Tradeshow Marketing: The Secrets to Success on the Road

Everyone goes to tradeshows knowing exactly what to expect: rows upon rows of unexciting booths giving away pens and hand sanitizer.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Tradeshows can be an excellent way to engage customers, promote your brand, and gain new leads and contacts.  All it takes is a few minor adjustments to your approach.

A successful tradeshow begins with a strong pre-show initiative.  It is essential that members of your target audience are aware that you will be at the show and why stopping at your booth is worth their time.  A simple way to begin this process would be to get a list of attendees from the host organization.  From this list, carefully choose a group of attendees that you would like to target and plan a strategy for reaching them.  It is always best to do this in a multi-channel way.  For example, you could send your target attendees a direct mail piece, an e-mail blast, and a social media invite all informing them that you will be present at the tradeshow and where your booth will be located.  If you wanted to take this initiative a step further, these communications could contain a PURL (personalized URL) to get additional information about the attendee and their business needs.

Now the easy part is over- your target attendees know you will be present at the show.  Now the real challenge begins.  How can you ensure they visit your booth?  Put yourself in their shoes: there are hundreds of booths to visit.  What would make it worth their time to single yours out?  It needs to be worth their time.  There are endless ways to achieve this, and the more creative the better.  For example, the customer could bring the direct mail piece to your booth for a chance to win a prize or service related giveaway.  If your pre-show initiatives included a PURL, it could serve as a location to pre-register for a prize.  Another option could be utilizing mobile media and texting attendants during the show to stop by your booth.

One way to ensure that your booth stands out against the crowd is having professional signage and promotional materials.  This could include anything from mounted signage, retractable banners, or floor decals.  Anything out of the ordinary will be more likely to create a buzz among the sea of white folding tables.  The nonverbal communication of the employees working at the booth will also have a major impact on the traffic the booth receives.  No one wants to visit a booth where unengaged people are sitting on a folding chair behind a table.  It is crucial that professionally dressed, enthusiastic employees are standing in front of the booth engaging attendees in conversation and welcoming questions.

Finally, the trade show is over and your work is done.  Wrong!  This is the most crucial aspect of a tradeshow that is often overlooked.  It is essential to take all of the leads you worked so hard to get and categorize them into hot, warm and cold.  Hot leads are people who expressed a need in your product or service or have requested information.  It is essential that hot leads are followed up with in 3-5 business days because you are probably competing for their business with competitors from the tradeshow.  Warm leads are people who were interested in your product or service, but a decision probably won’t happen any time soon.  These people should be followed up with within two weeks.  Cold leads are all of the others.  Follow up with these people with a generic marketing piece in 4-6 weeks.

Hopefully this got you thinking of ways to refresh the way you approach your next tradeshow.  AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District is here to help you out with all your marketing, print and signage needs!

by Kristen Hasychak,
Project Coordinator,
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District

Maximizing Multi-Channel Marketing

I recently attended a seminar on multi-channel marketing campaigns and thought I’d share a couple of the items that were discussed.

The term “multi-channel” simply means simultaneously using different ways, or channels, to market your product or service. In today’s world of electronic and traditional multimedia, people are being hit with advertisements and brands constantly, and therefore we tend to tune out most of it – we use voice mail, spam filters, TiVO, and even open our mail over the trashcan.

Savvy marketers know that consumers need to be marketed to on an individual level. They need to be reached by the medium they like the most. The trouble is, we can’t afford to simply guess what that medium is most likely to be, and that’s where multi-channel marketing comes in. Hopefully, you’ll be able to introduce the following into your marketing mix if you’re not already doing so…

Mixing the Print & Online Worlds

This is a core element in AG’s internal marketing program, but there is still some confusion or unfamiliarity concerning how to bring the two together. There are a number of ways to do so, including using variable data, personalized URLs, generalized URLs, and/or QR codes on print pieces in order to get a prospect to take action online.

It’s not your father’s postcard mailing… direct marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years, and there now exists software that can track, record, analyze, and store information for future retrieval and use.

Utilizing Social Media

It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C, there’s a social media outlet that will help your business.  You can incorporate LinkedIn groups, Facebook business pages and Twitter feeds for starters. But don’t forget blog contributions, polls or surveys, links to industry-specific articles, YouTube channels, and other social media elements that can have a huge impact on your campaign results.

Publishing & ePublishing

While this often goes hand-in-hand with social media because you’ll want to share what you publish, don’t underestimate the power of a white paper, newsletter, or even a printed booklet as a giveaway to potential customers.  Additionally, and even more importantly, add fresh, relevant content to your site as part of an ongoing marketing effort. It will make it easier to publish campaign-specific items when necessary, so that your updates don’t seem sporadic and/or “salesy.”

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is evolving quickly, and there are ways to use SMS, MMS, 2-dimensional barcodes and other mobile-specific items in campaigns. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly imperative to optimize web sites (including campaign-specific micro-sites) for smart phones.  One other segment of mobile marketing that is growing exponentially is the use of mobile apps, and these can of course come in many forms. Specifically, local retailers have found that loyalty programs are well suited for applications, and businesses are beginning to creatively use GPS-related sites (think FourSquare) as additional channels to reach and engage customers.

Last Thoughts

Multi-channel campaigns can include many mediums and these are just a few. The thing to remember is that your target audience will be using a few primary channels, and the more times you can connect with them, the better your chances of having a successful campaign.

PS: One often-overlooked “channel” is the hand-written letter… a welcome change of pace, and something that may help you stand out from the crowd!

By Eric Pursh,
Outside Sales Representative,
AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District

Have you tried PostPost?

With social media taking the world by storm in 2010, it's not uncommon for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. (the list goes on and on…) to occupy the little free time you may have left trying to keep in touch with friends, connect with clients, or simply to be entertained.  It's easy to get caught up in scrolling through news feeds, skimming through articles, and browsing through thumbnails… With multiple sites to log in to, it can be information overload.  How convenient would it be to have all of that information in one central location?

Enter PostPost.

PostPost is laid out like an online newspaper and is comprised of information that your Facebook friends have posted to their pages.  In a one stop shop, you have photos, videos, articles, and links generated from your own friends and fan pages to sort and browse in any way you please.  Take a look at the layout on PostPost's homepage, and check out the video tutorial for a simple look at how it works.

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Better Blog Maintenance? There’s an App for That…

For those of you who are responsible for maintaining your company or organization's blog, you know very well that it can be difficult to maintain a regular schedule and to keep the ideas for content flowing.  With the regular work flow of each day, it's not uncommon for your blog or social media presence to fall by the wayside.  Mashable recently posted an excellent article about a number of iPhone apps to help keep you on track.  From blog, Twitter, and Facebook access, to photo sharing and analytics, simply put, "there's an app for that…"  You can check out the article here for tips on which apps to use to access the blogosphere on the go!

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Using Social Media for Medical Research

With the change in seasons, we know that the damp, cool fall weather can lead to colds and the flu.  What does this have to do with social media?  Well, actually a lot. 

Medical researchers are now using data collected from search engines, Facebook, and Twitter to follow patterns in seasonal viruses and other diseases.  For example, Google might collect data from the keyword search "flu remedies" including the location of the searcher to see how the flu virus might spread across a geographic region.  

Read more on this topic at:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20018047-247.html?tag=mncol;title

 

The 93 Dollar Club: A Charitable Cause with Facebook Roots

Ever heard of the expression "Pay it Forward"?

When Jenni Ware was unable to find her wallet in line at a grocery store to pay her bill, Carolee Hazard (a total stranger to Ware) stepped up and covered the $207 to pay for her groceries.  As a thank you, Ware mailed a check for $300 to Hazard – $93 more than the cost of her bill.  Hazard turned to her network of Facebook friends asking for suggestions on how to best utilize this $93 "tip".  Check out this link to see how One Random Act of Kindness Turned $93 Into $100,000!