Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Okay To Be A Show Off

Doing business without advertising is like winking
at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing,
but nobody else does. ~Steuart Henderson Britt

It never ceases to amaze me how hard small business owners work in order to achieve success. Contrary to popular opinion, there are very few perks to owning your own business: long hours, very little time off, on call and on the clock pretty much 24/7. If love makes the world go ‘round, small business owners are surely the cog that keeps the wheels of commerce turning.

The last few weeks we’ve been out on the show circuit, both trade and consumer, and came away with the knowledge that it is a jungle out there!

In an environment where everyone is in the same boat, how do you stop the parade of potential customers so they don’t pass you by?

Don’t Leave Home Without It

A set of clear goals that is. What are your expectations for the show you will be attending? Are you focusing on business promotion or is this the stage where you launch a new product? You can have more than one goal but you need to be clear about what your participation is going to achieve.

Your Display Is Your On-Site Ad

A successful display is one that is planned with the audience in mind. Who is it that you are targeting with your display? An important question to ask yourself since audiences “shop” shows differently.

Create a Buzz

Invite clients, customers, suppliers and other contacts; this is the stage made for social media and where Facebook and Twitter shine. Do you know your booth number in advance? If you do, make sure to feature the number prominently in your advance advertising.

Build It And They Will Come

Spectra Print’s Marketing Director Al Scherwinski says five basic elements for show booth displays are memorable visuals, headline, copy points, company logo, and web/blog presence.

Select your trade show graphics carefully; simple, bold and clear images work best.

Choose your words carefully and keep your display headline simple, clear and to the point. Chances are, people that did not plan to visit you at the show will more than likely walk past your booth. If this is your only chance to grab their attention, you will need a carefully thought out and compelling headline to make them want to find out more about your company.

It makes sense that the shorter your headline is the larger it can appear on your show booth display allowing your display to reach farther into busy show traffic. Even a small table top display with a short bold message can be seen several yards away.

“Your choice of typeface is also important,” Scherwinski says. “With literally thousands of type fonts to choose from, selecting the right one can seem daunting. The next time you attend a show, notice the displays that grab your attention. They won’t necessarily be large booths but displays that consistently use simple bold graphics.”

It was a dark and stormy night …

While it is tempting to write a description that explains everything your customer needs to know about you - don’t. As much as you would like them to, most show attendees will not want to spend a ton of time reading about your company. Use bullet points, keep your message short, don’t get too technical and remember to keep your company name front and center. Utilize QR codes to feature your social media and web site presence.

Now that you have a stack of requests, make sure follow-up correspondence is priority one when you are packed up and homeward bound.

Next week’s blog post will conclude the show marketing discussion. Stay tuned!

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