and marketing campaign, try shaking things up with Magic 8 balls. They’re certainly off the beaten path as far as promos go, and they leave a lasting impression about your company.


TOP

Guide To Custom Trade Show Giveaways


Many of our clients have the same question: What do I need to know about custom trade show giveaways? They simply aren’t sure which promotional items to order and how many they’ll need.

It’s a great question to ask. Trade show giveaways are a critical component of the trade show experience. They can build a buzz at your booth, motivate prospects to action, communicate a message, create awareness and so much more.

To help our clients better understand custom trade show giveaways, we talked to exhibitors from a variety of industries to get answers to the top trade show questions.

Learn from their tradeshow tips to make your next tradeshow a triumph.

custom imprinted coastersThere are so many options – how do I decide on the right trade show giveaways?

Give it some thoughtful consideration, according to Dave Poulos, Chief Consultant for Granite Partners. “If you choose to distribute promotional items at a trade show, that choice should be as well-thought-out as the display construction, the sales training scheme for the event, the selection of size and location of the stand, and the selection of representatives working the show,” he says. “If the selection is made carefully, it can drive recognition and awareness. If you’ve really read the audience right, the item will be so specific to a particular population that it will help qualify that traffic and thin and focus the lead selection before they arrive.”

Paula Ledbetter Sellergren, Director of Marketing for Mather LifeWays, suggests the giveaways always meet three requirements: They’re a good fit for your brand, they’re functional and they have a splash factor. “We look at whether the giveaway will become a hot-ticket item that other attendees will see and want to seek us out for,” she says.

For Jay Veltz with Urban Armor Gear, samples are the best giveaways. “We often simply give away our products: protective cases and screen protectors for smartphones, PDAs and other portable electronic devices,” he says. “Sure, the cost is higher, but the likelihood that our cases will be used on a daily basis and create the exposure we desire is much higher.”

How many trade show giveaways do I need?

Most exhibitors agree: It all comes down to budget and expected attendance.

Barbara Sanner, CEO of Complete Marketing Solutions, looks at the size of the show. “For large shows of 2,000 or more expected attendees, I usually plan for 25% of attendees to stop by my booth and get a giveaway,” she says. “For smaller shows, I plan for 75% to get a giveaway.”

Jennifer Seyler, a PR professional who runs FitnessAndNutritionConversations.com, likes to determine if there is any flexibility in her marketing budget. “I take 10% of the expected attendance, so 900 if 9,000 people are expected, figure the associated cost ($10 per bag totaling $9,000) and determine if it’s in my budget or if there is wiggle room,” she says. “If there is wiggle room, I bump up the giveaway to between 1,000 and 1,200 with a trade show audience of this size.”

Ledbetter Sellergren looks not just at the number of attendees, but the makeup of the audience. “We see how many people attending are our best/potential customers, and this helps us set the budget,” she says.

Do I need to take my booth size into account?

Absolutely, according to Ledbetter Sellergren. “We consider how much room we have in our exhibit to store the giveaways or whether we need the exhibit hall to store them and bring them out to us as needed each day,” she says.

How do I time the distribution of my tradeshow giveaways?

Don’t put out all the items at once, says Seyler. “Get a feel for the crowd and distribute appropriately,” she suggests.

promotional cord wrapShould I offer more than one promotional item?

Yes, says Seyler, but be smart about it. “You start to find that you’re pushing the lower-cost item,” she says. “You also get people who come to your booth because they heard of your giveaway – which is typically the more expensive one.” Her solution: If you hand out more than one item, make sure their perceived value is the same.

Sanner agrees it’s a good strategy to offer more than one giveaway. “This is one of the best-kept secrets of trade show giveaways: Have different items to give away for different types of people who stop by your booth.”

She breaks her giveaways into levels A, B and C. Level A items are “y‘A’y, a real possibility!” “These are people who come by who have a real interest, an urgent need and could actually become a client.” This is a good time to pull out a higher-end item – $5 or more.

Level B items are “maybe they’ll ‘b’uy!” “These people have some interest in your product or service, and stop and talk awhile. For them, pull out your ‘secret stash’ of products that cost you $1.50 or so. If they buy from you, you’ll easily recover from your $1.50, and you’ve definitely built some goodwill.”

For those attendees who are simply checking things out, wondering what you do, Sanner has Level C giveaways that cost well under a buck a piece. “You appreciate their stopping by and want to show good faith,” she says.

Should I send promotional products pre- or post-tradeshow?

Seyler does not. “I keep the giveaways as a benefit to visiting the booth,” she says. “Pre-conference awareness is leveraged to gain additional traction to the booth, and giveaways during the conference provide additional excitement and potential buzz among attendees.”

custom grass planterDo I obtain any information from attendees before handing out the items?

Yes – Ledbetter Sellergren calls it “information currency.” “We have attendees complete an information card or give us their business card in exchange for our giveaways,” she says. “This way, they aren’t ‘trick-or-treating’ without us getting something in return.”

Can I use the giveaways as part of a contest?

Sure – it’s another point of interaction, and it’s an opportunity for attendees to keep thinking about your booth and tell others about their potential win, Seyler says.

Five bits of tradeshow wisdom from successful exhibitors:

1. “Make sure your giveaway makes sense to your brand and isn’t overused as a giveaway.”—Jennifer Seyler

2. “Give them something YOU-branded that they will use after the show is over.”—Paula Ledbetter Sellergren

3. “Smart, engaging, creative choices that engage the audience’s imagination, trigger a memory of what you do, your products or your brand promise, that are practical and useful within your industry are the best bets for effective giveaways.” —Dave Poulos

4. “Choose something useful or practical that has the potential to be put into everyday use.” —Jay Veltz

5. “Be sure that what you select has a long shelf life and the quality is there, even if it means paying a little more.” —Barbara Sanner


TOP

Why Custom Post-it Notes Are Great Tradeshow Giveaways


Tradeshow exhibitors know: To get booth traffic, you need the right giveaways. Custom Post-it notes are a perfect way to draw people over. Everybody can use them, and they’re easily pocketed or slipped in a swag bag.

If attendees don’t find value in a tradeshow giveaway, they won’t use it. And if it’s too cumbersome to tote around the event, they won’t even pick it up.

custom post-it notesLogo sticky notes are tried-and-true promotional items, and they’re ideal for getting your message out to tradeshow attendees. Using imprinted post-it notes as a promotional giveaway will be sure to resonate well with almost any target audience.

Our client, Paris Healthcare Linen Services, a textile services company, loves the exposure it gets from distributing notepads at tradeshows.

“They help us promote our company message at well-attended vendor tradeshows,” says Paris’ Summer Anderson. “They’re perfect for our event.”

The Post-it notes aren’t just used at the tradeshow booth – they’ve become favorites around the office, too. Employees even bring them along when visiting customers on-site.

“We hand them out to our customers’ employees, our own employees and higher management officials,” Anderson says. “They are well-liked by those at our company and the customers who receive them. You can never go wrong with Post-its, and we know that they will be put to good use.”

Hand out a product such as BIC promotional sticky notes at your tradeshow giveaway booth, and as Anderson can attest, they’ll get your company name continued, long-lasting exposure.

Promo know-how tip:

Increase the impact of your custom Post-it notes by using a full-color imprint or adding a phantom imprint. Let our Brand Consultants walk you through all the options.


TOP

How To Be Strategic With Your Tradeshow Giveaways


How much thought do you give your tradeshow giveaways? When you’re an exhibitor, they’re a critical component of whether the tradeshow is a success or a flop. Attendees are busy, and if you want to stand out, you must have a strategy with your tradeshow items.

Take a look at what our client, Imagine Software, is doing at the SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas this week.

The tradeshow, which is billed as the top event for the alternative investment industry, is a huge opportunity for Imagine Software to reach investors, asset allocators, managers and others in its target market.

Here’s how Imagine Software developed a strategy for its tradeshow giveaways – and how you ctraaan, too.

custom flashlightBe selective.

Don’t just go with the first promotional products that come to mind—gather your team and discuss. James Wells, marketing communication manager for Imagine Software, says it was a process. “I came up with several different price points and presented to my team,” he says. “We made our decision after looking at samples.”

Know who you’re targeting.

Different tradeshow giveaways appeal to different audiences. For Imagine Software, padfolios and flashlights were useful and compelling to investors and others at the SALT Conference.

Offer more than one tradeshow item.

If you only have one giveaway, it gets old. Fast. Keep things interesting and get your brand the extra exposure by handing out a variety of tradeshow giveaways. Consider offering items at different price points depending on the conversations you have.

promo padfolioGet the most mileage out of your giveaways.

Items such as padfolios are perfect for inserting printed collateral: press releases, white papers, sales sheets. Imagine Software has given away padfolios at two different events and inserted press releases and articles inside. “It’s worked out very well giving out a piece of content along with a promotional item,” says Wells.

Hand out tradeshow giveaways people actually want.

Wells understands the golden rule for tradeshow giveaways: Give out cool stuff. “You have to have something at the booth to draw people over,” he says. “We wanted something that would be useful and nice. Everybody needs a custom flashlights. It’s also a bit evocative of shedding light, which we liked.”

Find a promo products company you like.

Don’t put your tradeshow giveaways on the line—work with a promotional products provider that understands your business and can get you the high-quality goods you need. Imagine Software keeps coming back to ePromos for the products and the service. “Kristan [Bullard] is fantastic. She’s always in a terrific mood and willing to help—even with some of our more difficult requests,” Wells says.

 


TOP

Three Tips For Selecting Custom Trade Show Giveaways


If you’re heading to a trade show, you need custom trade show giveaways. They’re a tangible, cost-effective way to get your name in front of your audience—the majority of which are decision makers.

custom trade show giveaways

More than 80% of tradeshow attendees have the authority to influence buying decisions, and more than 50% buy something as a result of attending the show, according to a study from Exhibit Surveys.

Naturally, promotional trade show giveaways are a must. They boost your company’s sales and shorten the sales cycle. You can’t afford not to use them. Your competitors certainly will be using them to woo customers and prospects. That’s just the nature of trade shows.

You don’t have to blend in with all the other booths, though. You can stand out and make your company memorable with promotional items.

Follow these three tips when choosing trade show giveaways, and set your company apart at your next event:

1. Choose giveaways that make sense for your brand.   

There are thousands and thousands of promotional products on the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re all a great fit for your brand. To maximize the effectiveness of your trade show giveaways, always opt for products that tie in with your brand. People need to make an immediate connection with your company and the giveaway you’ve just placed in their hands. For example, if you’re in the healthcare industry, logo hand sanitizer makes more sense than a custom lighter. If you’re in the food business, a promotional cooler bag is a better choice than a custom dog leash. Keep your promo items relevant to your brand.

 

2. Make them appealing.

People flock to promotional items that are attractive, trendy and visually appealing. If they’ve never seen it before and it looks interesting, they’ll want to check it out. Plus, it shines a positive light on your brand when your logo is imprinted on high-quality, well-designed promotional products. Select trade show giveaways that have a natural appeal to your audience, and you’ll create a buzz around your booth.

 

3. Opt for promo items with a purpose.

Novelty products are fun, but if you want your logo to stick around for the long haul, your trade show giveaways should serve a real purpose for your audience. If attendees see a value in your giveaway, they’ll hold onto it. If not, it will likely end up in the trash; people can only schlep so much stuff at a tradeshow. Make sure your giveaways are useful and fill a universal need, such as custom bags or logo drinkware. Everyone has a need for these items, which makes them more likely to be used.

 

Promo know-how tip:

Don’t forget about your booth staff—you can maximize your trade show presence by dressing your trade show team in custom shirts or hats.