Promotional items for your Stand

4 min read – 

Exhibitions, promotional items

With the welcome return of live exhibitions, and with one of the engineering industry’s most important exhibitions (Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022) just 2 months away, now seems a perfect opportunity to look at what you might need to consider when planning for an exhibition.

Over the course of the next four weeks, we’re going to look at the 4 key ingredients to a successful trade show:

  • Design and Build of your stand
  • Video and Photography for your stand
  • Communication to your audience before, during and after the show
  • Tangible items for your stand that will make you memorable

4 of 4

So far in our series of blogs on exhibiting at a trade show, we have looked at designing and building your stand, the multi-media you need to give your stand the wow factor and how you promote yourself before, during and after the Show.

In our 4th and final blog in this series we look at how you can make your stand that little bit more memorable with promotional items visitors can either take away, or interact with, at the stand.

LITERATURE

Let’s start by looking at literature. There is an obvious argument that no-one needs literature any more in our digital world, so why go to the bother of producing hard copies of your data sheets or brochures. To a large extent this is very true, and a branded USB stick that contains PDF’s of your presentation and key literature is for many people the best way they would like to take information away from your stand.

However, USB’s get lost, and need some action to look at them – whereas a set of data sheets or a corporate brochure professionally designed can still prove worthwhile and can sit more noticeably on a visitor’s desk when he/she returns to their office. It is also sometimes useful to talk through a data sheet with a visitor at the stand, which you can’t do with an electronic document. Why not consider having both, to meet the requirements of all your visitors.

Promotional items for your stand


VIDEO cards

As a modern extension to the USB stick, video cards can prove very successful in communicating your messages to contacts. Not only do you have an opportunity to brand them with bespoke artwork, but you can add several videos including your corporate video and videos of all your key products and services. Add in the wow factor of the cards and you can guarantee visitors will come away from your stand with a memory to last.

PROMOTIONAL items

The concept of having something to give away on your stand is as old as trade shows themselves and yet it stands the test of time. From something as simple as pens or stress balls, to sophisticated gifts such as bespoke phone chargers, you should see giveaways as a brand-promoting exercise; an opportunity to get your name out and about across your industry peers and customers. A smart strategy is to have a mix of items, that allow you to be a little selective – cheaper pens for students and the casual walk-by, more expensive items for promising new contacts, existing customers or past customers that are looking to reconnect.

The success of giveaways is all about usability. The afore-mentioned phone chargers and thermal drink cups are proven winners as everyone will use one of those in their lifetime. It’s worth doing a little research beforehand to see the latest ideas, as having something unique will definitely score you some points over your competition.

Exhibitions, promotional items


INTERACTIVITY on your stand

Having some form of interactive activity on your stand that will draw visitors in is always worth considering. It could be related to your business, for example a robot in action, or a 3D printer producing one of your products. Alternatively it might be completely unrelated to what you do and simply represent a fun activity, for example, a chance to play against a professional darts player, or have a go in a racing simulator. Whatever attraction you go with, remember the purpose is to stir up some momentum around your stand and hopefully get people talking about you. As much advance publicity as you can get will be helpful to start those conversations.

COMPETITIONS

Running a competition during the show is another possible way to bring people to your stand, as long as you publicise it well beforehand. It’s a guaranteed way to capture data, and if you announce the winner at the show, is an opportunity to get people to revisit your stand either later in the day or the day after. Always make sure the prize is worth-while and keep the entry process quick and easy – no-one wants to fill out pages just to enter a competition.

Exhibitions, promotional items


FOOD and drink

Finally, a very simple method of adding some extra to your stand is to offer refreshments. Walking a show is tiring business, so the offer of food and drink will always be well appreciated. Think about doing something a little bit different to make your offer stand out – cupcakes or popcorn will be more memorable than biscuits or chocolates, and you can add branding to the packaging to help promote your name. Similarly, why not hand out water bottles with your own branded labels.

SUMMARY

Having something tangible to give away to visitors is largely about taking the opportunity to promote your brand. It is unlikely you will pick up actual business from giving someone a pen, but by keeping your name in their consciousness you improve your chances of your name being the first one they think of when they are ready to purchase.

This series of 4 blogs has hopefully given you some food for thought when you are planning your forthcoming exhibitions. Exhibitions are an expensive form of marketing so you need to make sure you are getting value for money and a big part of that is planning your stand and show presence meticulously to ensure all the boxes are ticked.

 

 

If you’d like to discuss your trade show requirements, particularly in advance of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Communication to your Contacts

4 min read – 

With the welcome return of live exhibitions, and with one of the engineering industry’s most important exhibitions (Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022) just 2 months away, now seems a perfect opportunity to look at what you might need to consider when planning for an exhibition.

Over the course of the next four weeks, we’re going to look at the 4 key ingredients to a successful trade show:

  • Design and Build of your stand
  • Video and Photography for your stand
  • Communication to your audience before, during and after the show
  • Tangible items for your stand that will make you memorable

3 of 4

Our third blog in this series on exhibiting is all about PR!

If you don’t tell ‘em, how will they know” is an old adage that applies to marketing in general, but is really prevalent when it comes to exhibitions. If you’re going to the expense of exhibiting at a trade show such as Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022 you need to take every opportunity to make the show a success and that includes the PR openings that exist in both the run-up to a show and after it.

BEFORE the Show

Communicating with your target audience to tell them you are exhibiting is a great way to generate some momentum before a show. There’s a variety of ways this can be done, for example, through email campaigns, on social media, via trade magazines, in person on sales visits, via your email signature etc. However you choose to do it, the key objective is to encourage people to come and see you at the show, so you can have that all-important face to face discussion.

One common way to spice up your pre-show PR is to run a competition or prize draw that culminates with the winner being announced at the show. Make sure the prize you are offering is worth-while and also ensure some aspect of the competition involves the participants having to visit your stand.

Announcing some form of ‘good news’ at a show is a great way to ramp up your PR pre-event, as you can use a trickle-effect to tease your audience beforehand. If you are unveiling a new logo and brand, or a new website, a series of emails running up to the show gives you an opportunity to reveal a little bit more each time, until the grand reveal on day one of the show.

Editorials or adverts in trade magazines (particularly ones producing show previews) are another conventional method of telling your audience of your participation. The decline of readership in recent years might suggest this form of PR is on the way out, however for traditional industries such as manufacturing, trade magazines still have their part to play. Teaser campaigns on social media are also very effective and can be produced quickly with instant results in terms of feedback.

However you tell your audience, the most important message is to encourage them to come and see you.

DURING the Show

It’s very easy to put all of your effort into communicating before the Show and then do nothing during and afterwards, which is a sure-fire way to not make the most of your investment.

There are admittedly limited options whilst the show is on however it is important you keep the dialogue going. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is through your social media channels and your website. Regular posts (3 or 4 a day if you can) will keep people engaged and help to promote positive messages about the Show and your involvement in it. This is particularly useful if it’s a 2 or 3-day show as it helps to build momentum and appeals for those visitors planning to visit on Day 2 or 3.

A daily blog on your website, perhaps produced at the end of the day, also helps to promote your presence and gives you an opportunity to focus on different aspects of your business. Make sure you delegate someone on your stand to take photographs and video during the day, to provide you with the content you will need both during and after the Show.

AFTER the Show

If you’ve managed to keep the level of communication going through the show, and collected visual content, your after-show PR should really be focussed on follow-up with the contacts you have made.

It’s so easy for people to return to their day job after walking a show and their enthusiasm for your product or service diminishes. It’s your job to try very hard and not let that happen, and to do this you need to have a plan on how you are going to follow-up.

Time is critical here. Someone walking a show will return with many business cards, free pens and brochures that are likely to sit on their desk for days. Your first communication needs to come quickly to make yourself stand out – ideally send an email that night thanking them for stopping by, reminding them of what you do/can offer them and promising to contact them very soon to have a follow-up conversation. Then make sure you carry through on your promise and CALL THEM.

We all know the stats about how often in industry you need to talk to a new contact before they make a purchase – so be organised, and put a process in place that ensures you can touch base with contacts you’ve made, through email, social media, on the phone, through the post or face-to-face, until you reach the end of the cycle and they either purchase from you, or decide they are really not interested.

 

SUMMARY

Communicating to your contacts before, during and after you exhibit at a show is a vital element of your show planning, and needs to be planned in advance. You can generate significant momentum with your contacts in the run-up by teasing reveals and giving them a reason to visit your stand. And remember, your job isn’t done when the show closes, so focus on how you create multiple touch-points for your new contacts.

As with your preparations for multi-media, you need to be planning your PR right now in advance of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022.

 

In the final blog in this series we will look at what tangible items you can have on your stand to encourage visitors to come and leave visitors with a lasting impression.

 

If you’d like to discuss your trade show requirements, particularly in advance of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Multimedia for your Stand – Video and Photography

6 min read – 

With the welcome return of live exhibitions, and with one of the engineering industry’s most important exhibitions (Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022) just 3 months away, now seems a perfect opportunity to look at what you might need to consider when planning for an exhibition.

Over the course of the next four weeks, we’re going to look at the 4 key ingredients to a successful trade show:

  • Design and Build of your stand

  • Video and Photography for your stand

  • Communication to your audience before, during and after the show

  • Tangible items for your stand that will make you memorable

2 of 4

Video and Photography for your Stand

In our previous blog we discussed the design and build of your exhibition stand. A huge part of the design process needs to be what impression the stand will create with visitors, and your multi-media plays a significant role in this.

Multi-media is a generic term but for this purpose, we mean the videos, animations and photographs you have either running on monitors or across your graphics/banners.

Filming for Industry trade shows

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Working on the philosophy that you need to get visitors to stop at your stand, your photographs and images can literally make the difference. If you are using older images that no longer reflect your business or products, or you have photographs that you understand but no-one else will, then you are missing an opportunity. It is important to remember that your images on a graphic panel are not going to make you a sale – but if you can persuade people to pause at your stand long enough for you to engage in conversation, then your images are working for you.

At a focussed trade show such as Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, the audience is going to be visitors with a certain level of knowledge. Many of them will probably know what they are looking for, with a minority looking for inspiration. Your images therefore need to reflect this. If you make widgets that perform a certain role, images of the widgets being manufactured isn’t going to be enough – you need to be including images of the end product so visitors can make the connection. Think about what makes your company special, and different from the competition, and include images and photographs that communicate that message.

VIDEO

The power of video is well known – we all understand that moving images are so much more likely to attract attention, and that visitors at a trade show will almost always stop and watch a video for a few seconds. The key therefore is how can you encourage them to stay a few seconds longer and then enquire further.

 

The style of video is an important consideration when you are planning your stand. Using your traditional corporate video can be suitable, however if that contains a lot of voice-over or pieces-to-camera then that is not ideal. That type of video is designed for a website or a sales presentation when sound is not an issue. At trade shows however the majority of screens will either be muted or turned down and therefore lengthy shots of your MD extolling the virtues of your company are pointless.

One option you have is to produce an exhibition-friendly version of your corporate video. Consider re-editing using graphics more extensively and removing the pieces-to-camera. Alternatively produce a shorter and punchier video of your products and services, ideally around 1-2 minutes, using a soundtrack and graphics to tell the story, allowing your video to run on a loop for the duration of the show without the need for someone to explain what the viewer is seeing.

If video footage is difficult to arrange, as an alternative why not consider animating your corporate presentation, so that it runs by itself and again requires little interpretation. With packages such as PowerPoint offering more and more sophisticated animation, there really is no excuse to have a static presentation on a screen.

ANIMATIONS

Animation can also be used to illustrate complex products or processes. If you produce a particular piece of equipment that is difficult to depict on video or with still images, why not consider developing a 3D animation showing the different elements coming together to form the finished product, to demonstrate your expertise and unique capability. All that is required are the CAD drawings for the design and some photos of the finished product.

Gulmay Generator animation image

Interactivity on exhibition stands is always well received, as visitors have the opportunity to touch and feel products. Using a 3D facility, with technologies such as 360degree photography, can allow you to transport visitors into your factory to get a first-hand view of what you produce. Such technology is increasingly more available and cheaper than you might think and is guaranteed to give you that wow factor with your exhibition stand.

Finally, you need to consider how you will display your multi-media on your stand. Space will often dictate this – after all it is not practical to use a 60” screen on a 2m x 2m shell-scheme stand. Using a stand-alone screen, perhaps at the front of your stand, can be a good way to draw attention to your video/presentation but bear in mind it doesn’t want to block access to your visitor, so be wary of making it too high. Alternatively, you can incorporate a screen into your graphics at the back of your stand, which still act as an attraction to visitors as they walk past but is less intrusive.

SUMMARY

The multimedia on your stand can make a huge difference to that all-important first impression. Whether you have a video or animation running, or simply use photography to convey your messages, you need to make sure they achieve their purpose without detracting from the stand. And with any media for your trade stand, bear in mind it takes time to produce it properly – so for the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Show in February 2022, you need to be planning this now.

 

In the next blog in this series we will look at how you need to be communicating with your target audience before, during and after your show.

 

If you’d like to discuss your trade show requirements, particularly in advance of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Designing and Building your Exhibition Stand

4 min read – 

With the welcome return of live exhibitions, and with one of the engineering industry’s most important exhibitions (Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022) just 3 months away, now seems a perfect opportunity to look at what you might need to consider when planning for an exhibition.

Over the course of the next four weeks, we’re going to look at the 4 key ingredients to a successful trade show:

  • Design and Build of your stand

  • Video and Photography for your stand

  • Communication to your audience before, during and after the show

  • Tangible items for your stand that will make you memorable

1 of 4

Design and Build of your Exhibition Stand

The physical attributes of your stand are determined by the space you have booked. If you have chosen a space within a pre-built shell scheme, then you are limited by walls and need to be creative with your graphic panels, pop-up banners and display cabinets.

If you have chosen space only, then the opportunities to create something memorable are really only limited by your budget.

Exhibition design

KEY MESSAGES

With all of your graphics, you need to consider your key messages that you want visitors to take away with them. You will only have a very limited time to make a first impression, so you need to make sure your graphics are bold and clear.

Very few visitors will read lists of bullet points on a banner, but an image of your product or an associated image of the industry you operate in is more likely to make them pause long enough for you to approach them and open a discussion.

THE MIND OF YOUR CUSTOMER

Don’t try and present every single product you make, or every service you offer, because you don’t have the time or the space. Put yourself in the minds of your customer and think what would attract you about your business enough to make you stop and look again – then apply that logic to your graphics. Most often your content should be about how you can solve your customer’s problems, or a particular benefit your product or service offers.

SPACE

The other aspect to the design of your stand is space – and how you utilise it. There is a fine balance between having too much ‘stuff’ on your stand making it look cluttered and untidy, and not using the space efficiently. If you have booked a 3mx3m shell scheme space, there will be room for a small table and a couple of chairs, a display cabinet for your product, a storage cabinet at the back of your stand and a stand/bar table for your video screen and that’s about it! By the time you have added 2 or 3 of your staff your space will be full!

Remember the golden rule at Shows is to offer just enough incentive to visitors that they stop to talk to you, so making your stand look like an impregnable fortress just isn’t going to do it.

AGI Stand @ DSEI 4

 

BRANDING

Branding is a key design factor so you need to make sure you are instantly recognisable through the use of your logo and your company colours. On a shell-scheme stand, there will be limited areas to use your logo (most likely on your graphics and on the front of any cabinets), so take the opportunities you have to ‘logo-up’. With a bespoke stand build, you can have the converse situation of too many areas and an overkill of branding, so don’t get too carried away – sometimes less is more!

BUILDING YOUR STAND

Again, this will depend on the size and complexity of your stand. For a space-only bespoke construction, your stand designer should take on this task with minimal involvement from yourself.

Where you will need to get involved is when it comes to the stand dressing – making sure the final finishing touches are applied that are so important to how the stand looks. We strongly recommend you don’t leave it entirely to your stand designer, and just turn up on the morning of the Show expecting everything to be perfect… That is unless you employ someone to specifically project-manage your stand, in which case their job is to ensure you can do just that!

For a shell-scheme stand, set-up is invariably quicker and will usually involve the application of graphics to the fixed walls, the installation of cabinets and the positioning of TV monitors etc. Graphics applied to walls can be fiddly, as oppose to just using a pop-up style exhibition banner, however the latter take up space that you may not have. Our recommendation – get a 3D render done of your stand at the start of the planning process so you have a visual representation of what the stand will look like, and then, if you can, mock up your stand in your offices a few days before to make sure you know exactly what you are doing on arrival.

SUMMARY

How your stand looks can literally be the difference between success and failure of a trade show, so it is vital you take some time to think about what impression you want to create with visitors. Putting the effort in now can mean you have enough space on the stand to welcome visitors, and the right content to make that all important first impression.

 

In the next blog in this series we will look at how you can use video and photography to enhance your stand.

If you’d like to discuss your trade show requirements, particularly in advance of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2022, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

Is B2B Email Marketing still worth doing?

Email marketing

4 min read – 

It’s a legitimate question to ask, as the way we conduct business and communicate with clients seems to constantly change.

Face to face communication was all the rage 10 years ago, before email marketing became very popular. But what about now in 2021? Should you be spending time and resources on email campaigns? Well – spoiler alert – yes, email marketing is most definitely still worth it.

Let’s look at why by identifying the 5 current most important email marketing trends.

  • Automation

  • Personalisation

  • Video

  • Informational emails not selling emails

  • Plain text emails

Automation

Automating your emails is a very simple process but it can have a massive effect on utilisation of resources, plus make it much easier to track engagement.

Ideally you should be sending between 1 and 4 emails per month. This is enough to stay on a potential customer’s radar and keep them engaged, but doesn’t barrage them with too many emails and so become a nuisance to them.

Using a simple automation tool such as Mailchimp allows you to schedule emails, and if necessary, adjust your campaign depending upon reader engagement. More sophisticated email automation packages allow you to set up ‘drip campaigns’ where you can organise automatic emails that are triggered by behaviours and actions.

 

Personalisation

It’s time to get personal! In 2020, according to research by SuperOffice, 89% of B2B emails were sent from a company email address rather than an individual’s address. This needs to change! You need to start building up trust and rapport and this starts with the email address you use.

By personalising your content, you immediately attract the attention of the recipient. Start your personalisation in the Subject line (how about “Simon, did you hear about this new technology?”) and continue it through the content with specific references to the recipient. This can be hard to do with a substantial list, so break the job down into manageable chunks.

Your ultimate personalisation of course can be achieved via a video, recorded specifically for the recipient. You can guarantee the vast majority of people will watch a video at least once when it starts with a direct approach to the recipient, for e.g. “Hi Simon, this video is just for you…”

 

Video

The buzz word of the last decade! We all know how powerful video can be as part of your marketing mix but incorporating it into your email marketing can really raise your game. With software such as Vidyard, or by using a specialist to edit a video together, you can ensure you tailor your video to your intended audience, tapping into a particular need or business issue.

The type of video you produce can vary according to the key message of the email. Sometimes a simple piece-to-camera is enough, whereas in other cases you may need to film something in your factory, offices or on location. The most important thing to remember is keep it simple and make it relevant.

The statistics on use of video in emails are very persuasive – open rates increased by 19%, click rates by 65% and a reduction in unsubscribe rates of 26%.

 

Informational emails

We’ve all heard the cry “not another bloody sales email”! You need to avoid this response by including content that informs and educates your audience. Don’t fill your emails with stories of how your company has done this and that, guaranteed to turn your readers off. Instead, you need to consider content that explores problems or issues that are generic and answers the questions that your target audience is asking.

Changing your content this way should increase your click-through and conversion rates and decrease the number of unsubscribes you get.

 

Plain text emails

Because images can still be a problem! Sending a plain-text email can be a guaranteed way to get your email through to its intended recipient, without it being intercepted by spam filters. Image-filled emails can often come across as too sales-oriented, and email providers often block them from downloading, thus creating an unsightly mess in the inbox.

Plain text emails also offer the benefit of making your audience feel more directly reached out to, especially if supported with personalisation such as their name and job role in the email. They are also perfect for email-reading tools, such as Cortana, which are becoming more and more popular.

 

Summary

The key trends for email marketing discussed above all point to it being a key tool for your B2B digital marketing strategy.

With an organically grown prospects list, you can target your intended audience with tailored content that appeals directly to them and measures the success or otherwise through genuine feedback.

With a bit of planning, and some creative content, email marketing can offer a B2B company a fabulous return for a limited input.

 

If you’d like to discuss how you can use email marketing to grow your business, please contact Simon on simon@thecollectivegroup.co.uk or tel: 01202 682322.

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