Studies have shown that first impressions have a high correlation with the long-term status of a relationship. In a trade show, you only have a few seconds before a prospect makes a decision to approach or walk past your booth.
According to the Huffington Post, it takes only one-tenth of a second for someone to form an opinion about you and your booth so make sure it counts.
2. Location, location, location
Like real estate, location is one of the most critical components when it comes to the success of your exhibition stand. The design is important too but when no one is seeing or walking past your trade show booth then no matter how well designed your booth is, it is an uphill battle from there.
3. Make your booth look approachable
Here is what an unapproachable booth looks like:
Dark, dull colours
Small entrance into the booth
Trade show staff that looks unhappy
We’ll cover colours and lightning in the next few points.
Another unique way to make your booth look approachable is offering free WiFi to your prospects and a place to charge up their phones. This not only brings them in, but it also builds karma points.
4. Colours attract people
In a trade show, you will be competing for attention with other trade show booths and one way to stand out is with bright sharp colours. Picking the right colours that align with your brand is a must for any trade show booth.
5. Explain your UVP in 3 seconds
What’s your unique value proposition? What makes you stand out from the 100 booths that are exhibiting in the show? When a prospect walks past, will they know what you do in 3 seconds or less, or do they have to stop and figure it out? If it’s the latter, it’s back to the drawing board.
One design to avoid on your trade show booth is a paragraph of text. No prospect will stop to read your 500-word article on the graphic print on your booth.
When it comes to designing your trade show booth, less is more. Make sure that the message that you’re trying to get across is as clear and concise as possible. You don’t need a paragraph of text to get your message across.
Another way to get your message across is to make your message big. Use large bold fonts to grab the attention of prospects from another booth. Another design disaster is placing your message on the bottom. The best area to place your message is at eye level.
According to Tim Patterson, the ultimate goal of your trade show display is to attract the right prospects with a clear and concise statement.
Tip: A picture speaks a thousand words. If you can’t squeeze your UVP and make it understandable in 3 seconds or less with text, images, or maybe even videos are your best friends.
6. Let there be light
One way to fend off prospects is to make your exhibition stand dark with no lighting. It gives off the vibe that they are not welcome into your booth. It’s important to strike a good balance between what’s dark and what’s too bright.
On lighting, if you’re promoting a new product or product line, use spotlights to highlight those products so prospects can actually see them. With spotlights, they will also know immediately that these are your latest products.
7. Materials are important too
This is often overlooked by most exhibitors but the material does make a huge difference in how your prospects view your brand and products.
If you’re a technology company, using materials such as acrylic and aluminium will give your brand and product a more modern feel to it
If you’re an organic farm company, materials like wood might work better
8. Have a meeting area
Allocating a small area in your booth as a meeting area might be helpful if your product or service requires a longer time to explain. A simple meeting area would consist of a small round table with chairs.
The majority of printed displays such as brochures, leaflets, and pull up banners are very sales-oriented. It’s either “50% off all our products. Sales end Sunday” type of brochure or a brochure listing all products with their prices.
Based on my experience, 99% of the time when I get these types of brochures it’s going straight into the bin within the next 5 minutes and the next day, I would’ve forgotten the business.
Most brochure printing companies charge between $0.50 to $1.00 depending on the quantity of your order. Technically, you’re paying $1 for less than 1 minute of your prospects’ attention. That doesn’t sound like a good investment. The reason for that is because of the alternative which is banner ads.
According to TubeFilter, you can buy 1000 of your prospects’ attention for $7.60 (2014 numbers) on YouTube. Assuming you bought 300 brochures for $300 and if you would spend $300 on YouTube ads, you could’ve bought 39,473 attention spans.
So…are brochures dead?
The answer is No. People still like to hold something physical in their hands compared to seeing something on a screen. The challenge here is giving them the brochure and making sure they keep it in their back pocket for a long time.
And we don’t keep “30% off sales brochures” in our back pockets, do we? We keep things that we think we need in the future and those are usually educational materials.
The answer here is to make your brochures educational. Your brochures should be telling your prospects “I’m going to make your life better.” not “I’m going to take money out of your pocket.”
Laing+Simmons is one company that is using their brochures very effectively.
Here’s an example:
Selling real estate is quite a complicated process especially if it’s your first time doing it but their brochure actually explains to their prospects the steps involved in selling one.
Laing+Simmons isn’t talking about themselves in the brochure because the sales process can be applied to other real estate agents too. When a prospect gets this, they know Laing+Simmons actually know how to sell real estate compared to the real estate agent next door with brochures saying “We got over 20 years experience. You can trust us.”
Let’s assume you’re getting brochures for your digital marketing agency.
Step 1: Find your target market
Who are your buyers? For digital marketing agencies, it is:
Brick & mortar business owners
Other marketing agencies who are looking for resellers
After you’ve defined who your buyers are, you want your message and design to align with them.
Step 2: What benefits would spark their interest
When someone is looking for a digital marketing agency, they are mainly looking for results in either their traffic, keyword rankings, sales, etc. So make sure your brochure talks about how your audience can achieve those benefits.
Teach them how to set up a PPC ad.
Teach them how to start SEO-optimizing a website.
Show them what a full-stack digital marketing plan looks like.
Show them the results of past clients with pictures and numbers.
Tip: If your benefits statements are too long, a link to a blog post would be a good idea.
Remember the Laing+Simmons brochure at the top? Their brochure teaches their prospects the process on how to sell a house. After reading that, their prospects could have gone out on their own to sell the house without Laing+Simmons.
Step 3: Design for 8-year olds
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein
“It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple.” – Steve Jobs
Here are some points to make your brochure as simple as possible:
Make sure the important points are either at the top or highlighted
Keep your sentences short
Use simple words that even an 8-year old can understand
Pictures speak a thousand words
Organise your brochure with headings and bullets
Here’s an example of a brochure design to avoid:
Why this is bad: Not organized. Too much text. No relevant images.
What a good brochure design looks like:
Why this is good: Sections and text are organised. Numbers, numbers, and numbers. Relevant and professionally designed graphics. Good flow from left to right.
Trade shows, and the events industry at large, do not have the best reputation when it comes to sustainability. The waste that accumulates, particularly at large events, can rise to huge sums. However, with more and more consumers becoming environmentally conscious, organizers have a vested interest in taking steps to reduce the footprint of their events. How can they achieve this? Through a combined strategy of digitisation, smart venue choice, reusable exhibition stands, and limited catering providers.
77% of the population now sees environmental damage as a serious concern
Thankfully, rather than branded a clan of hemp-wearing conspiracy theorists, the sustainability activists have grown to acquire a mainstream following, with 77% of the global population now viewing environmental damage as a serious concern. Each industry is having to look at its own processes to assess its culpability (some more than others), as the tide of popular opinion turns increasingly eco-centric. What of the exhibition industry? What can be done, what should be done, and what is being done currently to adhere to these new standards?
Unfortunately, the events industry is not the easiest to turn ‘green’. In 2019 it was reported that the UK events industry emits 1.2bn kg of CO2 per year, partly due to unoptimised diesel generators rendering air quality in green areas worse than in major cities. Events produce a huge amount of waste, with swag bags, single-use banners, single-use booths, flyers, giveaways, and many items of paraphernalia designed with the good intention of titillating attendees, that ultimately end up somewhere lodged in a turtle’s airways. However, there are steps that can be taken to cut down on these waste products that are steadily clogging up the planet’s pores.
1. Digitising as much as possible
Digitisation has been thrust forward at breakneck speed, as reducing paper and material contact is preferable for the environment. Any and all processes that can be digitised, should be, such as ticketing, accommodation planning, and pre-event advertising.
Some activists have begun declaring that digitisation should be expanded to the point where events are actually held virtually. From an environmental perspective, this is indeed beneficial, but also defeats the entire point of an ‘event’ in the first place (opening a Zoom tab does not equate to attending an event).
So how far can the industry go in this eco-digital pursuit? The great barrier we are unable to cross is seemingly that of the physical venue. By definition, an event requires people to gather in a given location, and waste is an inevitable byproduct. However, the elimination of handouts and flyers, increasing use of digital screens to display information are all positive steps that can be taken.
Solution: Use digital screens to display information and online e-tickets to reduce waste build-up.
2. Green and convenient venue choice
Arguably one of the most important decisions an event planner makes, venue choice has a significant impact on the footprint left by an event. Opting for a venue that is powered by renewable energy and with a carefully considered approach to waste handling is essential for earning the ‘green’ stamp of approval. Another component is transportation: if the event will be attracting international visitors, choosing a location that requires multiple connecting flights drastically increases emissions. Locations that are accessible via direct flights are much more sustainable.
Solution: Select easily accessible venues running on renewable energy and with an intelligent approach to waste management.
3. Reusable exhibition stands
For trade shows, if there is one single element of infrastructure to consider, it’s the exhibition stand. Historically, these have been single-use, one-off structures, designed to suit a specific show and a specific space. Traditional building methods, using a timber frame, panels, paints, glues, and plastics, resulting in stands that have to be completely torn apart to deconstruct. While more and more companies are turning to reusable solutions, the largest stands in the hall generally still use this method. At the end of the show, the materials end up in a skip, incurring yet more costs with the immense transportation required to transfer them offsite.
What should the industry be doing, moving forward, to avoid producing this surplus? As important as environmental sustainability is, so is financial viability, or the changes will not survive the test of time. As such, building 100% eco-friendly stands is currently not an option. However, a way to dramatically reduce stand building footprint is using modular, reusable stands. Companies like Black Robin Exhibits has been supplying individual frames that have been in use in the exhibition circuit for nearly 20 years, with 25 to 30 uses per year, amounting to a total of 500 applications.
With a modular stand, exhibitors are able to reduce their total exhibition cost whilst maintaining a relatively low footprint, by extending the stand life cycle so dramatically. An added bonus is modular stands are collapsible and thus transportable by vans rather than their bigger, gas-chugging counterpart, the lorry.
Solution: Use modular, reusable stands with some customisable features to remain financially viable and environmentally sustainable.
4. Replace printed promotional items with digital files
There has always been a certain tension between the more radical green activists in favour of rapid, drastic change, and the professionals (such as those in the events industry) who still must make a living, and prefer practical changes implemented over time that will not sink their business. Many small-business owners feel they need to offer a selection of pamphlets and informative literature about their business or else risk missing out on opportunities to hook otherwise-interested customers.
In reality, many, if not most pamphlets, are picked up (perhaps out of politeness) and promptly discarded into the nearest bin. In a large-scale event, these materials add up to a huge sum. In the digital age, the best way of offering individuals the chance to connect with your business is via a scannable QR code somewhere in plain sight. Not only is this easy and cheap, but it also demonstrates that your business takes the environmental issue seriously — which might even attract more visitors.
Solution: Exhibitors can use scannable QR codes as a means of disseminating information, rather than piles of handouts.
5. Selecting the right caterer to minimise waste
Food and drink will inevitably be served at any event. I’m sure many of you have seen those unsightly photos of a post-festival cleanup, as a few brave souls march across an apocalyptic landscape of discarded plastic. Short of letting everyone starve (unlikely to foster repeat attendance), event planners can’t completely cut down on food-related waste. What they can do, however, is make sure to avoid all non-disposable items, such as plastic cups, plates, cutlery etc., and to provide water in jugs or large dispensers as opposed to plastic bottled water. Serve fair-trade-certified tea and coffee which can be served via a cafetière or machine, milk can also be put into jugs rather than guests using individual plastic milk pots.
In terms of food caterers should be sourcing organic, heathy produce from local vendors, farms and markets, and should design the menu to reflect what’s available and in season. Before the caterers turn up to the event, they should ask the event organisers to supply recycling bins for any waste which is generated. All in all, when booking a caterer ensure you do your research to make sure they meet your brief and not cutting corner.
Solution: Minimising food-related waste and doing necessary homework on the caterer you choose.
It’s safe to say that most people do not envy the position of event planners in 2021. What with a scuppered profit margin caused by the pandemic, and the difficulty of balancing financial concerns with environmental issues, the task before them is a daunting one. However, with the explosion of events that will hopefully take place once we emerge from our chrysalis of social confinement, organisers should be crawling out of their current financial predicament. Then, there will be time to address the ever-important question of dodging a full-blown environmental catastrophe.
As a retailer, grabbing your shopper’s attention whilst in the store will not only help you to sell a few last-minute products, but it will keep your inventory constantly running in order to be able to display new items on a regular basis – keeping products from accumulating on the shelves simply because they are out of sight.
With these 6 point of sale marketing tips, you are able to provide a need that your shoppers may never have thought of having.
Studies have found that consumers make more than 70% of their purchase decisions in stores. This increases the importance of point of sale displays to give shoppers that push to add that item to their basket.
To verify this result, a study was conducted to find out whether the right message on a point of sale display can increase sales.
The result was retail stores with the winning message had an increase of 43% in sales!
Have you ever waited in line at the checkout aisle waiting to pay for your items only to add something else to your basket? We all know what’s waiting for us when wanting to pay for our products, yet we tend to fall for the same marketing strategy anyway. Why not join the bandwagon?
Place your point of sale displays at the checkout aisle in the hopes of catching last-minute sales before customers leave the store. High margin low priced products tend to work best here.
3. Product bundling
The third tip is to think about complementary products from different categories and place them next to each other. For example, a torch won’t work without batteries so placing batteries in the torch aisle will help improve your sales of batteries. Shopify has a pretty good resource on product bundling which you can read here.
Did you know? Nintendo actually sold more Game Boys when it was bundled up with a game compared to when it was sold individually. With bundling, Nintendo’s hardware sales increased by approximately 100,000 units! Because of Nintendo selling 100,000 more units, their video game sales jumped by over a million units. You can read more about Nintendo’s bundling strategy here.
Here is a real-life product bundling example here in Australia (apologies for lighting). Coles is cross-selling their Family Hot Roast Chicken with a bottle of Coke.
4. Make shoppers stop
According to POPAI, most shopping is done in autopilot mode. When a POS display grabs a shopper’s attention they will switch from autopilot mode to “manual control”. Kraft Heinz’s European president, Matt Hill recently claimed that supermarkets were turning into ‘libraries’ with shoppers on autopilot as they go through the store. Because of this, they are not purchasing new products other than the ones they have been used to buying.
The primary goal of a point of sale display is to grab the shopper’s attention, make them stop, pick up the advertised product, and put it into their shopping cart. Your POS display needs to be bold and creative to grab the attention of shoppers.
5. Keep your POS displays fresh
A point of sale display needs to be constantly evolving in terms of design and its placement in the store. The longer the POS display remains unchanged, the less effective it becomes. Return shoppers will soon unconsciously ignore it similar to the banner blindness phenomenon.
6. Ask brands for POS displays
Ask the brands you are promoting to see what point of sale displays they can offer. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a custom cardboard display stand. It could be something as simple as a brochure holder with brochures in it.
For example, if you are selling cream cheese, you can ask the vendor to supply recipe flyers which you can promote next to the item. Another common marketing strategy that food brands use is in-store food demos.
The point of sale marketing tips discussed in this post are:
You are competing with hundreds of other exhibitors for the attendees’ attention. You are being compared with other exhibitors on who has a better product and service based on how your stand looks, how your staff communicates, and how they are being treated.
Here are 9 ways to attract visitors to your booth.
A study done by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas found that employee uniforms significantly boost brand recognition and customer satisfaction, both of which are often common exhibiting goals. You want your uniforms to inspire confidence in your prospects and show that your company is established and reliable.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million
A video is almost like another booth staff that is constantly pitching to your prospects. This means that if all your booth staff is busy attending to current prospects, potential prospects can watch the video first while waiting. Some prospects also prefer watching a video to learn more about what your company can do for them first.
A video doesn’t specifically have to be used for a trade show only. One of the best things about videos is they can be used on your website, Facebook, YouTube and future marketing campaigns. However, don’t create a 10-min long video. No one is going to stand there and watch a 10-min video. If the video doesn’t tell the prospect “What’s in it for them” within the first 30 seconds, they’re gone.
4. The way to a prospect’s heart is through their stomach
Nothing attracts prospects like food. Free food.
Before using the free food strategy, you want to select the ones that can be consumed in one or two bites and don’t require any cutleries or plates. Finger food is your best bet as trade show food. Make sure to double-check on whether food is allowed in the show.
This strategy also gives you and your sales team time to build rapport with your prospects.
“I’ve got only two words for businesses that want to stand out at trade shows: free candy,” says Tony Alfidi, founder of Alfidi Capital. “I put out bowls of free candy the first time I ever exhibited at a trade show because human beings love freebies. The time it takes for a prospect to stop, grab a treat, unwrap it and put it in their mouths is enough time to give a 30-second elevator pitch about a product or service.”
5. Guerilla marketing tactics
One of the most famous guerilla marketing tactics was by WePay, an online payment service provider.
They dropped a 270kg block of ice filled with $100 bills at Paypal’s developer conference.
This is to make a statement that unlike Paypal they don’t freeze your money. One minute after dropping off the massive block of ice, WePay employees were confronted by security.
Other than being confronted by security, what were the results of this stunt?
300% increase in weekly traffic
225% increase in signups
Thousands of free press from TechCrunch, Reddit and HubSpot and millions of brand exposure over Facebook and Twitter.
WePay was recently acquired by JPMorgan for an undisclosed amount but the Wall Street Journal reported the price is above $220 million.
But in addition to having some fun in the duck suit, the Red Duck team put a lot of effort into creating a booth designed to reflect their Pacific Northwest roots and to try to attract as many passersby as possible. The dark wooden plank backdrop is a nod to their timber-rich home and stands in nice contrast to the bright red logo.
The booth was also designed to include a merchandising area where Red Duck condiments line the shelves so that retailers can imagine just how awesome the products will look in their own stores!
Or you can bring real-life animals like what this company did.
“Two years ago, we partnered with the local zoo to bring two penguins to our trade show booth. People crowded around our booth from the moment the show began. We handed out penguin-themed flyers and penguin stress balls. People still remember it!” – Jesse Lear, VIP Waste Services
7. Do better giveaways
The most common giveaways are pens and mugs. Everyone is giving out pens these days. You want to be giving out something unique, relevant to your brand and useful to your prospects. Brochures being the best example here. They tick all the three criteria:
They are unique to your brand
They are relevant to your brand
They are useful to the prospect
Prospects will also judge the quality of your brand and products by your brochures and compare it to brochures from different companies.
Do you trust the company on the left more or the companies on the right?
8. Location, location, location
A strategically-located booth can be the difference between bringing in 200 new leads vs 20 leads. Generally, the best booth locations are the ones near the entrance, at intersections with multiple traffic flows and near interest points such as cafe and restrooms.
Imagine if you’re a tourist in New York looking for the best hot dog stand. You see one with a long line and the one without any. Which do you think serves the better hot dog?
The hardest part is attracting the first group of prospects that will, in turn, attract the next and the next.
One of the best ways is to contact your existing clients and schedule meetings with them throughout the show. This gives you a constant flow of activity at your booth throughout the show. The second benefit is it strengthens the relationship between you and your existing clients which are essentially your most valuable clients.
Dress like a team
A picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million
Invest in a great exhibition stand
The way to a prospect’s heart is through his stomach