Out with the Old… In with the New [Website]

FB Displays & Designs New Homepage
FB Displays & Designs New Homepage

After many months of research, planning, design & coding, we, at FBD2, are very excited to announce the launch of our new website!

The new site is now live and is located at the same address, http://www.displaysanddesigns.com. We’re happy to share this new design with you, and hope that you will take time to visit & enjoy all the changes.

Our process of creating the new website started several months ago, when we defined our goals and how to best achieve them. Here are a few examples of this effort and what strategies we employed:

 

Results-Oriented

Our top priority for the new layout of our website was a design that allowed our clients the ability to easily find display solutions to meet their individual needs. To this end, we retooled the most prominent section of our website, creating the “Display Solutions” page, with subsections that focus on the priorities and needs for exhibiting at trade shows and recruiting fairs, in museums and outdoor events. We concluded that by showing examples of the most relevant designs, our visitors will have the best possible experience.

 

Engagement

Another significant area that needed improvement was providing a more engaging and rewarding experience for our visitors. To achieve this, we curated content that appears at the bottom of many of the pages, pointing visitors to additional articles or actions that may be of interest to them. In addition, we tried to use a greater proportion of “real life” photos to show how the displays we produce actually appear on the trade show floor, in a museum and at an outdoor event.

 

Simplicity

After we addressed our major goals, we focused on improving the site as a whole. We felt that our old website had become cluttered, suffering from a lack of focus. To correct this, we pared down the extraneous pages on our site, and streamlined our menu whereby all visitors can reach the content they’re looking for in two-or-less clicks/taps.

 

Quality Content

Simplifying our site was not enough by itself. We had to make sure the information presented would be the most helpful to our current & potential clients. We decided to remove large portions of complicated text and small, ineffective icons. These have been replaced with larger, more visually appealing images and descriptions that are more direct and succinct.

 

Although our everyday focus is on the design & production of trade show displays, our design team is experienced in a variety of graphic design services, including creating logos/branding, brochures, and in this instance, web design. As these services are completed in-house, the same quality and attention to detail that goes into our displays is carried through to all our design projects.

Ultimately, it is our hope that you find this new site more engaging. We think we have met that goal, but we would love to hear your feedback! If you think there are pages/areas that could be improved, or if there are topics you would like to learn more about, please leave a comment below!

 

 

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

Our New, Crowdsourced Design

Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display
Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display

 

We at FB Displays & Designs recently had an opportunity to interact with our clients in a unique way. In preparation of our participation at a few trade shows, our creative team (which is all of us) wanted new graphics to be used on one of our trade show displays. After several weeks of brainstorming & designing, we came up with ten concepts. Over the following week, we narrowed it down to four contenders. We came to the conclusion that everyone on our team liked all four finalists. With only a week until our first event, what were we to do?

 

This is where our story takes a creative twist: we decided to crowdsource our decision.* We sent an email to all of our clients & posted a poll on our social media sites, inviting our clients & followers to vote for their favorite concept.

 

We were pleasantly surprised by the high participation rate from our fans. In the end, there was a clear winner, (Design #1,) which we produced straightaway. Here’s how the vote totals broke down:

 

Design #1: 55%

Design #2: 17%

Design #3: 17%

Design #4: 11%

 

While Design #1 was the crowd favorite, #’s 2, 3 and 4 received the most passionate responses, including the following:

 

“For me # 4 is your best bet. It’s the most arresting/cool/ “check this out!” display in my opinion. And the words are not fighting with the background.”

 

I can’t automatically put 2 & 4 in a category or stereotype them because though my mind may try to find a file for them…when it can’t…I have to stop to think about what does this mean. My favorite is 2- just more gusto, spunk and power.”

 

We are thrilled to report that our experiment was a success. The amount of votes we received exceeded our expectations, and the feedback was an added bonus. And the rest, as they say, is history. At the SBA Expo on May 13th, we unveiled our new trade show display as chosen by our wonderful fans.

 

FB Displays Trade Show Booth
Our New Trade Show Display

 

 

Do you have an interesting story to tell us about your own design experience? We’d love to hear it-Please leave a comment, below. And to see more designs created by our team, visit our project gallery.

 

* Trained professionals performed this stunt. Don’t try it at home.

 

Written by Bill Henecke, Graphic Designer for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location

FBD2, Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Yellow Sky Photography

Stuck in the back corner of the hall or behind a column? Miss out on getting into the main exhibit hall? Here’s how you can see all your clients and prospects and have a successful show:

1. Pre-show announcements.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an elaborate mailer, or a quick text or e-mail, send something telling clients and prospects you’re not going to be easy to find, but the extra effort will be rewarded. Don’t forget to maximize your presence at the show on Linkedin and Facebook.

2. Sponsor a coffee break.

Convince show management into allowing you to sponsor a coffee or beverage break. Then put a very large and colorful sign nearby with a map to your booth and a prize offer for attendees who find you. 

3. Give them a yellow brick road.

Negotiate with show management to let you place stickers on the aisle carpet leading attendees to your booth. These can be arrows, footprints or pictures of your product.

4. Give them what they want.

Do some serious brainstorming and come up with a novel – a really, really novel – promotional item that will allow people to wear or carry your logo to the masses. The right item will cause people to ask where they can get one for themselves.

5. Let Elvis do your talking.

Hire talent to hand something (samples, coupons, flyers with maps to your space) to attendees as they come into the facility. Some show managers will let you rent space or will designate a specific location for this activity.

6. Give them the shirt off your back.

Dress your entire staff in shirts with a map to your booth on the back and your logo on the front.

7. Sponsor headrest covers on the shuttle buses.

Put your logo and booth location on the back of every shuttle bus seat headrest so that everyone knows how to find you once they are in the hall.

8. Network like a madman!

In addition to every networking event, take advantage of social media. Tweet a ‘Thank you for visiting our booth’ message to every visitor to your booth. This leads to a reply or a retweet that not only creates a bond with the prospect (enhancing the possibility of a conversion) but also takes your brand and booth location to the followers of the prospect leading to more potential visitors.

9. Get friendly with show management.

Don’t be afraid to talk to show management about your dilemma. The more they know that you are serious about maximizing your presence at their show, the more likely you’ll be able to get first option on a better location if someone pulls out or is a no-show.

Good luck and have fun!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Use Words to Attract your Audience

Use Words to Attract your Audience to your Trade Show Booth

Every word can have a positive or negative impact on your marketing efforts, especially at trade shows… whether you are creating large graphics, sales material, pre-show marketing campaigns, or talking directly with a prospect.

Since exhibitors have less than 6 seconds to attract attendees to their booth, consistently choosing the “right” words becomes very important.

Below are a few proven marketing words to help you communicate more effectively and accomplish your goals at your next trade show.

#1: “YOU”

This is one of the most important words. Using the word “you” makes it easier to connect to your target audience and draw a direct line from your products/services to how they can provide a solution to your potential clients.

Selling is never about products or services.  It’s about the benefits that are meaningful to your target audience.

#2: “SAFE”

Whether you are dealing with money, health, personal well-being, technology or manufacturing, touting the safety of your product or service is important.

Potential clients do not want to take high risks to address challenges or needs with which they are already dealing. They want a trustworthy, easy solution so they can stop worrying.

#3: “RESULTS”

It is important for prospects to connect your product or service with the results they are hoping to achieve.

Prospective buyers are looking for one thing: Results. You must communicate the results your products/services provide in all aspects of trade show marketing.

Although these three words are simple on their own, by adding them to a well-constructed message on your display graphics, in  your pre and post show marketing communication, on your sell sheets, and in verbal interaction with attendees, conversion rate and ROI will definitely improve.

Good luck!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Why Halloween’s #1 Rule Applies to Trade Shows

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhenry/2990037101/sizes/o/in/photostream/
Courtesy of Flickr

When you think of Halloween, you might picture hordes of youngsters at your door, on their crusade for free candy.  One thing all those kids will have in common is that they have to earn it, by shouting “trick or treat!”

When you’re exhibiting at a trade show, sometimes working at a booth can feel like that as well.  You’ll see tire-kickers coming from across the hall, “trade show trick-or-treaters”, with large branded totes full of free pens, stress-relief-balls and, of course, candy.  They’re probably not planning on doing business with very many vendors; they are scouring the show floor, looking to fill their bags with free stuff.  What’s an exhibitor to do?

Obviously, you’re not going to ask trade show attendees to say “trick-or-treat!”  However, you should try to get them to earn the free item by having a conversation with you.

Consider these ideas to make the most of your promos:

  • Keep free candy & giveaways towards the back of your booth, to avoid “hit & run” behavior.  Put these items on display, but compel the attendee to enter your space and interact with your salespeople.
  • If you tend to give out candy, consider serving mints, as these are inexpensive treats that can help to ensure your booth staffers have fresh breath, too.  (This is Face-to-Face Marketing, after all!)
  • Use promotional products as a conversation–starter.  Something as simple as “Have you seen one of these before?” can break the ice and quickly pivot into a chat with the attendee.  This is a perfect chance to build rapport for a future business relationship
  • Ideally, promotional gifts should be branded with your logo, be an item with some usefulness & be relevant to your organization.  (Hint: use something more creative than a pen or sticky-note pad!)
  • Use this opportunity to qualify leads before inviting them to take a gift.  Collect business cards & ask to scan badges; take notes about their company’s needs, schedule a follow-up if appropriate.
  • Focus on distributing your giveaways to the most valuable prospects you meet.  Let’s face it, the freebies really aren’t free… your company had to pay for them, hoping that future business would come your way.

The most important lesson here is this: don’t let the “trick or treaters” distract you from your goals of meeting prospects, writing orders & obtaining leads.  A disciplined approach to handing out free items should help you to engage with more clients at your next event.  Remember, giveaways can have an important role in your trade show strategy, as long as they are targeted to the right people.

How To Get The Most “Bang For Your Buck” (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of  Jeff Golden via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Jeff Golden via Flickr

You’ve put so much time & energy into the design of your trade show booth, backdrop & other elements… are you getting the most ‘bang for your buck’ out of these materials?

Your trade show display is designed to quickly & effectively communicate your organization’s identity and message.  One way you can ensure you’re getting a good return on investment (ROI) is to put the display to work more often.

Depending on your business & the activities in the community your company participates in, the additional opportunities to use your display will vary, but might include:

  • Summer Festivals & Fairs
    • If a good fit for the product / brand, you may consider looking for additional brand exposure at art, music & food festivals / fairs
    • Consider how can you engage new customers at these events & tie that to the positive experience they’re already having at these memorable occasions
  • Press Conferences – If you are inviting members of the media to a press conference, (to launch a new product, announce an expansion, etc.) your display could be the perfect professional backdrop
  • Community events, chamber of commerce events – Check the calendar for your local chamber of commerce events to see if there is an opportunity to introduce your organization to the business community.  Your display would be a great visual aid
  • Charity Events – Do you sponsor any events, such as a race for a charity, auction, symposium or golf tournament?  Make sure the attendees know your organization is involved!
  • HR/ Recruiting – At career/job fairs, let your HR staff attract more potential job candidates to their booth/table using the great graphics/messaging you’ve already created!
  • Lobby – When not in use at shows, consider installing elements from your trade show display in your lobby / retail space to invite visitors & improve the “first impression” they have of your organization
  • Online – Any video displays / slideshows you have designed for use at trade shows can be uploaded to YouTube to increase your internet presence
  • Company Events – Welcome guests at your summer picnic, holiday parties or hospitality events with elements from your display to let them know, “they’ve arrived” and to show the pride you have in your organization!

If you have other ideas, please share them in the discussion below!

How To Get The Most “Bang For Your Buck” (Part 1)

Used under Creative Commons License from Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

When exhibiting at a trade show, one of the most important parts of your participation in the event is obviously the booth itself.  Since you’re already participating in the show… are you sure you’re getting the most “bang for your buck”?  At many shows, there are other opportunities -besides just your booth space- for you to connect with attendees.  Here are a few examples…

  • Sponsorships:
    • Consider the additional exposure from being an official sponsor for the event, which usually offers the opportunity to have your company’s logo/ name prominently displayed in the exhibit hall / on the property
    • Are there other branding opportunities at the event?  Perhaps the ability to have your name or logo on wristbands, badge holders, or tote bags for holding brochures? These options allow the attendees to have significant, extended exposure to your brand
    • Are sponsorships available for Charity Auctions, Receptions or a Golf Tournament associated with the show?
    • Shuttle Bus – Is there a courtesy shuttle running between the expo & the show hotel?  Ask if there is an opportunity to sponsor this bus & have your company name, logo & booth number shown here.  It’s a captive audience!
    • Directory/ Map/ Kiosk sponsorships – Whether in print or electronic, this is another way to stay “top of mind” with show attendees.
  • Does the show offer the option to provide your literature pre-stuffed in a bag for attendees?  Mitigate the possibility that some attendees might not make it to your booth by taking advantage of this service.
  • “Hand out” your literature electronically – With the universal use of tablets & smartphones, you now have the option to send your catalogs & handouts to attendees by email (while they’re in your booth!)  You’ll know they have received the information they need about your company plus you now have a direct method to contact them to follow up after the show.  In addition, some shows host a database where you can store an electronic copy of your literature for attendees. Either way, this eco-friendly option ensures information is delivered to your potential clients, (not to mention they won’t have to carry around your catalog all day.)
  • Pre-show marketing/ attendee/member lists & mailing/emailing – This is your chance to announce to attendees that you will be participating in the show, get them excited about your company and let them know why they should stop at your booth!  Most shows will make this list available to you & this step is a “must”!
  • Outgoing email signature – Consider integrating a line about your trade show participation into your outgoing email signature, with basic information about the show, dates & (most importantly) your booth number.  This is a great way to build early buzz/excitement (with very little effort!)
  • Have you completed your vendor profile?  In addition to a printed version for the show floor directory, many shows have a website, electronic directories & mobile apps the attendees may use to find out more about your company.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to connect!
  • Schedule meetings with customers – If there are clients attending the show that you want to devote ‘quality time’ to, write to them ahead of time & schedule a meeting. (This could be during show hours if you know there will be a lull or over dinner when the show floor closes).  This way, you will be able to give them your undivided attention.  Some shows offer to facilitate meetings between vendors & attendees, either through an in-person coordinator or an electronic appointment system.
  • Are there any opportunities to display your products/ services in other areas of the exhibition building? (For example, in the entrance hall/lobby, in display cases, at receptions, etc.)  Are there any of your products/ services that could be used as an in-kind donation to the show?  (Another way to get credit for your brand on a sign that says “Provided by…”)
  • Are there press/reporters that attend this show?  Does show management allow you time in front of the press for announcements about your company or to unveil new products?  Provide any reporters you speak with your business card, and offer product photos/ videos for their articles!  Of course, you should send a press release to trade reporters & to your local media contacts regarding your participation in upcoming shows, too.

Some of these options are free, others will have a cost – depending on the show.   You will need to weigh the exposure you’ll receive with the fees being charged.   The point is, for a little extra effort, you can dramatically extend the number of attendees you engage with & the quality of those interactions.