This past Monday, three other students and I had the opportunity to attend the Buffalo Niagara Sales & Marketing Executives Student Day. Professor Dudkowski selected Kourtney Shearer, Danielle Board, Taylor Tracy, and myself to attend a day long conference, which included a choice of one of three tours, a special presentation by Bill Knoche, a networking opportunity, and a dinner presentation with Marc Adler. In order to do this amazing day justice, I have decided to split the blog post into three separate posts and will be sharing the rest of our amazing experience throughout the week.
Our day started off at 1:30 with a tour and the three tours we were able to select from were IIMAK, FB Display & Designs, and Rigidized Metals Corportation. IIMAK, a manufacturer of printing, imaging and marking consumable products with 1,000 employees worldwide. Headquartered in Amherst, New York, with additional manufacturing, distribution and sales operations in Belgium…
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.
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.
Have you ever thought about the similarities between the “curb appeal” of a home that’s for sale and that of your trade show booth? In both instances, the first impressions that newcomers have are crucial in determining whether they will stop, learn more and ultimately, if they will buy. Attendees at a trade show are going to make judgments about your company & products, based on your booth’s curb appeal (or lack thereof…) before they ever talk to you.
Here’s some familiar advice for increasing the curb appeal of a home, translated into ideas for success at your next face-to-face marketing event.
“Have a welcoming entryway” – Just as you want guests to feel welcome in your home, you want attendees to feel the same in your booth. Visitors are more likely to enter a warm, inviting environment. Adding greenery/ potted plants & having professionally dressed staff will help with visual appeal. Also, as a general rule, you want at least 60% of the frontage open to avoid a perceived barrier to entry.
“Keep it bright” – Lighting along the outside of a house enhances architectural elements, adding a decorative touch. Lighting in your booth ensures that your display is prominent & can be used to focus attention on specific messages.
“Put on a fresh coat of paint” – Sometimes, a new coat of paint can help a house that feels ordinary or dated. Similarly, updated graphics could help to draw attention to your booth and better communicate your messaging.
“Cut back on clutter” – Having too much clutter in a house, or trade show booth, creates visual noise that distracts prospects & keeps them from focusing on the benefits you’re trying to convey. Organize your literature & samples, and try to have at least 60% of the floor space unoccupied so your area won’t seem cramped.
“Keep it clean” – Dust & dirt in a home make potential buyers wary of other kinds of neglect in the property. When you keep the elements of your display clean, free of dust & visually appealing, the “take away” for attendees will be that your company knows how to handle the small details.
“Be in a great neighborhood” – While most homeowners can’t choose where their property is located and can’t influence how neighbors maintain their homes, you-as an exhibitor-can select where your “real estate” will be. Opt for a booth space in a section of the hall that will have good traffic throughout the show. If you’ve been to this particular show before, choose to be near neighbors who do not have loud/distracting displays, and stay away from those who construct displays that will block attendees’ ability to see you when walking the aisles.
“Cut the grass” The ultimate tip for improving curb appeal is to keep the lawn in pristine condition. At a show, your choice of flooring and how well it is maintained will tell the client something about you. Choose a color/material that matches well with your graphics and pick something that’s comfortable to stand on. (Clean/vacuum the floor as needed.)
Focusing on these improvements before your next show could help boost the number of attendees that stop, and at the end of the day, the number of leads you walk away with.
We did our homework on curb appeal at the Advice section of Realtor.com.
What ideas do you have to impact the curb appeal of a trade show display? We welcome your comments, below!