Tips for Trade Show Graphics

With many exhibition booth designs, there are empty spaces for graphics. When you are sending out an RFP to stand contractors, you can ask them to leave space for graphics or not – this is entirely up to you. However, depending on the stand, graphics usually serve great purpose by giving you an extra platform for branding as well as adding dimension to your booth.

It is usually the responsibility of the company, not the contractor, to design graphics for the booth but feel free to send your designs to them for their opinion or ask them for ideas on what they think might look good. Here are some tips for trade show booth graphics.

Stick to one theme – make sure that all your graphics are designed in one theme. The same theme you have for the booth, advertisements at the show, sponsorships at the exhibition and trade-show marketing material should follow through in your booth graphics. It might be tempting to play around and make each one completely different but it could end up looking confusing and messy. The colour theme, design and copy should look good together so that the overall design works together. Your graphics should tell a coherent story.

Keep it simple – don’t go and add a huge amount of text that no one will stand and read. Place a headline that will entice people to visit your booth and find out more. Booth graphics are no space for small details, remember less is more. For it to be impactful, your messaging should be concise and to the point. Write something that will attract visitors and try to avoid playing with too many different types of fonts.

Hire a professional graphic designer – one that knows trade shows. Hire someone who knows what they are doing so that they can follow the specs exactly and come up with good quality work.

Image Quality is everything – use high quality images, don’t try to blow up small images and make sure that all artwork is in high resolution so that it comes out well in print. Always give the company printing the graphics your pantone colour so that they can be as close, in colour, as possible.

Rendering – ask your contractor to show you what the graphics would look like in the booth by viewing your graphics rendered on the display. You might think they look great until you see them on the booth so this is a critical step to ensuring your graphics are right for your booth.

Lighting – don’t add graphics in the corners or in dark spots at the booth. Make sure they are placed somewhere where they are highlighted and visible.

Being at a large exhibition can be quite overwhelming. The smell of coffee from booths, fresh paint from the exhibition displays and the sound of chatter and excitement really make it an experience you’re going to enjoy. If it’s your first trade show then you have quite a bit to catch up on.

Early Bird Offers – many organizers have special discounted rates for companies booking in advance. Try to plan your trade show presence well in advance so you can avail of these offers which include advertising, space booking, sponsorship and furniture rental.

Floor Plan – almost every exhibition will have a floor plan. This map shows which companies are exhibiting and where their booth will be. It also shows the size of each company’s booth as well restrooms, cafe’s, location of the press room, main entrances, press conference rooms and anything else that the organizers feel you might be looking for. A few months before the show, you might see this floor plan, completely blank, when you are choosing the location for your booth.

Sponsorship – trade show organizers usually have a list of sponsorship opportunities that exhibitors are eager to grab. These include banners, tote bags, lanyards, flags, hotel room keys, charging stations and so many other great things. Note that these opportunities are usually booked out months in advance. As soon as you decide you’re going to participate in a trade show, contact the show organizers to see what sponsorship opportunities are available. Don’t be shy to suggest something you think might look good – if it’s doable, they’ll be more than happy to accommodate your request.

Press Room – at any big trade show, key media personnel are swarming the floor hungry for news and interesting opportunities. The press usually has an area dedicated to them called a press room. This opens a day or two before the show and here you will find editors and other members of the media working on news for the show. You can pop in and let them know if you have news to announce, introduce yourself and drop off a press kit or press release. They all have cubby holes at the entrance that you can leave your PR material in. Most trade show organizers will have a list of media partners on their website so you can plan who are going to meet before attending the show and even contact them prior to the event. Dailies are magazines made for each day of the show, highlighting major news and events from the show and companies at the trade show. You can advertise in the dailies and contact press members to see if your news can be featured.

Collect Data – the members of your team present at the exhibition will most likely have planned their meetings prior to the show. However, you can be sure that you will have unexpected visitors. Don’t fret, a busy booth is a good booth! Welcome them with open arms and don’t forget to ask for a business card. Everyone visiting your booth should give you a business card which you can add to your database when you get back to the office. Use this data for mail blasts, newsletters and follow-up emails.

Giveaways  – most companies have promotional items that are handed out to everyone visiting the booth and towards the end of the show, everyone walking by. Choose something fun, handy and interesting that stands out from the rest.

Costs you might not have heard of – drayage, electrical etc. – read our article about trade show budgets to get a better understanding of the kind of costs you might incur.

App – most trade shows have their own app, made by the show organizers. Here you can see a list of exhibitors, view exhibitor profiles, some even let you contact each other and arrange meetings and advertise your company for everyone to see. The app usually proves to be extremely useful and even guides you to different company booths so you’re not left running around the floor searching.

Press Conference Room – most exhibition halls have a few press conference rooms that you can book for a short time slot (typically 30 minutes – 1 hour). If you have big news and you want the media to know about it, send out a press release but also book a press room and send an invite to members of the press in advance. It’s a great time for them to ask questions, take pictures and then feature your news in the dailies. Press conferences are usually held one day before the show, when editors are finalising the news they want featured in the next day’s daily.

Speaker Opportunities  – the opening ceremonies or seminars at big trade shows typically feature experts in the field, most of whom are employees of companies exhibiting at the show. This is absolutely brilliant for exposure and needless to say, gets booked out very quickly! Again, as soon as you decide you’re going to participate at a trade show, contact the organizers to see what speaker opportunities are available and see if anyone in your company would be a good fit. This is free of cost.

Tips for Product Demonstrations

A product demonstration or “demo” is a demonstration in which a product is displayed to potential buyers. It’s really that simple but that doesn’t mean it’s that easy.

An excellent product demo can be extremely effective in engaging prospects and stopping traffic. The aim is to leave a lasting impression so that people want to buy your product. For this reason, trade shows are a great place to hold product demonstrations – you have access to so many people that could potentially be interested in your product and if they don’t have the need for it, you have a platform on which you can try to convince them that they do or that they will need it.

Why have a product demonstration

Generates interest – a product demo is all about getting prospects interested in your product to increase the likelihood of them purchasing your product. You need to convince them to make the final purchase.

Enhances your sales and marketing efforts – product demonstrations offer the desired visual support that helps to improve a sales promotion.

Clear the air – demonstrations help address customer concerns and misconceptions about the product. It is a great way for customers to be up, close and personal with the product and ask questions as well as see it in use.

Saves time and expense for sales team – you’re demonstrating the product live in front of so many people that may have come from many different countries – hence saving trip expenses if your sales team were to travel around to showcase the product.

How to make your product demonstration REALLY good

Practice makes perfect – write a script and know what to say but practice over and over again so that it doesn’t sound rehearsed. The demonstrator can come up with things to say in the middle of the demo but they need to have a list of bullet points or features that they will focus on.  Avoid techie-talk – your customers want to know how it will benefit them not how your product works internally and how it was made. It needs to look natural and effortless so rehearse it to exhaustion.

Design a space for the product demo – if space allows, have a little corner or area where the demo will take place. Have a good backdrop in case people are taking photos of the demo. This will also make it look more interesting.

Charismatic demonstrator – the person should be lively, energetic, fun and engaging. This should be someone fun to listen to and easy to understand.

Add some spice – A great product demonstration focuses on creating excitement about a new product. Keep it fun, exciting, short and entertaining. Add some humour, maybe funny props or anything that will get the audience going. Try to keep it within 2-4 minutes.

Know your product – like the back of your hand. The demonstrator should have incredible knowledge about the product so they can address any concerns that may arise on the spot. You need to be ready for any questions that potential customers may have. They also need to be able to sort out any technical or other glitches that might come up in the middle of the demonstration. Be prepared for questions and have answers ready.

Test everything before the demo starts – if possible, at the venue where the demo is taking place. Stay clear of any unfamiliar equipment and do not assume that everything available at the conference site will work. What you do not want is your product demo ending because the product was not working – try explaining to clients that that was an electrical glitch and not an issue with your product!

Emphasise the benefits – combine the features of the product with the benefits enjoyed by prospects. You need to tell them why they are going to love it and why they really need to buy this product now. Make the demo about your clients. Every feature that you demonstrate should be tied directly to a customer problem (and how your product is likely to solve it).

Keep it simple – don’t make the product seem overly complex. Highlight a few good features that would be of high value to potential customers.

Anticipate problems – plan what to do if something goes wrong. Have a technical person on hand as well as someone who can answer customer questions if the demonstrator is not able to. When you’re practicing the demo, write down a list of the failures most likely to happen, then discuss how they can be solved. Be prepared for questions and have answers ready. Where possible, have an extra product and spare cables handy, as well as anything else that may affect the functioning of the product. If it is taking place in a foreign country then you need to ensure that your kit will work.

For most companies, the bulk of their marketing budget goes straight into trade shows. Even if you plan to attend a trade show with a small presence, the amount of expenses incurred really adds up. From staff tickets and hotels, per diem, catering, swag, sponsorship and so much more, you can easily end up with a hefty bill.

So, when you finally make it to the trade show and everything is buzzing on day one, it is important to ensure that all your efforts do not go to waste. Here are a few things to avoid at trade shows.

An empty reception – make sure that there is someone at reception at all times. If someone has walked up to your booth then you obviously have something that they are interested in and losing a potential client or partner is the last thing you need. Have your hostesses coordinate their break time and ask them to ensure someone is there before they leave the front desk.

Chasing people – you want to be a go getter but there’s always a limit. Don’t be that company that looks really desperate to pull people into the booth – it’s not the best look. Avoid screaming over to people as they’re walking by. If things are quiet at the booth and you think valuable show time is being wasted then walk around and go to other booths to arrange meetings.

Very loud music – booth parties are great and when there’s good tunes, people, food and drinks they can be an incredible way to draw the right attention to your booth. However, when there’s no party and there are people at your booth meeting to discuss business, it’s best to keep the music down. No one wants music blaring when they’re trying to have a serious conversation. This also applies to video sounds – visual graphics are great and sound effects can make a video even more appealing but if it’s on at your booth all day it’ll likely drive your staff and visitors crazy.

 

Messy food – if you are ordering catering for your booth, be selective. Listen to your mind, not your tastebuds. Take time to look through the menu and choose based on convenience. Fingers foods that can be eaten without making a mess work best. Avoid food with crumbs that will be left all over your booth like chips, certain pastries and anything else that will leave a message behind.

Huge centrepieces -this applies to both the tables on the floor and in a meeting room. Flowers look great and there’s probably no such thing as too many but avoid gigantic structures that will block your view of the person seated at the meeting table with you.

Using Social Media at Trade Shows – Event Marketing

Be a social media butterfly

  • Getting your name out there and promoting your brand
  • Having a good time and enjoying your company’s presence
  • Meeting clients and potential clients

The social media frenzy is popular for a reason. There is so much you can do and such a wider audience you can reach if you use the right platforms to post your content. By making this physical event virtual, you can easily target a global audience. Many social media platforms lend themselves effortlessly to a range of effective marketing functions, yet many companies do not take full advantage of this.

Come up with a social media plan – make sure that you have accounts on each of the platforms you wish to use. If you don’t have an account then set them up (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and whichever ones you think will reach your target audience).

Start before the show – find out what the show’s official hashtag is a few weeks before the show. Start posting using the hashtags, relevant keywords and official show name.  Making up your own hashtags might not be very effective but if you are going to be posting a lot then use a customised hashtag in every post.

Create a teaser post or video if you have company news or a product launch coinciding with the exhibition. Get people excited and invite them to your booth to witness the unveiling of your exciting new product!

Connect with people – let everyone know what your involvement in the show will be whether it is your booth number, your speaker opportunity, a product launch or a press event. Connect with media contacts that will be covering the event and let them know if you have news to share. Share what they are posting, comment on their posts and show them that you think their content is interesting. Be a social media butterfly and interact with others using your company accounts.

LinkedIn – finding people for business purposes could not have been made easier. Make a list of the companies you would like to meet with at the show and find the relevant person on LinkedIn. Connect with them and discuss the possibility of meeting at the event.

Post lots of photos and videos – taking the experience beyond the exhibition center will help you reach a much wider audience. Getting video footage of the event is quite effective and gives diversity to the posts. See if you can get a happy customer to saw a few quick words and post their video testimonial on the page.

Don’t stop when the show starts – continue to post photos, videos and whatever else you can get on your social media channels. This will keep people updated and will have your booth buzzing. Post about any competitions or giveaways you have at your booth too.

Proofread – grammar and spelling mistakes can make the best post look absolutely horrendous so make sure you proofread before posting – you’ll be glad you did. Autocorrect does not help!

Bring your localized presence to a global audience by sharing content, using hashtags and relevant keywords and posting a variety of content. Go on, jump on the social media bandwagon and bring the tradeshow to life in other parts of the world.

Say Cheese! Tips For Great Photos At Trade Shows

If you are at a trade show, the odds are you have invested time, money and effort. From your booth to the hostesses, giveaways and sponsorships, you probably have a long list of moments you want to capture.

First things first, decide why you want to take photos. Will these be used for internal purposes , for promotional marketing or for social media only? Remember, posting them across social media platforms right away and keeping your followers engaged throughout the show can have an enormous impact on your social media efforts. People want to know what’s going on and live feed is one of the best ways to do this.

You also need to decide if you are going to take these photos yourself or whether you need to hire a professional photographer. When opting for a professional photographer, find one that has experience shooting at exhibitions as they would be an expert in that type of environment.

Make a schedule – this, like many other things at trade show, needs to be planned ahead of time. Make a list of the things you would like to capture. This includes major meetings, special guests, press conferences, products launches, signing deals, individual staff photos and a group photo – not to mention your exhibition booth. Go through the floor plan and see if anything interesting catches your eye, there might be more to capture than you had thought of. Check our photo checklist here.

Test shots – take a few test shots to see which lighting is best, which angles work better and whether or not you need the flash. Compare and take it from there.

The early bird catches opportunities for excellent shots – get to the show as early as you can to take shots of the booth, the products you have on display and anything else you might not want to have people in the background of.

Camera settings – make sure that the photo is high quality and a large size. The bigger the size of the image, the better the quality.

Speak to the organisers – find out if prior permission is required when taking photos at the show. Can these photos be used for commercial or marketing purposes and do you have permission to use those pictures with show visitors and other company booths in the background?

Add variety – a picture may speak a thousand words but that doesn’t mean people are not going to get bored. Multimedia posts are usually the most effective so try to mix it up to keep your followers interested.

Don’t be shy – get creative and look for little things that might photograph well. Take spontaneous photos, capture funny moments and have fun with it!

Remember, it’s not about the camera – it’s about who’s behind it.

Questions you need to ask before hiring a stand contractor

So, you think you have finally found the ideal contractor. Before you get ahead of yourself, arrange a meeting to determine if they are right for your company.  Here are the questions that you need to ask your exhibition stand contractor. Before you meet them, have a list of questions ready.

How long have you been up and running and how many shows have you built at?

This will be a good indicator of how strong their track record is.

Can I see samples of your recent work?

You need to make sure that the company is able to produce what they have promised. Seeing what they have made in the past is a good way for you to determine if they can create what you are looking for. Any reliable contractor will have a portfolio ready for you to view and most likely have all their recent work up on their website. You can even ask if they have a booth at an upcoming show nearby so you can stop by and see it for yourself.

Where will my stand be built?

Not all contractors are the ones building your booth – many of them sub-contract. Sometimes, contractors hire third-party companies for the design process or for certain elements of your booth. Ask your contractor if they are going to offer you complete in-house service because even if you trust your contractor, you don’t know who they might be using and if it might be for a critical part of your exhibit.

What on-site assistance do you offer?

You need to find out if they will have a booth supervisor dedicated for your booth the whole time. It does not end when the booth has been built – you need to know who to contact if there are issues with sound, lighting, electricity, etc. Also find out if they will be the point of contact for show organisers for orders such as electricity, water and internet. Know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Have you built in this country before?

Rules can vary considerably from country to country so it would be a wise decision to choose a contractor that has (recent) experience in the country that you are exhibiting in. From approvals to drayage, your contractor should be in the know. Also find out if your stand is being built in the country that you are exhibiting in and if not, are they shipping on time and following all the correct procedures for a smooth time at customs.

Ask them questions about the process.

Ask them questions like “Explain the whole process from start to finish” or “What recent element or technology did you implement in a client’s booth to make it stand out?”. The answers to these questions will help you decide if this is the right contractor for your booth and whether or not they are in the know.

Regardless of what industry you are in, chances are there is a massive exhibition that brings together the biggest names in your industry. Being at an exhibition involves a lot of expenses, effort, resources and manpower. You need to make the most out of attending an exhibition by letting people know you will be there. Simply chasing people around the exhibition floor or tracking them down at their booths is not half as effective as letting them know you will be there and arranging a meeting prior to the commencement of the show.

Here are a few ways you can let people know that you will be at the trade show.

Mass mail – if your database is big, send out a mail blast. Put the name of the show, your booth number or contact details so they know where to find you. Maybe it’s someone who knows your company name but has completely forgotten what services or products your company sells so add something short about your company and let them know that you will be there and the contact details they should use should they wish to set up a meeting. Email campaigns are cheap and extremely easy to execute so take advantage of this one. Take time to design an eye-catching creative that will still be on their minds when they see your booth. At least they would have seen or heard of your products or services before the show.

Direct – if your niche is small and you have a few specific people that you must meet with, send them a direct email. Make each email personal with their names, possibly a reminder of when you last met and what you discussed and a meeting proposal.

Social Media – the reach you can get on social media is quite impressive. Put banners, facts and figures, countdowns, the names of the company representatives who will attend the show, details of any competitions that will be held at your booth and teasers for any big announcements that your company is going to make. Use your website and social media channels to get the word out. Find out what’s trending on social media (related to the event) and take advantage of hashtags.

Company employees – your staff are your greatest brand advocates. Your sales team is likely reaching out to potential clients all the time. Let your clients and potential clients know you will be at the exhibition and add a line or small banner to their email signature.

Advertisements – many big exhibitions have their own website and mobile application. Here, you can usually find advertising opportunities in prime positions. If your budget allows, a small banner on either the app or website is a good way of being noticed by attendees.

Registration – if your company has plenty of free passes, offer your biggest clients and potential clients a pass. You can also work with the trade show organizers to see if you can send out discounted passes to people.

Follow-up – chances are you made appointments a few weeks before the show. Don’t be shy to email everyone right before the show to remind them about your meeting and what you’re going to discuss.

Live coverage – don’t go from an aggressive pre-show social media campaign to absolute silence when the show begins. Stay active on all your social media platforms, take pictures of your booth, branding, staff, interesting things at the event and stay social, very social! Live feeds with relevant keywords and hashtags can do a lot for your company.

Lights, Camera, Action – Tips for trade show booth lighting

By strategising your booth lighting. you can create a subliminal mood, draw visitors to your booth and influence their behaviour. The goal is to create an atmosphere that represents your brand, interests customers and ultimately improves sales. Generally, exhibition halls are well lit so more than a light source, your exhibition lighting is used for emphasis.

Set the appropriate mood – determine who you want your visitors to be. Are you targeting a young audience or a slightly older crowd? Be careful when choosing coloured lighting as this can have a great impact on the mood as well as the appearance of products and people. Try to avoid flashing and twinkling lights that can be distracting and cause over-sensitivity.

Functionality – you can get really creative with booth lighting but it is important to make sure that it is functional. Take into consideration how the lighting solutions will function in your space, if they will be good for photography and if they will be practical as well as cost-effective.

Variety – thanks to advanced technology, the variety of lighting available is incredible. You can use different types of lights in different areas to eliminate shadows, create a welcoming environment, highlight areas and make your products more visually appealing.

Focal point – use lighting not only to draw attention to your booth but to highlight and dramatise key areas such as product displays and special messages. There are many ways that you can play with lighting to really highlight spots within the booth that you want to attract visitors to. In general, people are attracted to areas with the brightest light so work with your designers to make your focal point visually attractive. If there are specific items in your display that you’d like to highlight, use one light for each item. You can use two lights for an extra large item.

Keep your booth busy and your visitors engaged

You have gone all out and got an incredible booth and you have your top sales members there but you just can’t seem to attract the right visitors. With so much going on at exhibitions from giant booths to lighting and distracting graphics, it’s easy for a company to get lost in the chaos.

Have a competition

Let everyone know – put it on your website, get on social media, let passers-by know, mention it on any show sponsorship you might have and have a great giveaway. Ask people to stop by your booth to fill in a form or collect a raffle coupon and try to keep them engaged while they are at your booth. Competitions are an effective way to increase footfall at exhibitions but try to keep it relevant – the competition should be in line with your product/service. You can start running your competition way before the show starts by having social media competitions and announcing the results at the exhibition.

Contact attendees

Some show organisers will give you a list of attendees that registered for the event. Get in touch with them and stay in contact until the show starts. Send them a personalised email inviting them for a meeting, follow up before the show and let them know what you can offer them. Also promote your presence to existing clients by sending out mail blasts, communicating with them via your sales team and being active on social media.

Social Media

Get on social media and interact with and engage with people who are going to be visiting the exhibition. Use popular show hashtags to let people know you are going to be there and to let them know if you have a product demo, special event at your booth, press conference or anything else you would like them to attend. Stay active on social media throughout the show with live feeds, regular image/video posts and short interviews of staff members. To reach a larger audience, you can use paid advertising on social media platforms.

Have a lounge

If your booth space allows for it, have a small area where people can relax, charge their phones or sit down to check their emails. Offer free Wi-Fi and in no time your booth will be buzzing! Leave marketing collateral on the tables so it can catch their eye!

Speaker opportunities

Try to get a speaker role for one of the key members of your company. Become the company that people go to for reliable industry information. Show them that your company can offer a wealth of information on the topic being discussed and have your speaker let everyone know that they can stop by your booth during the show to discuss further.

Provide Entertainment

Whether it’s a musician, a magician, games or a photo-booth. Trade shows can get quite hectic with back-to-back meetings and lots of industry talk so people really like to take a break and unwind for a few minutes in between.