Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Tried and True Idea to Drive Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth

Ever hear of the expression "what is old is new?" Sometimes new isn't always better when it comes to marketing ideas. In fact, we've seen that this expression applies to improving response at your trade show booth. Instead of always looking for something new and unique to draw people to your trade show booth, sometimes sticking with a classic idea that works is your best strategy.

Although not a new idea, the tried and true laminating machine could be a great addition to your trade show booth to get traffic. It's so simple yet it provides tremendous value to both you as a lead generation tool and to the attendee.
The way it works is that when a prospect comes to your booth you ask them for you two of their business cards. You insert one of their business cards into a clear plastic pouch which already includes a card created by you with your brand and business information. You then run the plastic pouch with both their card and your card through the laminating machine to turn it into a luggage tag. Their business card is shown on one side of the tag and your business information card is on the reverse side. But business travelers love it because it provides them with an easy to read luggage tag. 

What do you do with their second business card? The second card is retained by you, giving you their contact information to upload into your lead generation and sales management software. 

Although the lamination process only takes a minute or so, that time will give you a moment to talk to the prospect, allowing you to qualify them and to give your booth marketing speech. Both of you are receiving something of value; thus creating a win-win situation.

The laminating machine is affordable and it can be either purchased, if you attend a lot of trade shows it would be worth the investment or many conference management companies rent them for the duration of trade show.

The pouches for the luggage tags are inexpensive. You can make a luggage tag for a visitor for $0.50 each, which is a lot of value compared to the cost. After the show, the machine can create luggage tags for visitors to your facility or bring it to other networking or charity events. These tags are great for identifying luggage, briefcases, tote bags and back packs.

Trade Show Tip: If you are attending a large trade show where there will be a lot of traffic, you should consider designating a specific person to operate the machine in order to keep the lines moving and to encourage booth visitors.

I can help you purchase the laminating machine and customize your card to show on the back of the luggage tag so give me a call at 847-398-5500 or email me at dona.blunt@newportpros.com. I'm ready to help you generate more leads for your trade show investment.

Have you ever received a laminated luggage tag at a trade show? Do you still use it?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How Calendars Are Still an Effective Tool to Help You Build Your Brand

We look at calendars several times a day but don't always give them the respect and credit that they deserve as brand building tools.

Quite a bit of research has been done by the promotional products industry around the effectiveness of calendars. It has been shown that printed calendars ARE an effective way to place your brand in the homes and offices of your customers and prospects.

One big misconception about printed calendars is they are no longer relevant in the digital age. Although the numbers are lower than in decades past, printed calendars are still very relevant. For example, in a survey conducted by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) of over 1,000 U.S. businesses, 78% of the people who participated reported having a printed calendar at their workplace. Although this figure contrasts to 100% of those surveyed back in 1981, 78% is still a large percentage of prospects that will see your brand on a calendar.

In addition, 79% of the business respondents say they enjoy receiving calendars as a complimentary gift.
When asked what types of advertising calendars respondents were most likely to keep and use, not surprisingly, the wall calendar came out on top (64%) followed by desk calendars, calendars-in-a-day
planner, magnetic, and pocket calendars.
However, knowing that people appreciate calendars, with a little bit of imagination you can imprint calendar information on other products to make your brand stand out. For example, print your company logo and calendar on a microfiber screen cleaning cloth. This item is both very popular and very portable, keeping your name in front of prospects throughout the year.

Or what about printing a calendar onto a pen caddy that will be displayed on a desk? This is another useful item that gives great visibility to your brand while providing utility to the recipient.

More Results from the Survey

Other results from the calendar survey: Eight out of 10 business respondents state that the calendar plays either an important, very important or extremely important role in their lives. And it's not all digital, all the time. When asked how many times they used a calendar on their computer, 33 percent reported never referring to a computer on their calendar. Fifty percent of respondents had at some point printed their calendar off their computer. This is a sign that also points to  a need for a physical form of calendar as well as a marketing opportunity for companies.

The average number of printed calendars per business was 2.1 versus the average of 2.56 back in 1981. 37% of respondents had at least one calendar at work, 62% had between two and nine printed calendars at work and one percent had more than 10. These numbers also bode well for providers of printed calendars. Only 24 percent of respondents who had a print calendar at work stated that their calendars were not an advertising calendar, so we know that 76 percent had an advertising calendar! 
The question is that - is there room for more? The answer is a resounding yes. 64% of respondents plan to purchase a calendar in the future. This tells us that there is opportunity for advertisers to step in and make sure that advertising calendars take the place of those that are purchased. 

Calendars Work to Build Brand Awareness

The study also reveals that the advertising calendar is a very effective advertising vehicle. We know that between 75% - 77% could remember the advertiser or message advertised on the calendar they use. 61% had a more favorable impression of the advertiser and 49% have referred the company who gave them the calendar to somebody else. Recall and reaction was also very encouraging . . . All with huge implications for the effectiveness of this advertising medium. 

Make your calendar stand out even more with digital printing. Check out Use Personalization to Make Your Brand Stand Out
So what are you waiting for? As you start using your 2014 calendars and realize how ubiquitous and effective they are, think about allocating some of your upcoming budget for calendars for the 2015 season. Then it will be your company name that they remember when it is time to buy.

Give me a call today to brainstorm ideas to make your brand stand out with a calendar promotional product. 847-398-5500 or dona.blunt@newportpros.com. 

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Boost Your Brand with this Trade Show Hospitality Event Networking Idea

Walking into a networking event at a trade show or conference is hard for a lot of people. A large room full of clusters of new people can be intimidating. So, here's a fun and inexpensive idea to make networking easier and more fun for conference or trade show attendees while creating tremendous goodwill for your brand.

Everyone has seen these name badge stickers "Hello, my name is ...", right? The intention is to break the intimidation factor and get conversations started on a first name basis with people you have yet to meet. Or, perhaps to refresh your memory of someone whose name you have forgotten.

But what about putting a twist on this old standby to help people break the ice even further by doing something like this?

Customize the name badge with an ice-breaking and attention-grabbing question! Which of the two will create a bigger interaction? Talking about movies would be a non-threatening, lively conversation starter. Or play a game at the event by asking people to circulate looking for someone else who chose the same movie. If you find a match, you can come up and win a prize. The attendees can then spend time discussing why they like the movie, which then leads to an opportunity to talk about their business and network.

You don't need to go with movies, though. Some other discussion topics might be "My First Job Was"; "My Favorite Ice Cream flavor Is"; "My Favorite Thing About This Company Is", "My Hobby Is," etc. The list is endless and is only limited by your imagination. Ask a question that relates to your industry even, like "Hello, I think the biggest trend for our industry in 2014 will be ..."

These name badges are a perfect low-cost vehicle for putting your company name and logo front and center as part of sponsoring a networking event. Imagine how many times your logo will be viewed! More importantly, by adding a fun twist to the event, you'll create some goodwill for your company brand.

Next time you are asked to sponsor an event, see if you can add in these name badge labels to the mix to build a favorable buzz about your company while livening up the event.

Want to get some started today? Give me a call at 847-398-5500 or email me at dona.blunt@newportpros.com.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

7 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show Season

With the start of the new year begins the start of the new trade show season. You are poised for your business to grow in 2014 and investing in exhibiting at trade shows or attending key industry events will be key to helping you secure new business. Knowing that, whether you are a rookie or a pro, it pays to be prepared; here are seven plan-ahead items for your Trade Show To-Do list.

1.) Create an "Emergency" kit.  Whether you or your salespeople are manning the trade show booth, you need to put your best face forward when meeting new prospects or existing customers. Handy items such as an eyeglass repair kit, a stain remover pen, mini first aid kit, lint brush, and sewing kit are all helpful for those unexpected situations that may crop up that distract your from you goal of marketing your business.

2.) Prepare a Business Necessities kit.  First thing in the kit - DON'T FORGET YOUR BUSINESS CARDS! On top of that, make sure that you bring a sufficient quantity. Whether you are using business cards for obtaining show information, entering a booth drawing or at other networking events, you'll want to have business cards with you at all times. Other important components to this kit are a pen for taking notes, a back-up battery for your phone, hand sanitizer, lip balm and even basic supplies such as paper clips and a small stapler.

3.) Pack a written schedule, flight and hotel confirmations, and any maps. In case the unthinkable happens, like your phone becomes lost, stolen or inoperable, it is good to have a written back-up data to keep you on track.

4.) Enjoy the flight.  Make it easier to cope with delays or long flights by bringing along your own entertainment either work-related or for personal enjoyment.  This is a great time to catch up on reading, playing games or watching a film on your own device.  If the flight will be long, consider packing a neck pillow, eye shades or headsets. 

5.) Prepare for long days on the trade show floor.  Pack comfortable shoes--whether you are walking or standing in a booth, shoes that seem comfortable at home may not be so after 6-8 hours at a show.  Also remember to bring hand sanitizer, mints, a phone/tablet charger and some cash for cash-only purchases, coat checks or tips.   Definitely bring a bag or briefcase to carry any samples or paperwork that you need in the booth or for transporting literature home.

6.) Dress for Success:  Inquire if there are events that require specific styles of dress, such as a formal dinner or a casual themed party. Check the upcoming weather forecast; it's not unusual to have wide fluctuations in temperature during the winter months, so be ready for the weather conditions with your clothing choices. Even if your destination is hot, consider that it might be cold inside the convention hall so bringing a light sweater might be a good idea.

7.) Plan to network.  Most trade shows offer a variety of networking events, both within the context of the show and as events away from the trade show floor. Check out any fun runs, golf events, after-show parties or breakfast events and be sure to register in advance if required. These are great opportunities to meet prospects or potential partners since the setting is smaller and more intimate. Leave time open in your schedule for impromptu get-togethers with old friends and new people. 

Are there marketing opportunities for your company in trade show preparations?  You bet! If you want to win points with potential clients, send out an emergency kit with your logo in advance of the show--it's easy to brand first aid kits, sewing kits, lint brushes and eyeglass repair kits.  Or create a case and place your literature and booth number within the kit. Let them know that if they come to your booth, they will receive a free giveaway or the rest of the valuable contents of the kit.

Travel items, such as luggage tags, back-up phone batteries, lip balm, hand sanitizers, neck pillows, ear phones and eye shades can all be branded.  Mail these out in advance of the show to build awareness and pre-market your company. It's easier to get your message heard before the crowded show even starts.

Networking items such as business card cases and business card files are great ways for people to transport cards back home until the data is entered into their electronic devices.

Find out if you can distribute branded items at a the fun run or golf events or if your company can be the bag sponsor. The advertising manager for the trade show will be happy to discuss any marketing opportunities with you.

What about a mini "desk in a box" for handy office supplies as a pre-show or show promotional item? The items in the box are all universal and are sure to please your customers and prospects.

I'd be happy to share ideas on how to make your trade show marketing more effective in 2014. Give me a call at 847-398-5500 or email me at dona.blunt@newportpros.com. Here's to your success in 2014!