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Old 25th March 2008, 10:37 AM   #1
JackieHFS
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Default Trade Show/Expo Over - What I Learned!

What I learned from my first trade show as a small business owner:

Giveaways that wonít end up in the round recycle bins: I guess this goes with knowing your audience (attendees). We had people seeing the flashlights and asking for one, which worked out sense, they were with our prospect group. Gave away about 10 that we werenít targeting but who knows who will see it Ė itís advertising right? www.bentleypromotions was awesome with their prices and to work with. Get prices from couple places so you have an idea of the going rate and they beat all the prices I had already received. They did all my giveaways and I had them get my banner I designed printed and that looked great and a great price.

Marketing Materials: Design easy to read, professional looking brochures, handouts. I used www.iprints.com and it was easy and they looked great. However, they are a bit slow on the brochure printing so allow yourself time. In fact I had a business consultant stop by and ask who did all the design work for the materials and banner because it all looked awesome. I was very proud to say I did. Lots of late nights and long hours but it paid off.

Pre marketing to hot/med clients: Of the 1600 attendees on the pre show registration list, we sent out 175 letters introducing HFS and trying to get them to stop by our booth for a special gift (led key ring flashlight set) and to register for a raffle ($50 American Express GC).

Sponsorships: if you can afford to sponsor something at the show that will allow you to get noticed Ė do it. We had the following sponsorships and each one was successful and getting people to our booth or in some cases to call us prior to the show:

Vendor Virtual Booth- part of the exhibitor list. This will also stay up and running for 60 to 90 days after the show. Therefore, another way of advertising that ran from January to June in our case when we first set up our info on the web page. http://www.facilitiesexpo.com/fex/index.po We went to the New England one! (This works for pre show marketing and post show marketing)

Show Sponsor: Lists your company name/logo on the expo/trade show website.

Pre-Show Eminder Ė sent out to all pre registered attendees and it reminded the attendees of the upcoming show and highlighted only our company (HFS).
Registration Booth Sponsorship Ė We were allowed to put a postcard highlighting our booth so each person would see it at registration plus we also had business card magnets for each person. The registration clerk all wore our HFS vests and the registration desk area had Hometown Forecast Services across each registration panel. Make sure your information is up there and out so people can see it and pick it up! (Lots going on when many are coming in to register and the Expo team forgot to put the stuff out at first but I noticed it early enough and got it corrected).

Floor Plan Sponsorship Ė we sponsored the map of the floor plan that each person was handed upon registration so our booth jumped out at attendees.
Post Show Eminder Ė we are in the process of writing the post show eminder that will go out to all participants who attended and provided an email address. We are writing that today.

Make them want to stop: Nice inviting booth that catches attention (dress nice/neat)! Donít just sit at your booth and watch them walk by Ė because they will. I couldnít believe the people running their booths that just sat at their booths, often behind their table as people just walked by. Pull them into a conversation and get them into your booth! Of course the weather is always a topic of conversation so we probably have an advantage there. We also had live radar running and it caught their eye especially with the storm system running up the east coast and into the Northeast. We also had a 32 inch monitor with Hurricane Katrina footage and other severe weather events running.

Hiding name/company badge is an art: As people walked by many had their badge covered by a coat or sweater so you couldnít see if they were someone you hoped to reach out to or not. Others who didnít have a coat strategically placed their trade show materials in that arm and hid their name badge that way. I decided enough was enough and got them over to our booth anyway! Some we had hoped to talk to, others we didnít but who cares the more people that know about or company, all the better.

Badge Card/ID Scanner: Looking back, I should have rented an ID scanner which would have made it easier for the people who said they didnít have a business card or ran out! This would have allowed me quick and easy access without all the writing. I didnít realize what it did until the show was in full swing. The attendee just hands you their ID badge and you scan it into the little electronic hand held and you have their info stored. I think you can later upload the data to your computer. Ė Would have saved time and less room for errors.

Other show Vendors: I spoke to 7 other vendors at the show before the exhibit floor was open to the attendees. I didnít want them to miss a sale when I was trying to sell our products to them so we spoke before and after the show or when the sessions were slow for traffic. Use the exhibitor list as a potential new business lead generator. I am hoping we can get a least 2 or 3 of the vendors as clients.

Qualified Business Card Control: We received about 50 business cards from attendees Ė or created them (from their badge info) if they didnít have one with them. You may think 50 isnít that great with the 175 that we pre marketed too. The good news is about 48 of these have a real interest in our company and products. Of course some are more interested than others but they all have a low to medium interest level or higher. I have worked shows in the past for another company I worked for and we got a huge stack of business cards but many were just put into the jar for the raffle but had little or no interest in the products/services being offered. Some may disagree on this but there were many people attending that would not be viable prospects and with a small company, I donít have the manpower to follow up on each business card especially if they had no need for our services.

Post Show Follow up: Strike while the coals are still hot and they remember you! I pulled together the 50 or so business cards we received and researched further. We are working all the follow ups this week and next which should be perfect timing with the post show eminder going out later this week too for the trade show management team.

Sorry for the length but I wanted to let you all know what worked and what we learned.

Thanks for all who helped with ideas/suggestions. Hopefully by write up will help others who plan on attending a show!


Jackie

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Old 25th March 2008, 01:02 PM   #2
Logan
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Great info. Thanks Jackie! You can write as much as you want when it helps out others like that

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Old 26th March 2008, 03:10 PM   #3
JackieHFS
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Default Trade Show

Thanks Logan. I hoped it would be helpful to some who haven't participated in a show before. My husband and I have both worked shows before for previous employers so that was a help.

Jackie

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Old 2nd April 2008, 10:18 AM   #4
sdk1988
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Jackie - thats great information!

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Old 2nd April 2008, 04:13 PM   #5
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Hello Jackie!

Congratulations on your first trade expo!! very nice information! Keep it up! Goodluck!

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Old 3rd April 2008, 01:05 PM   #6
Tom Young
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackieHFS View Post
Make them want to stop: Nice inviting booth that catches attention (dress nice/neat)! Donít just sit at your booth and watch them walk by Ė because they will. I couldnít believe the people running their booths that just sat at their booths, often behind their table as people just walked by. Pull them into a conversation and get them into your booth! Of course the weather is always a topic of conversation so we probably have an advantage there. We also had live radar running and it caught their eye especially with the storm system running up the east coast and into the Northeast. We also had a 32 inch monitor with Hurricane Katrina footage and other severe weather events running.

Jackie
Thanks as well Jackie,

Your analysis of exhibitors is more spot on than many may realize.

I was contacted yesterday by a nationally known craft magazine asking to reprint my January 9th blog post Ė ďWhat does attitude have to do with sales?Ē - on this same subject. If you are interested you can see it by following the link to my blog below in my signature.

Although the blog post is directed to the art and craft industry, the same basic principles apply in all sales environments.

Tom

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Old 4th April 2008, 10:32 AM   #7
Jayson88
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Excellent information for others to use. You have only minutes to make an impact that results in sales... thanks for your input!

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Old 4th April 2008, 10:46 AM   #8
JackieHFS
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Default Trade Show

Tom,

I read your information blog you posted on your response to me. Looks like we are on the same wavelength with our information.

Still working those prospects now so gotta get back at it! Good news is one of the "hot prospects" contacted us yesterday and is setting up his trial to start in about a week. If the trial goes well (and it should), I am confident he will sign on. He is one of the exhibitors I spoke with while I networked around the floor prior to the exhibit doors opening. The good news is he was so impressed with our operations when we spoke with him that he is already spreading the word so we are trying to see if we can do some follow up with these too if he will give us the information.

Jackie

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Old 5th April 2008, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayson88 View Post
You have only minutes to make an impact that results in sales... thanks for your input!
I reality it is just seconds.

Casually walk or stroll 10 feet - the width of a basic exhibition booth - and see how much time lapses.

The next time that you are at a trade show take a few minutes to watch the pattern that attendees walk. The average person will by-pass more that 50% of the booths because they see nothing of interest or possible see nothing at all.

When designing a booth I encourage exhibitors to imagine the impact that a bill board has to you when you pass it going 60 miles per hour Ė you either see it or you donít. The same design concept is necessary for trade show booths. There is very little time in which to make the initial impact needed to stop the attendee in his/her tracks.

Tom

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Old 7th April 2008, 08:27 AM   #10
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Great report!! Thanks!



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