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

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.

Would you stop at your own booth?

Boost the “Curb Appeal” at your next trade show!

Photo courtesy of Flickr
Photo courtesy of Flickr

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.

    A booth with curb appeal
    A booth with plenty of curb appeal
  •  “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!

Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

mobile
Photo Courtesy of http://www.npaworldwide.com

Over the past few years, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life. Since mobile devices are portable and can access a great deal of information within seconds, they are a natural fit for use in the trade show environment. Here are some tips for using mobile technology to your advantage at a trade show.

  • Include a highly visible QR Code on your display. The QR code should take users to a landing page that is optimized for mobile devices. The landing page can be your company’s homepage, a contest entry form, a lead qualification form, etc.
  • Use an app to collect leads. There are several apps that make lead retrieval very simple, such as iLeads and DUB, that allow you to scan a business card and enter the contact information into either your phone contacts or a database. Using a lead retrieval app will save you the headache of keeping up with hundreds of pieces of paper and trying to decipher a potential lead’s handwriting. The leads can be sent directly from your phone or tablet to your office.
  • Schedule appointments with prospects using the calendar function on your phone or tablet. This saves both you and the prospect the time of attempting to connect after the trade show and guarantees a better chance that the meeting will take place.
  • Many trade shows have an app created for the event. Download this onto your mobile devices and continually check for updates, changes, itineraries and announcements.
  • Take photos using the smartphone’s camera and share them on your company’s social media platforms. Include your booth number to encourage your followers at the show to visit your exhibit.
  • Stream video from the event to the home office, attendees and clients who were unable to attend, using social media and/or videoconferencing.
  • Ask attendees to share their own photos and videos from your exhibit through social media. To encourage attendee contributions, design a contest for attendees who share their images and videos of your exhibit through social media.
  • Design a simple, interactive game to be played on a mobile device housed at your exhibit. A game is memorable and increases attendee engagement. The game should easy to play, fun, casual and tied directly to your value proposition.
  • Process credit card payments using a device like AprivaPay, which attaches to your smartphone or tablet and allows you to swipe the client’s credit card.

Exhibitors who learn to leverage mobile technology on the trade show floor will ensure that their trade show appearance goes smoothly, while also increasing engagement with the show attendees. This leads to a greater amount of leads generated at the show and less time spent on administrative tasks associated with post-trade show follow-up, which ultimately improves ROI (return on investment).

Hey, I Just Met You… Now What Do I Do? Ways to Effectively Follow Up with Your Trade Show Leads

By Lisa Shackelford

The trade show has ended. You have returned to business-as-usual, bringing with you exhaustion, excitement and most importantly, your leads.  So now that you have new leads in hand, where do you begin following up with them?

Chances are, throughout the course of the trade show, many potential clients seemed excited about your products, were in the market to buy your type of products, and got to know you and your company better. Does that translate into attendees making a mad dash to their phones the minute they get back to the office? No. You will need to follow-up.  Hear are some processes that will help you organize your lead follow-up plan.

  • Have a designated point person.  Decide before the show who will be the person in charge of the leads.  Preferably, assign this to someone who will not attend the show, since employees that are attending will be playing catch-up when they first return from the show, and the leads may get pushed to the side for later. If the point person is not attending the show, he or she can begin implementing the follow-up process before the show is over.
  • Contact your most qualified leads within 24-48 hours of the show. Follow up with all leads within a week.
  • Before the show, train booth staffers on how to properly qualify potential leads. Teach them what your criteria is for a qualified lead and what questions to ask booth visitors. This will not only allow you to focus your follow-up efforts more efficiently, but this will also give the person following up useful information about the needs of the potential customer.
  • Create a lead generation form that contains pertinent qualifying information. Lead forms do not have to be paper-based; you can create one on a tablet or laptop.  Computerized lead capturing also ensures that leads are legible and information is less likely to be incorrect or misread.
  • Call your leads in order of priority.  Have a system of coding that prioritizes leads by follow-up priority.  You can use a color system, a numerical system, alphabetical, etc. A coding system keeps the leads organized and ensures that leads that are hot are being addressed first.
  • Have a follow-up plan in place before the show begins.  The plan should include how you will divide up the leads, what methods you will use to reach them and what will be the tone of your message. Different types of leads will call for different tones, so make sure to tailor your plan to include different strategies for different types of leads.

Following up with your trade show leads in a timely, organized fashion ensures that you are talking with your hottest prospects when your meeting is fresh in their minds. The goal of your trade show appearance is to generate new customers, and the key to moving trade show leads along in the sales process after the show is following up with potential customers quickly and methodically.

 Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs, Inc. 

Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 

References

Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/apr12/trade-show-trends-exhibit-surveys.asp&gt;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/jun12/research-social-studies.asp&gt;.

Start Your Trade Show Season Right

As the New Year dawns upon us, so too rises another Trade Show season. Hopefully you are refreshed and relaxed from the holidays, and can approach the upcoming year with a fresh outlook and a positive attitude. Whether you attended one show or a dozen, now is the time to recap and review what worked and what you need to improve upon the next time around.

As a reminder, here are several essential points to consider in planning your yearly Trade Show strategy:

What do you hope to get out of the trade show experience?

  • Are you focusing on promoting or launching a new product?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Is it time to consider an International show, which is a great forum to reach exhibitors and attendees from all over the globe?
  • Is a National show, which attracts targeted attendees from a 300-mile radius and beyond, a better approach for your company?
  • Don’t discard Regional and Local shows, which attract attendees from the immediate vicinity.

When choosing a trade show, make sure that it is within your budget, in a serviceable location, it occurs at a convenient time, and attracts your target audience.

To help you in your trade show planning process, please click on the image below to help you find the right shows for your company:

Remember to choose the shows that will give you the best return on your investment!