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Quality Specialty Pharmacy l Interactive Promotion :: Quality Specialty Pharmacy’s had an initiative and made it simple, yet impactful, from the start – it was to equip their reps with “in-your-face” leave-behinds.  These quirky pens were meant for reps to hand out to office staff so they could refer the pharmacy each time a patient sought to fill a prescription.  This fun, interactive pen was a great way to pierce through the monotony of the day and surely reminded the staff of how grateful they were to earn their business. Spinner Law Firm  l  Catalog Design :: As a Personal Injury attorney in Tampa, Spinner Law Firm decided to gain traction through a community “grassroots” advertising campaign. Hundreds of catalogs were inserted into refillable countertop display stands placed on local business countertops reinforcing the ongoing brand awareness perfectly complementing his existing marketing plans. U.S. Fashions  l  Logo Design :: U.S. Fashions reached out to Brandz to discuss how a brand could be created so that it would be interpreted similarly throughout a diverse, worldly audience.  As an international apparel broker, it was important for them to emulate an image which exudes trendiness, style with an a-la-mode of elegance.  The outlined, posh silhouette of a woman draped in chic garment poses in front of high-rise structures proved to transcend their vision of a multi-cultural image they’ve been seeking.

13
October
2011

Tradeshow Payoff

Here's How to Get People To Your Booth, Gain Valuable Customer Feedback and Evaluate the Results

Whether your company is a distributor exhibiting at a buyer show or a supplier exhibiting at an industry show, tradeshows are a big investment. To maximize your opportunities for sales, you must be proactive in your marketing, training and follow-up.

Too many companies believe it’s the show management’s sole responsibility to get people to their booth. Even if people show up, there’s no guarantee they will find you if you don’t give them a good reason to seek you out. Through pre-show marketing, you cut through the clutter and ensure that your company’s name and booth number are at the top of attendees’ must-see lists.

Get The Word Out
The best way to be successful at a show is to tell people you are going to be there and give them a reason to come see you. With social media, this is easy to do. You want to convince new customers why you are the supplier of choice, and you want to show current customers what’s new.

Remember to split your messaging into these two categories on your blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed. To attract prospects, consider a promotion or a giveaway. For existing customers, give them a chance to see the new products, colors or technologies.

If your employees have a business Facebook or Twitter account, encourage them to post that they will be at the show, and maybe include a teaser about why show visitors should stop by.

Approximately two weeks before your next tradeshow, ask all staff to include a “Come see us at the show” message with the dates and a link for more information at the bottom of e-mails and other e-communications. Make sure there’s an up-to-date events page on your website that lists your upcoming show schedule. You want to create as many impressions as possible of where you will be exhibiting.

Also, leading up to the show, send a series of e-communications to your customer base and the list of pre-registered attendees. It’s important that pre-show promotion is assigned to a specific person or group of people. We have a team that creates a calendar of events and decides how to promote them. Everything is scheduled, and staff is assigned to do the blogs, tweets, etc. A supervisor oversees that it gets done. Even small companies must make sure it’s someone’s job to look at the calendar and make a plan.

Don’t stop promoting once the show starts. We often provide live information from the show floor. We’ve done live tweets and posted a daily blog report. We’ve conducted seminars from our booth as well as demonstrations and fashion shows. Sometimes we bring a videographer with us to record events as they happen. If you are doing any type of daily event in your booth, be sure to have signage detailing the days and times.

Live coverage reminds potential attendees that they ought to come out, and it’s also a way to generate publicity to customers who can’t come. They still get to see the show specials, the new ideas and the latest products.

Show Specials
Always offer a show special; it is expected. We offer show specials that are available for 15 days after the event. This practice has dramatically increased our e-communication open rate. Across all of our companies, we consistently see a 60-percent open rate for any show e-communication we send. People are looking for the deal.

Be aware of what specials your competition is offering. Sometimes when you find out what a competitor is offering, you may want to change what you are doing. Flexibility is important.

Avoid Creating A Barrier

A common faux pas is when companies put tables or counters along the aisle keeping attendees out of the booth. Instead, make your booth inviting. Make it easy for people to walk right up to the back wall and touch what you have on display.

Another great technique for attracting attendees is to have booth personnel stand in the aisle. Make it easy for customers to get in. It’s also important that your booth be well lit and professional. Simply having a white table with a drape around it signals to attendees that you’re not going to be there next year.

Giveaways
When the right product is used properly, a giveaway can be an effective tool for getting someone to your booth. The same isn’t true with refreshments. People tend to take more than their reasonable share.

Because our companies sell products used to decorate apparel and accessories, we like to choose products on which we can put our logo. These items become idea generators for our customers as well as reminders about our company.

Staff Training
Another important area that is sometimes overlooked is staff training. The worst thing is when staff members come to a show and look bored or talk among themselves while an attendee waits.

While this may be infeasible for some small companies, we have intensive tradeshow training, and an employee must be tradeshow certified to attend a show and work a booth. This type of training becomes more important as a company increases in size and the owner no longer works the booth.

Customer Feedback
One of the greatest advantages of exhibiting in a tradeshow is the one-on-one opportunity for customer feedback. This is the perfect time to find out what your customers think, what the market wants and about hot items. You should never return from a tradeshow without requiring booth staff to write a report about their observations.

Ideally, you want booth staff to ask for feedback in a non-intrusive way. Find out what customers think about price points, customer service, delivery, how your products compare to the competition, packaging—just about any aspect on anything you sell. Over time, you’ll see patterns emerge, and this will provide valuable insights into what changes need to be made to improve. You also may learn some unique points to sell against your competitors.

Catalogs/Brochures/Handouts
Many attendees like to be reminded that they came to your booth and what products or services your company offers. At the same time, there is a great awareness about being eco-friendly and avoiding big catalogs. Plus, people who are flying do not want the added weight of extra paper in their luggage.

The best solution to this challenge is to make sure that you correctly collect their contact information during the show and that, within a week after the show, you send an e-communication with a PDF or link to your website where they can easily view your products and get additional information. A flier is a smart way to remind them that they stopped by your booth without weighing them down.

Post-Show Evaluation
Tradeshows are an invaluable tool for reaching customers; few can afford to go knocking on doors anymore. However, there are a lot of tradeshows and they can be costly, so it’s important to choose your regions and events carefully to make sure you maximize the investment.

A post-show review is a great way to do this. Measure the number of leads you collected and how many of these turned into sales. Evaluate how effective your pre-show and post-show e-communications performed. If your company is large enough, hold a post-show wrap-up and discuss with staff what they thought of the show and the quality of its attendees. You may also want to discuss how things went and what could be done better next time in terms of displays, products, in-booth events, etc.

Tradeshows offer a unique opportunity for reaching new customers and educating existing ones about your products. The more planning you put into preparing for an event, the greater your return. I hope that some of these tips and ideas will inspire you to improve on what you are currently doing and help your company reap even more profits from your next tradeshow.

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