Trusting Trade Shows in a Rough Economy

Tradeshows Work

As a result of the dwindling economy, according to a recent survey,  exhibitors have felt forced to cut down on overall participation at trade shows and other exhibition expenses in recent years. Experts suggest, however, that tradeshows simply “work,” and should be trusted to provide higher return investments. In an effort to combat the misunderstanding that a reduction of spending on trade shows would actually be beneficial to your business, a nationwide campaign entitled “Tradeshows Work” has been started, touting that “nothing can replace meeting face-to-face.”

Over three quarters of the exhibiting industry had to reduce their spending recently, according to the survey, through hiring fewer staff or attending fewer events; although more than half of these companies later admit to regretting these decisions. As a result, a majority of exhibiting companies actually plan to increase hiring and show attendance in coming years.

As the “Tradeshows Work” campaign suggests, high value can be found in generating new leads and improving existing customer relationships. Introducing and pushing “brand awareness” is another great advantage of these shows. Effectiveness is proven and can be measured by comparing collected leads and follow-ups to the number of attendees.

Trade shows aren’t only of use to the exhibitors, but to attendees of the shows, as well. Consumers are often given the opportunity to purchase products or services at discounted prices at these events, and can view a number of products to compare and contrast at the same time. New products and technologies are often revealed at these shows as well, making them crucial for industry leaders and anyone hoping to stay competitive.

As trade shows have lost some attention in the recent past due to the economy, it actually helped demonstrate their importance and vitality to a host of businesses and industries. Participation is beginning to rebound again. Reducing involvement as a way to save on marketing costs can be risky, and will only provide short-term relief. Whether learning from their presence or absence from trade shows, businesses are again starting to realize the investment is worthwhile; because in the end, “Tradeshows Work.”

(Survey: Cutting back at shows a bad idea, Exhibitors Daily)

Practice makes Perfect: Improve your Show over Time

Photo of Trade Show

With all the available tips, tricks, and advice to improve your trade show, it can be tough to determine what would work best for you and your product or service, specifically. What turns out to be the key to success for some, may not work well for others. It’s imperative, therefore, that you learn from your own success, as well as failures. After all, practice makes perfect, and even the smallest details can attract or deter new clients at a show.

Taking the time to carefully analyze all the hard work that was put into your trade shows of the past will vastly help in the future. It is good practice to take pictures of your displays, once complete, and note what seemed to work and what didn’t. This will help establish any changes that should be made for next time.

Moreover, when it comes time to determine what changes are important enough to invest in, you’ll have a better of idea of what your show would benefit most from – increasing sales in the short-run and saving money over time.

Careful documentation of past shows will accumulate and will provide a growing source to compare and contrast techniques. From your own experience, you’ll be able to determine what sets your display apart from the others or, on the other hand, caused you to blend in and possibly go unnoticed. Gradual improvements will teach you about the nuances of marketing and increase your confidence, increasing chances of higher success each time.

Marketing your business with Foursquare

Foursquare Stickers for Local Businesses

Ten years into this 21st Century marketing has undergone major changes to keep up with the times. The development of social media makes marketing a lot more interesting. Businesses are becoming less “corporate” and more “personal” by communicating with their customers in more personal ways. Twitter is being used to reach out to customers to answer questions, take orders, promote specials/discounts, share tips, post updates, provide customer service, and even finding new employees to fill open positions. Foursquare, with more than 2.4 million users, is proving to be another valuable social media resource, and though many are still trying to figure out exactly how to use it for their specific business, there are some very impressive success stories.

By providing people with the opportunity to “check in” to their current location, Foursquare helps users connect with nearby friends, share information/tips about the location with other users, and gather points/honors to brag about and—in certain cases—redeem rewards. To encourage repeat customers, many Foursquare-active businesses are offering freebies or specials after a certain number of “check ins.”

Alissa White is the owner of online retailer, Matcha Source of Los Angeles; she recently opened a pop-up store in Manhattan selling Matcha tea. She can attest to the value of the increasingly popular location-based social networking apps, specifically Foursquare. She has been active on the usual social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter), but the biggest success came from her use of a newer one, Foursquare. White offered a free cup of green tea to anybody who “checked in” and left a tip or feedback on Foursquare. This generated more new visitors and repeat customers, as well as tips submitted about her store on the social app.

Get the full story: Getting Customers to ‘Check In’ With Foursquare.

There are so many ways small businesses can take advantage of these free or low-cost services, but it is left to them to figure out how to make it work for their company. The key is to be creative and understand the networks and how people use each one. Not only will businesses be able to take advantage of Foursquare and not suffer financially, they also won’t have to sacrifice much time to use it effectively.

Foursquare has a big advantage over Facebook: Foursquare has users “check in” each and every time they visit a business (which leads to more visibility and activity), while Facebook is a one-time “like” of a particular business.

Another unique way businesses are using Foursquare is by holding events at their store or restaurant. For example, if more than 50 people are “checked in” to a certain location, each person earns a coveted “swarm” badge.

Check out the article: Restaurant Owner Increases Sales by 110% with Foursquare Swarm Badge Party.

6 Foursquare Marketing Tips to get your business started.

Some other apps to check out that could help you keep up with the new world of marketing: Gowalla, Whrrl, Brightkite, Yelp, WeReward