How to Attract Attention at a Trade Show

Tradeshows and conventions are such an important thing to get right because they have the potential to grow your brand’s network– therefore; potentially increasing your revenue substantially. Interacting with people in person is the most assertive way to boost connections and it’s not everyday that you can be in such a prime location to meet the right folks. The only downside is, tradeshows are also jam-packed full of competition trying to meet the same people you are (what jerks!) You need to be able to direct the attention away from your rivals, and onto your brand.

Have a Showstopping Display

The first thing to have down for attending a trade show is to have a visually appealing booth. Color schemes, design, and fonts are super important. A gross looking stand is going to make your company appear gross, too. (And a boring booth is even worse than a gross booth.) If your company’s trade show display is about as basic as a pair of UGG Boots on a college campus, you’ve got to change something. There’s a lot of websites out there (like ExpoDesigns) that offer packages that you can add your own design to a portable booth and have it printed. You may want to call in a skilled graphic design with a great eye for typography and color schemes to put together a superb visual for your company.

Don’t skimp on expenses when it comes to having an attention-grabbing display. Go big or go home when it comes to flashy booths. You need to think of this as show-business, not basic business. The most annoyingly elaborate celebrities are the most popular so make sure you are the “Kim Kardashian” or “Miley Cyrus” of the event. In fact, if you can afford it (which you can’t), you should probably hire Kim K. or Miley to be at your booth. If you’re not going to make yourself be vibrant and special, why even bother, right?

Consider having an interactive display. When people can actually stop and play around with your booth, they’ll be more likely to remember your company. Also, it will attract a crowd more so than simply handing out pens like every other company in the world.

Plan Interactions Ahead of Time

Trade shows are so overwhelming that you need to come up with a flexible itinerary prior to the event. You want to be able to research your attending competition and be ready to tell others why you can out-do them. Also, you need to find out what companies are attending that you want to meet and find out where they are located so that you can make sure to drop by.

A good way to plan for the show is to contact people you know are attending and setup times to meet. It is a great way to prioritize major meetings so that you most efficiently use your time at the show.

Have the DOPEST Sales Literature

Having a stunning display is crucial to drawing attention… but, having amazing brochures available at the trade show is a must for keeping that attention. Expensive and well-designed literature obviously will make your brand look appealing to prospects. If two companies are bidding for the eyes of the same people, the one with the hottest handouts will ALWAYS come out on top. If you have cool media kits to hand to important people at the show, they are less likely to forget about or trash them.

Dress the Part

You want to be sure to cater your personal clothing choices to the type of event. It really depends on the nature of the brand what kind of dress code to enforce. Most likely, wearing business casual clothing is a great go-to so that prospects view your company as professional. But, sometimes, more laid back industries allow for more flexible-attire. In those instances, matching clothing featuring company logos is appropriate to add even more elements of brand-association to show-goers.

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(One piece of advice though: avoid hiring scantily-clad show models for your display. Sure, it may grab attention. But, it will not gain the kind of attention you want. In fact, it may end up making your company look bad….plus, it’s kind of sexist.)

Share the Show

When you’re at the show, be sure to keep your social media pages booming with frequent live updates. Using hashtags about the show and searching those can help you connect with people and gain attention from attendees. Also, you can post pictures and videos to tag companies in. This likely will get shared by them as well. It’s a great way to gain even more exposure.

…& don’t forget followups after the show!

Even after the convention center is cleared out and the crew travels home, there’s still much to do! This is the time where you need to swiftly communicate with your new connections met.

Meet with your team and discuss the strengths and weaknesses from the convention. Perhaps you thought of an idea from something you saw there that you can implement next time. Or, maybe you didn’t have enough brochure copies made. Be sure to use the mistakes as a springboard for a more successful go-about at the next one.

The Types of Online Marketers You’ll Meet

Now that social media has become such an essential tool in every field, the professionals that have adapted to the new digital market has dispersed in various sub-groups with their own style and unique online presence.

(For instance, we all can agree elderly relatives on Facebook DEFINITELY add a unique “flavor” to your timeline.)

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The following are the main categories of digital marketing personalities. Some are more effective than others, but they each have their own special set of skills.

The Number-Nut

Some online-marketers are obsessed with data. This type of marketer absolutely adores testing out email campaigns and evaluating their performance. Key things they look for are best times of day of sending out email-blasts, best titles to use, and best calls to action. You can usually find a Number-nut operating several different electronic devices at once.

Favorite social media platform: google+

The Picture-Poster

The picture-poster, also known as the E-Artiste, knows that a picture is worth a thousand “likes.” Their favorite past time is sharing visually-appealing images on social media. If you consider the fact that 65% of people are visual-learners and that pictures are 53% more likely to get liked than text-posts; they might be on to something. This type of online-marketer can often be seen Instagramming a $6 coffee.

Favorite social media platform: Pinterest

Bewitched by Beta

You can spot a beta-tester out in every office. They probably have Star Wars memorabilia on their desk, for one.  They’re part of the 20% of people that access the internet from over 4 different devices weekly and are Gamestop’s most valuable customer. They are so adapted to new technology that I honestly don’t even know half of the words they use. The really need to start offering foreign language classes in “Beta-tester dialect” for people like me.

Favorite social media platform: Something new we probably haven’t heard of (yet)

The Old-timey Advertiser

This type of online-marketer misses the old days where none of the digital-hoopla was around. YouTube? Nah, the old school type probably hasn’t seen it unless it’s been aired on C-SPAN. They’ll be sure to keep their online presence in the office completely separate from the one they use in their personal lives.

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Favorite social media platform: Probably something terribly adorable like Myspace, AOL, or even Friendster. (Awwww, how cute!)

Social Media-holic

In their personal lives, the social media-holic needs a major #intervention. But, in the world of online marketing, their addiction becomes a professional asset. They have accounts on everything from Tumblr to Tinder and are naturals at gaining exposure digitally. However, going to Happy Hour after work with this type of online marketer is a chore; you’ll get checked in on Facebook, tweeted at about the outing, snapped a photo for Instagram with the perfect filter, Snapchatted a quick pic of your glass of chardonnay, and put in a video for Vine.

Favorite social media platform: Facebook

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The Deafening Digital Marketer

This type of online marketer will be heard. They have an online presence equivalent of a person running around with a megaphone. They hashtag this, they hashtag that. They text in 50% emojiis. They tweet literally everything.

Favorite social media platform: Twitter (and everywhere else they can get heard)

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The “Better than YOU” Marketer

Then finally, there’s the breed of online marketer that will basically let you know that they are better at it than you (or at least they think they are.) When their nose isn’t pointed in the air so high it crashes planes, it’s buried deep into analytics.

Favorite social media platform: their own blog, probably

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Personally, I fall into several of these groups. Which category do you fall into?

The Images Your Company Should be Sharing on Social Media

In some cases, images draw more attention online than videos, text, or audio. Posting the right kinds of pictures can really draw attention to your brand on the web though social media. It’s not just the platforms that thrive on graphics either (like Instagram and Pinterest) that this works for. Photo-sharing on Twitter, Linked-in, and of course good ‘ole Facebook can be the easiest way to spread your page’s name and gain traffic to your site.

1. Use original art

The modern person is constantly in a state of “information-overload.” When we’re perpetually scanning the feeds of our social media dashboards, we skim over countless things because a lot of the stuff is just super played-out. The same stuff gets shared all the time and we’ve seen it (or slightly skewed versions of it) before and we just aren’t interested. Making your own images makes a person actually stop to feed their curiosity. In a world of viral-sharing, anything new stands out.

Another advantage of producing your own content art is that you don’t have to worry about possibly fringing on any copyright agreements and you’re not going to reuse the same stock photo 4,589,475,893 other people have used before.

Not a graphic designer? Not a problem. Anyone can make original graphic using PicMonkey or Canva. Plus there’s tons of free apps out there that allow you to explore with user-friendly templates that can produce appealing images FAST. You can even produce these on your phone so you can do this away from your desk.

See:

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2. Post images consistently

Consistency can reach more of an organic audience. For example, if Nylon Magazine’s Facebook page starts posting at 8 a.m. frequently, avid-readers will not even need to find it organically through their feeds but will instinctively look for your daily posts at 8 a.m. (I know this personally because I am guilty of checking for their 8 a.m. posts because I  am a self-diagnosed internet-junkie and literally check their page almost daily for my 8 a.m. content-fix. Everyone has their vices, don’t judge.)

3. Post pictures that will engage your audience

You can get the audience to participate by posting pictures that pose a question for viewers to want to answer or solve a problem for them. Recently, Lancaster County’s local newspaper posted a question from their Facebook page and simply asked followers what popular chain stores or restaurants they would like brought to our city. It received a lot of feedback because, let’s face it, people love to voice their opinion. Getting people involved can really resonate with a huge audience.

4.  Post customer or client photos

Posting photos of real people (i.e. clients or customers) makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside. It shows that your company really cares about their followers. It makes your company look REAL. Plus, when they see the recognition, they are likely to share and promote your brand through all their connections as well. It’s a great way to both show the positive relationships you value with those outside your organization and also just makes your brand almost feel like a FRIEND as opposed to a lifeless entity.  Additionally, if you give a shout-out to someone, they usually return the favor.

And it’s logical if you think about it. If you post pictures of happy customers, potential customers will think they will be happy with you, too!

5. Post pictures of the people who work at your company

Many people are disinterested in brands via social media. A normal person perceives anything posted by a company to Facebook, Twitter, what have you, as a robot or people just peddling free advertising. It isn’t until you can put faces to your brand that people can relate to it. One of our clients is a prime example of using social media in a great way. They frequently post fun staff-photos like when they had a “twin day” in the office and they wore matching outfits or when they all wore their favorite team’s jerseys. It makes your audience feel like they KNOW your company and that your company is basically, just like them.

Side note: similarly, “behind-the-scenes” photos of the workplace work the same way. It’s human nature to be curious and people love to know what goes on beyond the computer screen. It can make your company appear more trustworthy, too.

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6. Funny photos

Posting funny photos (so long as their relevant) and not offensive, is a great way to gain attention via social media. It’s a great way to show the personality of your brand and get some shares along the way.

7. Post community images

A good company knows that it’s important to give back. Whether it be donating to a children’s charity or volunteering in the community; sharing the positive values of your brand makes you look good. Not only are you doing the right thing by helping those less fortunate or by contributing to a cause, but it will make the company stand out for outstanding humanitarianism.