AND SOME FREE–ASSOCIATION
By Paul Bridson
SELECTING THE right trade show to attend can make a big difference in the results in terms of measurable success: qualified leads and sales versus money, time and energy spent.
1. Ask Questions
The first questions you should be asking are "who do you want to reach at the show?" and "what do you want to have happen?"
2. Identify shows
There are two groups of shows you should be evaluating: the shows you are presently attending, and the shows you want to consider for future participation. Who is your target market and which shows do they attend?
3. Match your objectives
Selecting the right shows means matching your show exhibiting objectives with the right target audiences, the right timing to meet buyers' purchasing patterns and the ability to show and demonstrate your products/services.
4. Do your homework
When evaluating a shows potential, gather as much information as possible show statistics/demographics and review lists of previous participants. Verify information provided by show management. Speak to past exhibitors and attendees.
5. Visit the Show
Whenever possible, personally visit the show prior to exhibiting to assess its value. Evaluate the supporting events and/or educational seminars around the show.
6. Consider location
When evaluating a shows potential, take geographical location into consideration. Usually 40-60% of attendees come from a 200-mile radius of the show location. Consider your distribution area and target audience.
7. Consider timing
What other events are scheduled for the same time as the show and will they impact attendance?
8. Evaluate opportunities
What other marketing possibilities could the show offer? Are there opportunities for sponsorship, showcasing new offerings or participation in the educational seminars?
9. Play it safe
Be cautious about participating in a first time show. Promotional material may be extremely persuasive, but a show without prior history is a risky venture.
10. Choose your space wisely
Every trade show is unique and there are many variables affecting direction, volume and quality of traffic past your display. Be familiar with the floor plan and how your trade show booth fits. Consider how close you want to be to the main attractions, industry leaders, competitors, restrooms, food stations, entrances, exits, escalators/elevators/lifts, windows or seminar sites. Avoid obstructing columns, low ceilings, dead-end aisles, loading docks and freight doors, dark/poorly lit spaces, ceiling water pipes, late set-up areas or "black spots" on the floor plan
Is direct mail worth it?
By Paul Bridson
TWENTY YEARS ago we were designing and implementing direct mail campaigns so often we were dreaming about it in our sleep. With the advent of electronic advertising, direct mail fell by the wayside.
Now nearly every business has some sort of e-marketing program in place — either e-mail, banner advertising, Google Adwords, Facebook or others. As a result many companies have forgotten completely about direct mail. So the question is — is it worth another look?
Think about your mailbox these days. It's nowhere nearly as cluttered as it was ten years ago.
Now think about what you email inbox looks like. Yikes!
The flight from direct mail is your best excuse to use it now. A well-designed campaign will receive more attention than it has for decades because it has so little to compete against. The positives of direct mail are still valid:
So how do you do it right?
Great databases make great campaigns
Make sure that your database is clean, sorted and with good recency (you've communicated with them within the last year). If you've been sorting your clients and prospects by interest, consider how printing custom, targeted messages to individual market segments might increase your success.
If you're buying a list, use a professional who lives near enough that you could potentially dope-slap them if they give you a bad list. If you really want to handle it on your own, try to stick with the biggies, like Experian or Dun and Bradstreet. Consider your targets carefully. If your target is B-to-B you may want to purchase your list sorted for things like years in business, geography or SIC code to qualify the list as much as possible.
Clean that list! Use a good mail shop and have them a) remove any duplicates. and b) send it through the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. That way anyone who has moved recently will still get your mailing.
Have realistic expectations
Well-designed mailings with a strong offer get results, but don't expect more than between 3 and 15 percent response from existing clients or between 0.5 and 1 percent from prospects. Also, even a cleaned purchased list will likely only achieve 95% deliverability. Ask your mail shop for a postal reciept to verify how many pieces actually went out.
Use an experienced designer
Graphic designers with years of experience will be able to create a visually compelling piece with the proper word and graphic density, legibility and a built-in response vehicle. This is not the sort of job to try out an amateur.
Present a strong offer
Here's where so many companies go wrong. Making your offer truly compelling is crucial to the success of your campaign. Make sure that your offer is generous enough to generate interest and worded in a way that is instantly understandable.
For example offers have gotten a 40 percent lower response rate when they were worded “15 Percent Off” compared to an offer that said “$15 Off.” Both offers could cost the business the same amount when structured right, but one elicits a significantly higher response rate than the other.
Here's a strong offer checklist:
Measure your results
There are many ways to track the results of your campaign, including offer redemption codes, custom phone numbers, custom web landing pages and so on. Use them! Advertising without tracking is unnecessary and risky. Companies that track learn how to get results with the least expense.
Naturally, Brainstorm Marketing would love it if you considered us to help you with either direct mail or any other marketing vehicle. Contact us at:
By Paul Bridson
ACCORDING to trade show research, live presentations are the third most important reason people remember a trade show display, after display size and product interest. Any form of live presentation, for example, astaged product demonstration, theatrical skit, magician, game show, choreography, video, audio, robots or singers, can attract a throng of visitors to your stand. The key to success is using this powerful promotional tool as an integral part of your marketing plan to appropriately communicate your company or product message.
1. Consider your show objectives
Use your presentation to help achieve your objectives and to enhance your message or show theme. Find the most attractive benefit your product or service has to offer from the buyer's perspective and flaunt it.
2. Project the right image
Decide what image you want to project and the best way to convey your company and product message with your trade show display. Consider conveying your message through bold graphics.
3. Think about your audience
Always think about the audience you want to attract and what you want them to get from experiencing the presentation. Be careful not to get carried away with a great idea and lose sight of the objective.
4. Have a realistic budget
Your budget is going to be a primary determining factor as to the type of presentation your company could consider. Be realistic. Know when it's appropriate to be modest and when it's okay to be a little more extravagant.
5. Be professional
Whatever form of presentation you choose, always be professional. Your corporate image is being scrutinized by everyone. Seriously consider hiring a professional company to help with the conceptual ideas and implementation.
6. Grab attention and encourage action
Having a powerful and compelling pre and at show promotional strategy will help attract your target audience. Consider the best ways to promote your presentation--a special mailing, advertising or the Internet. Give visitors an incentive to attend your booth, such as a gift, discount or a special demonstration.
7. Focus your staff
Communicate and involve your staff. Let them know exactly what you expect of them before, during and after each presentation. Make sure they can do what you expect of them. Decide whether you want to use your own staff or hire outside talent. Consider motivating your team with a contest for rewarding the most prospects.
8. Monitor and capture leads
Design a simple and easy-to-use lead form to capture pertinent information from your prospects. Determine who should complete the card--visitors or staff--and train your exhibit/booth staff accordingly.
9. Deal with logistical issues
Major issues to consider are how much space you want the presentation to fill, if it should be in an open or closed area, how visitors will come into and leave the area; will they sit or stand during the presentation, how many presentations should be conducted every day, and how long each presentation will be? Ensure that the presentation does not interfere with fellow exhibitors and respects the adjoining space.
10. Evaluate success
Plan prior to the show how you will measure the success of the presentation: will it be based on the number of people attending, or the number of leads collected?
Paul Bridson and Kelly Sargent
We've been helping companies achieve lofty goals for over twenty years now. Here's the benefit of our experience!