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.

Yes, You Still Need Business Cards

In these days of iPhones and e-mail contact lists, the humble paper business card may look like a relic, but if you think passing them out will signal you as hopelessly behind the curve, you would be mistaken.

In a world where so much communication happens electronically, the business card remains a valuable, tangible way to promote yourself and your company. The key is to produce cards that are memorable and informative, ones that can instantly sum up your brand in a glance.

While social media may get all the press hype, the vast majority of business interaction in this country still takes place face to face. Most business owners still interact with potential customers and partners personally at trade shows, networking events, dinners or informal social gatherings.

In all those instances, exchanging business cards remains a primary way to formalize your interaction. It helps the person you’ve met remember your name and the name of your business. In the best-case scenario, the person you meet keeps your card and adds you to their list of contacts, either by putting the card in a Rolodex or scanning it into an electronic database (the card itself will probably get tossed, but by then it has served its purpose). Either way, the card helped cement you and your business in the mind of the person you met.

Business cards may be a tried-and-true marketing device, but that’s not to say they haven’t changed with the times. The key is to keep your cards looking up-to-date but not overcrowded. Cards these days cram ever more information into a small space — in addition to the company name, address, phone number and email address, some people are adding their company’s website, Facebook fan page link and Twitter stream. The result is usually a visually confusing mess.

If you are active in social media, a better bet is to simply list your website. Then, on your site, add prominent links to social-media sites visitors can quickly access if they’re interested.

The days when your color choices were limited to white or cream are also long gone. Nowadays, cards come in full color, many with photographs, which can unfortunately lead many businesses to overcrowd their cards with logos and pictures. When designing a business card, think of it as a miniature introduction to you and your business. If you want to present yourself as innovative and forward thinking, then your card should be designed with a modern font and color palette.

By contrast, a simple, two-color business card sends its own message: that you and your company are traditional and no-frills. Even so, the card should include the standards of your e-mail address and website. Although creative types may be tempted to make their cards stand out by using nontraditional materials or shapes, make sure the finished product still fits easily into a standard wallet pocket. Also, avoid glossy paper, which makes it difficult for someone to scribble a note on the back.

Remember that business cards are not supposed to be hoarded and admired in private. Get in the habit of handing them out, which is easy if you have one you want to show off.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Blackwell, TheStreet.com

Why Isn’t Your Small Business Using Social Media?

While the phrase “social media” easily resonates with business owners these days, it’s surprising how many aren’t actually involved with this ever-growing facet of marketing.

This disconnect became more concrete in the latest Small Business Success Index survey. While the SBSI showed an “almost universal awareness among small business owners of Facebook and Twitter” only 27 percent of the entrepreneurs used Facebook for business purposes, and a mere 7 percent were Twitter users. LinkedIn garnered 18 percent.

Despite the tepid survey results, small businesses that have tried social media often see results: 63 percent say it helped make their customers more loyal. Other say social media has helped them stay engaged with customers, build brand awareness and identify and attract new customers.

So why aren’t more small companies doing it?

Many small business owners worry that social media is too “time-consuming” and that getting started can be very overwhelming. When FB Displays & Designs, Inc. first decided to integrate social networking into their marketing strategy, they had hired a college intern to build all of their profiles and begin initiating relationships. Over a short period of time, solid connections were steadily built across the board and members of the team could naturally maintain and interact with others among the different sites. Today, they use their social media presence as an outlet to interact with others, share important information and retain mutually beneficial relationships with their “friends and followers”.

Creating a successful social media presence boils down to a 2-step process:

1) Listen. Where is your key audience online? Set up Google Alerts for your business. You’ll begin to see where the conversations about your business are taking place. Listening helps you develop your voice.

2) Engage. Be sure you aren’t just blasting out information and news about your business. Interact directly with your followers. Ask them what else they would like to see from you and your business.

It’s important to remember that building a social media presence requires patience. If you’re not sure which site to begin with, find out which one is most popular with your customers. Learn the site to the best of your ability, refine its use and decide whether to move on to another. Social networking is all about building relationships and whether it’s online or off, relationships don’t happen overnight.

SOURCE: Rieva Lesonsky, www.AllBusiness.com Blog

We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. For those of you currently involved on social networking sites, what strategies do you find work the best for your company?