The Trade Show Guy Blog

Tips & Tricks to Maximize Your Trade Show ROI

Posted by Chad@thetradeshowguy.com on September 2, 2016

Trade Show Experience in 3 Acts

How to Tell a Story With Your Trade Show Exhibit

You won’t win a Tony Award, but you’ll get more clients!

One of the keys to generating business at a trade show is to create a positive experience for your booth guests. An easy way to do this is to think of your exhibit as an interactive story in three parts.

Trade Show in Three Steps

The three-act structure has, arguably, been around since the time of Aristotle and is still implemented today. Why? Because it works.

Stories, movies, TV shows, jokes and live presentations can generally be broken down into three parts. For movies, and TV it’s the beginning, the middle, and the end. For plays, its Act I, Act II, and Act III. For jokes, it’s the topic, the angle, and the punchline.

 

For some “magical” reason, things seem to happen in threes. Need more examples? No problem.

 

How about 3 Stooges, 3 Blind Mice, 3 Little Pigs, a 3 Minute Egg, 3 Feet in a Yard, the 3 Ring Circus, 3 Wise Men, 3 Strikes and You’re Out, The 3 Musketeers, 3 Card Monte, 3 Laws of Motion, etc.
Feel free to add your own in the comments.

 

Granted, a trade show is a different beast, but if you want your booth to tell a story, it should still encompass three phases. They are the three C’s.

  1. Create a crowd
  2. Convey the message
  3. Collect the leads.

The Three C’s are commonly utilized by professional by trade show infotainers, such as myself, and was conceived by Joel Bauer.

The Three C’s will allow you to have a simple outline of action when composing your trade show objectives. Let’s dive into each one and see how they can help improve your booth efficiency.

Trade Show Crowd

Create the Crowd

 

The trade show floor can be, and SHOULD BE if you’ve done your research, filled with a goldmine of potential prospects. The tricky part is getting as many of those potential clients to visit your booth in the first place.

 

In order to do this, you’ll need to have, not just an exhibit, but an exhibit ATTRACTION. Attendees need a reason to stop at your booth. With hundreds of possibilities and a limited amount of time, your best leads might simply walk on by. So give them a reason to stop.

 

Some exhibitors think that simple chachkies are enough. Giveaways are great, but they don’t STOP an aisle walker long enough. Many attendees run from booth to booth playing a game of grab-and-go.

 

You need to have something that will not only capture their attention but also HOLD it. This is where games, entertainment, and demonstrations come into play.

 

The Bigger the Crowd the Better
At this point in your three-act performance, don’t worry about attracting ONLY qualified leads to your booth. There’s no time for that. If you’re only focussed on drawing your idea clients, you’re going to end up missing the majority.

 

Think of it like this. Imagine 100,000 stones (representing the attendees) where 2000 of those stones are gold nuggets (representing your ideal prospects). It’s much more effective to sift through 200 stones at a time, rather than sorting through each stone one by one.

 

The more people that you can attract to your booth the better. The next of the three C’s is where we’ll sift through the crowd and begin to pre-qualify.

Convey the Company Message

Convey the Message

 

Now that you have a good size crowd gathered around your booth, it’s time to convey your company’s message. Your key product or service bullet points need to be shared with the group.

 

Ideally, the presentation will be mixed in throughout the entertainment. That way, the crowd will have a reason to stick around while being informed. You can pre-qualify your leads by working targeted questions into the presentation.

 

For example: Ask the crowd to raise their hand if they could benefit from X and Y products or services.

 

Your sales team should pay attention to those who raised their hands so they’ll know who to focus their attention on after the presentation.

Collect the Leads

 

At the end of the entertainment, game, or presentation, there needs to be a call to action. Tell the crowd exactly what you’d like them to do so that they don’t have to think about it. Don’t assume that they’ll automatically know your plan.

 

If you do have premiums or giveaways, tell them where to go, and who to talk to, in order to receive it. This is a great time to scan badges, ask further qualifying questions and make connections.

Collect Leads at trade show

By making sure you’ve incorporated all of The Three C’s into you exhibition, you should see a rise in your booth efficiency. By thinking of your exhibit in terms of a story, you make it easier for your audience to be incorporated into your entire booth marketing system.

 

I’d love to hear the different, and unique ways, of utilizing The Three C’s that you’ve found most effective in your own exhibiting endeavors.

Need to Boost Your Trade Show ROI?
Watch the Video Below to See How We Can Help


Trade show magician chad chesmark

About the Author: Chad Chesmark is “The Trade Show Guy.” He specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive, and entertaining, marketing presentations.
Chad can be reached at www.TheTradeShowGuy.com

Posted by Chad@thetradeshowguy.com on September 2, 2016

The Trade Show Attendee’s Mind: Let’s Have a Look Inside

A Look Inside the Trade Show Attendee’s Mind

Knowing what your audience wants will boost your show success

Trade shows are a hectic environment. They’re filled with thousands of people scavenging from booth to booth hoping to collect a giant bag full of giveaways. It’s like Trick-or-Treat for adults.

Hidden amongst those thousands of people are your target audience. Your goal is to sift through the masses in order to connect with the maximum number of qualified leads.

Before we can do that though, we need to understand what’s going through the minds of the trade show masses.

Attendees Are Selfish

This is not an attack on the character of trade show attendees. It’s simply human nature that affects all of us. People attending a trade show won’t care what your company has to offer until they’re shown how your company’s product or service can make their life easier.

It all comes back to WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me.” WIIFM is the ONLY thing that attendees care about. Knowing this fact of human nature can help you shape your trade show marketing strategy for maximum results.

What trade show attendees are thinking

Focus on the Benefits

I see far too many companies focusing on the features of their product or service. Attendees do not care about features. They only care about benefits.

If your trade show presentation includes features, they MUST be followed up with the benefits of that feature!

When planning each stage of your trade show action plan, more on that later, you must constantly be asking yourself, “What’s in it for my clients?” How can your potential clients benefit from what your company has to offer?

Be the Shiny Object

Trade shows have so much going on that it can lead to sensory overload for the attendees. You must find a way to stand out from sea of booths. You must be the shiny object.

We’ll delve more into the logistics of standing out later in the book, but for now, I want you to realize why it’s so important.

We need to give the attendees a reason to stop at your booth instead of at your competitor’s booth. If your booth looks just like every other exhibit on the floor, the attendees won’t have a reason to stop. You will have been lost in the crowd. That must be avoided at all costs.

Give Them What They Want

Let’s get back to WIIFM. One of your goals when attracting people to your booth should be to provide the attendees with a positive experience while avoiding negative experiences.

Let’s take a look at what a positive experience might include:

  • Getting something for free
  • Being entertained
  • Doing something fun
  • Trying something new
  • Seeing something amazing
  • Meeting interesting people
  • Did I mention getting something for free?

Now let’s take a look at what a negative experience might include:

  • Sitting through a boring presentation
  • Not being greeted with a smile
  • Being hard-sold to
  • Being ignored while visiting your booth
  • Being confused (Not understanding how your company can benefit them)

Happy Trade Show Attendees
Unhappy trade show attendees

We need to look at every aspect of our trade show strategy to make sure we’re touching as many positive experiences as possible while avoiding the negatives.

Trade show magician chad chesmark

About the Author

Chad Chesmark is “The Trade Show Guy.” He specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive and entertaining marketing presentations.

For 16 years, he was also a headlining magician for 5 major cruise lines, including Disney and Royal Caribbean. He combines his speaking & entertainment skills masterfully with a company’s product or message on the trade show floor.

Chad is based in Houston, Texas but performs internationally. He can be reached at: Chad@TheTradeShowGuy.com

If you’d like more information on the topic of trade show success, please check out my free eBook, from which this excerpt was taken, “The Ultimate Trade Show Success Guide.”

Simply enter your name and email below. Your email will NEVER be shared, and we’ll only write when we have beneficial information.

Posted by Chad@thetradeshowguy.com on September 2, 2016

How to Tell a Story With Your Trade Show Exhibit

How to Tell a Story With Your Trade Show Exhibit

Keep it simple with the three act structure

trade show storytelling marketing

One of the keys to generating business at a trade show is to create a positive experience for your booth guests. An easy way to do this is to think of your exhibit as a story in three acts or three parts.

 

The three-act structure has, arguably, been around since the time of Aristotle and is still implemented today. Why? Because it works.

 

Stories, movies, TV shows, jokes and live presentations can generally be broken down into three parts. For movies and TV, it’s the beginning, the middle, and the end. For plays, its Act I, Act II, and Act III. For jokes, it’s the topic, the angle, and the punchline.

 

For some “magical” reason, things seem to happen in threes. Need more examples? No problem. How about:

 

3 Stooges, 3 Blind Mice, 3 Little Pigs, 3 Minute Egg, 3 Feet in a yard, 3 Ring Circus, 3 Wise Men, 3 Strikes You’re Out, 3 Musketeers, 3 Laws of Motion, etc. Can you think of any that I missed? Feel free to list in the comments.

 

Granted, a trade show is a different beast, but if you want your booth to tell a story, it should still encompass three phases. They are the three C’s.

 

Create a crowd, Convey the message, and Collect the leads.
The Three C’s are commonly utilized by trade show infotainers, such as myself, and was conceived by trade show marketing legend Joel Bauer.

 

The Three C’s will allow you to have a simple outline of action when composing your trade show objectives. Let’s dive into each one and see how they can help improve your booth efficiency.

Create the Crowd

 

The trade show floor can be, and SHOULD BE if you’ve done your research, filled with a goldmine of potential prospects. The tricky part is getting as many of those potential clients to visit your booth in the first place.

 

In order to do this, you’ll need to have, not just an exhibit, but an exhibit ATTRACTION. Attendees need a reason to stop by your booth. With hundreds of possibilities and a limited amount of time, your best leads might simply walk on by. So give them a reason to stop.

 

Some exhibitors think that simple chachkies are enough. Giveaways are great, but they don’t STOP an aisle walker long enough to hear your message. Many attendees run from booth to booth playing a game of grab-and-go.

 

Trade show presenter creating a crowd

You need to have something that will not only capture their attention but also HOLD it. This is where games, entertainment, and demonstrations come into play.

 

The Bigger the Crowd the Better
 at this point in your three-act performance, don’t worry about attracting ONLY qualified leads to your booth. There’s no time for that. If you’re only focussed on drawing your ideal clients, you’re going to end up falling short.

 

Think of it like this. Imagine 100,000 stones (representing the attendees) where 2,000 of those stones are gold nuggets (representing your ideal prospects). It’s much more effective to sift through 1,000 stones at a time, rather than sorting through each stone one by one.

 

The more people that you can attract to your booth the better. The next of the three C’s is where we’ll sift through the crowd and begin to pre-qualify them.

Convey the Message

 

Now that you have a good sized crowd gathered around your booth, it’s time to convey your company’s message. Your key product or service bullet points need to be shared with the group.

 

Ideally, the presentation will be mixed in throughout some form of entertainment. That way, the crowd will have a reason to stick around while being informed.

 

You can pre-qualify your leads by working targeted questions into the presentation. For example: Ask the crowd to raise their hand if they could benefit from X and Y products or services.

 

Your sales team should pay attention to those who raised their hands so they’ll know where to focus their attention following the presentation.

Sign on microphone saying Convey the Message

Collect the Leads

 

At the end of the entertainment, game, or presentation, there MUST be a call to action! Tell the crowd exactly what you’d like them to do so that they don’t have to think about it. Don’t assume that they’ll automatically know your plan.

 

If you do have premiums or giveaways, tell them where to go, and who to talk to, in order to receive it. This is a great time to scan badges, ask further qualifying questions, make connections, and turn them into customers.

Collect Leads at trade show

By making sure you’ve incorporated all of The Three C’s into you exhibition, you should see a rise in your booth efficiency. By thinking of your exhibit in terms of a story, you make it easier for your audience to experience your entire booth marketing system.

I’d love to hear the different, and unique ways, of utilizing The Three C’s that you’ve found most effective in your own exhibiting endeavors in the comments.

Need to Boost Your Trade Show ROI?
Watch the Video Below to See How We Can Help


Trade Show Infotainer Chad Chesmark

About the Author

Chad Chesmark aka “The Trade Show Guy” specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive and entertaining marketing presentations.

Chad is based in Houston, Texas but performs internationally. He can be reached at: Chad@TheTradeShowGuy.com

Posted by Chad@thetradeshowguy.com on September 2, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Trade Show Giveaways

A Few Thoughts On Trade Show Giveaways

How to turn an expense into an investment

Man thinking about trade show giveaways

Giveaways, premiums or freebies, are a huge part of the trade show scene. In fact, some attendees seem to only attend shows for this reason. So how can we utilize giveaways as a beneficial tool that will increase the effectiveness of our exhibit?

We’re going to go over a few giveaway ideas and how you can use them to your advantage. If they’re not helping you achieve your trade show goals, then they’re simply a wasted expense. Let’s turn them into a powerful ROI, shall we?

Freebies aren’t really free, or at least they shouldn’t be. You’d be surprised at how much people will do to win a simple prize. I’ve performed magic shows on cruise ships for 16 plus years and have seen people, week after week, do extraordinarily embarrassing things just to win a 5 cent key chain. People just want FREE stuff. It’s human nature.

What to Give?

What you give isn’t quite as important as how you give it, but let’s look at some examples. The main idea for trade show premiums is to give something that they’ll actually want to have, and that they’ll actually use.

Whatever you choose to hand out, make sure to put your logo and contact information on it. Also, it’s helpful to choose an item that other people will see as well. A perfect example of this is a t-shirt. Pens, on the other hand, usually get shoved in one’s pocket where it’s hidden from the world.

You’ll want to try and tie your item into what your company is about. Unless you’re a popular name-brand company, simply putting your logo on the front of a shirt isn’t enough. Be sure to also include your company tagline on the shirt. That way, when people see it, they’ll know exactly how your company might benefit them.

If you do happen to give away t-shirts, you might want to turn it into a game where they can win a prize. Tell them that one of your staff will be wandering the trade show floor throughout the day and that they’ll randomly give prizes away to people wearing the company shirt.

If you want to take this a step further, you might consider printing your booth number on the back of the shirt to attract more traffic to the booth.

Involve All 5 Senses…If You Can

While most of what goes on a trade show are audial and visual, there are ways to involve the other senses. For touch, you could have a unique feeling product or perhaps a massage station.

For scent, you might consider having a popcorn stand or nut roasting station. What else can you think of that would create a pleasant aroma that would attract people in your direction?

Our sense of smell is the best at triggering a memory. How nice it would be if every time someone smelled roses they thought of your widget? I’m not suggesting roses, but you get the point.

Taste is easy. Food

When considering your giveaways, you might want to focus on things that people actually need. People want t-shirts, but they need things like coffee, water, and food.

5 senses at a trade show

If you’d like to include a sixth sense, you could always hire me to work at your booth since I’m a magician & mentalist. Yes, I know; Cheesy self-promotion, but it’s true. 🙂

Giveaways Are NOT Free

Stay in the mindset that your giveaways are not just freebies. They are a tool that you are using to generate more traffic and convert them into leads. You are not a charity store for the attendees.

An easy way to use giveaways as a productive tool is to not give them out until people listen to your product demonstration. They could also receive a gift for watching a short video, signing up for a newsletter or for simply scanning their badges.

When NOT to Use Giveaways

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you do not want to use giveaways at horizontal trade show. Horizontal trade shows are filled with attendees who will have no interest, or means, of becoming a client.

Giving away expensive t-shirts, for example, at a horizontal trade show, is no different from standing on a street corner and handing them out. If you do wish do use giveaways at a horizontal show, make sure to qualify the lead before handing them out.

Save your giveaways for vertical trade shows where your chances of interacting with a potential client are much greater. This is where you’re competing with the other exhibitors for attention and you need to stand out the most.

Whatever you and your marketing team decide to use as giveaways, put some thought into it. Make sure it makes sense and works to your advantage.

Need to Boost Your Trade Show ROI?
Watch the Video Below to See How We Can Help


Trade Show Infotainer Chad Chesmark

About the Author

Chad Chesmark is “The Trade Show Guy.” He specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive and entertaining marketing presentations.

Chad is based in Houston, Texas but performs internationally. He can be reached at: Chad@TheTradeShowGuy.com

Posted by Chad@thetradeshowguy.com on August 9, 2016

How to Get Massive Crowds at Your Next Trade Show Exhibit

How to Get Massive Crowds at Your Next Trade Show Exhibit

The Key is to Turn Your Booth Into an Action-Based, Branded Experience

Static trade show booths are boring. How many times have you strolled the floor at OTC or NAPE and noticed empty booths who’s staffers were hypnotically gazing down at their iPhones?

With trade shows acting as your company’s largest marketing investment, a passive operation is a lousy choice.

Boring Trade Show Booth

Sure, handing out custom pencils, stress balls and drink huggies with your info is a nice gesture, but think about his: How many times have you chosen to do business with a company because of a stress ball?

Trade Show freebies might have your logo printed on them, but they do not convey your product information, company message, or brand. We need to shake things up a bit more than that.

We’ve all witnessed potential leads scurry from booth to booth in a quest to collect every possible giveaway at an exhibition, all without stopping to experience the company’s message.

So what can you do to stop them in their tracks, create a constant flow of leads, AND deliver your company’s message?

Here Are 5 Easy-to-Implement Ideas for Creating an Action-Based-Branded Trade Show Booth

1. Incorporate Social Media: If you choose to hand out freebies, make them work it. For example, giveaways are only given to those who watch your presentation, or to those who post, or hashtag, something about your company or booth on the spot. Everyone is carrying a smartphone and are generally happy to do it. This can turn one lead into a thousand.

2. Create a Plan of ACTION: Your trade show team needs to enter the convention with a direct, strategic plan. Know the results you want, and then aim higher. Create a written goal for the convention and get the entire team involved.

Passive trade show booths are a waste of your time and money. Each staffer should know the exact the message, key points and leads to target for the show.

Your team’s presentations must be pre-written, rehearsed and perfected. Skyline offers a free book titled, “Better Booth Staffing for Greater Trade Show Results” to help prepare your team. I highly recommend it.

Trade Show Team High Fiving

3. Create Sensual Memories: Incorporate your company’s perception, awareness, and branding into ways that reach all 5 senses.

Let them see, feel and hear your product or company message in action. If you want to include taste and smell, consider giving away branded treats at your booth. By creating a full sensual experience, your brand will be forged in their memories forever.

4. No Chairs for Staffers: Having chairs at your trade show booth encourages for your staff to sit. A booth with a seated staff is not inviting for attendees.

Chairs for attendees are another matter and can be useful. It provides a place for them to sit during your presentation, and can also become a social area at the showroom. The more people around your booth the better. A crowd always attracts a crowd.

5. Entertainment: Hire a professional entertainer who can combine your branding and company message with their skill into short presentations throughout the day. Magicians, Jugglers, Mind-Readers, Face Painters, etc. are expert communicators. Those specializing in trade shows, will seamlessly combine your message into visual ‘mini-shows’ that will attract crowds which convert to leads.

Trade-Show-Advisor writes, “According to research conducted by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. of Red Bank, New Jersey, Live demonstrations and entertainment are the most effective methods for attracting booth visitors in an exhibition hall. Moreover, magicians receive the highest ratings for product identification and recognition.”

Allow them to gather the crowd and then pass them onto your sales team.

Oil & Gas Trade Show Magician
The Author Building a Crowd at a Client’s Booth

Turning your trade show booth into an Action-Based Branding Experience is a vital step to ensure maximum ROI.

Create a plan, think big, and follow through! For more ideas, download “The Ultimate Trade Show Success Guide” HERE.

Need to Boost Your Trade Show ROI?
Watch the Video Below to See How We Can Help


Trade Show Infotainer Chad Chesmark

About the Author: Chad Chesmark is “The Trade Show Guy.” He specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive, and entertaining, marketing presentations.
Chad can be reached at www.TheTradeShowGuy.com