Tips for Edible Trade Show Giveaways

candy

Finding the perfect trade show giveaway items are tough. You want them to be unique, memorable, properly branded and you want them at an affordable cost. Have you ever considered edible as a trait you’d like your giveaways to be?

We don’t mean giving away food, but actually edible giveaway items.

Some companies have tied to make their advertisements edible.

Volkswagen ran a magazine ad they said you could eat. It was made of glutinous rice flour, water, salt, propylene glycol, FD&C color and glycerine.  JetBlue used an edible paper ad by trying to make a paper page that tastes like a potato chip to help promote their all you can eat snacks on flights.

Those don’t sound extremely appetizing but the Videri Chocolate Factory used chocolate posters which seems like a much better idea because sticks to their brand pretty well and that’s an important point.

Edible trade show giveaways can be a good idea but, you probably want to steer clear of paper ads like the previous two that aren’t really edible. If you’re going to do a trade show food giveaway, might sure it’s truly edible and is going to taste good. Giving away something like flavored paper will leave a bad taste in attendee’s mouth about your company, literally and figuratively.

Don’t turn business cards into something edible and beware of custom branded wrapped food. Plastic water bottles or wrapped candy or snacks with your company’s logo all over it can be pretty interesting, but remember that those eventually get thrown away and the shelf life of their impact may be short.

Putting your logo on M&Ms or Skittles might be a little smarter, but so is giving them away in a tin or reusable container that has your logo on it.

There are some interesting ways you can go with personalized edible items as giveaways. For a hardware or home improvement company exciting at a trade show, there’s a company that makes molded chocolate in the shape of tools.

It’s important to follow some general key practices with edible trade show giveaways.

  1. Stay on Brand: Like the molded chocolate in the shape of tools, if you go this route, make sure it fits in with your company and industry or who you are trying to sell your product to.
  2. Food Allergies: Be mindful of edible’s that might contain products that people with food allergies might be sensitive too, therefore limiting potential interested attendees.
  3. Know Your Audience: This goes with staying on brand, but keep in mind the kind of attendees at a show you’re looking to attract to your booth and consider foods or items that will likely appeal to them.
  4. Make it Travel Friendly: Attendees are likely on the go and in a hurry at trade shows, so anything you give away that’s food related should be able to consume on the run.

Food as a Trade Show Promo Item: Do’s and Don’ts

donuts

There is a never ending list of trade show promotional giveaway items. Some are better than others and not every type of promotional giveaway item is going to fit in with your brand, budget or trade show. Trade show food can be a sticky subject as a table giveaway item. So, which ones are OK to giveaway and which ones aren’t?

First tip – don’t giveaway sticky food items.

Do

Something in a wrapper: Whatever food giveaway you might up to try, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s something in a sealed wrapper. It’s more hygienic and gives attendees the option of putting it in their bag for future consumption.  Also, giving away food items with a wrapper that lists nutritional ingredients is considerate to attendees with food allergies.

lindors

Don’t

Open-air food: You might think that having a box of donuts, tray of cookies or baked goods at your table will get some ooh’s and ah’s and interest from attendees. It might, especially in the morning and maybe from the media even. It’s tempting in theory but open air food can be a little unsanitary. People are picking away at different selections without gloves and hairnets. Maybe most people won’t care because they want to partake in free baked goods but be aware of potential health risks both sanitary and nutrition.

Do

Power bars: It goes along with the wrapped food theme but power bars make a lot of sense because attendees can eat them on the go, they’re not messy and generally good for anyone who is health conscious. If you’re going to use food as a promotional tool, give potential leads something that can give them a boost. They might remember you for it.

Don’t

Alcohol: No, it’s not a food but there are some exhibitors at shows who will set out drinks like champagne at their table. There are plenty of expos and shows that have after-show mixers and events that provide a drink ticket for attendees. Let the show take care of that. It seems kind of edgy but it’s also risky and could be expensive. Avoid the liability and utilize your promo budget elsewhere.

Do

Container food items: Mint containers, candy jars, popcorn tubs are all cool, reusable items. They can be stuffed with food or mints/gum and attendees might be able to make use of them after the show. It’s a good opportunity for you to giveaway branded items that actually might have some substantial, post-show value.

Don’t

Nothing homemade:  Bringing homemade food as a trade show promotional item is a not a good practice. Some think this is a unique way to connect with customers or be a conversation starter and they’re saving some money, but in reality it’s not a great practice. Trade shows aren’t the place to show off your culinary skills unless you’re in the business of food.

Do…or don’t

popcorn

Branded candy/packaged food: Giving away M&Ms or other candy that you can either customize the item or the packaging that it comes in seems like a good idea. It’s certainly a unique, easy to manage branding opportunity. However, consider that these wrappers will be thrown away and the food will either be eaten or in the garbage with the wrapper – along with your branding opportunity

6 Ways to ‘Spring Clean’ Your Signage

Spring clean

It’s never too early to think spring and try to warm yourself up. Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning of your marketing signage to get ready for the new sales season! Here are six ways to do some signage spring cleaning.

  1. Update your logo: Spring is a great time to clean things up, so why not make some changes to your logo? It gives your business a fresh look, it’s a reason to talk about the changes your making and announce them to your customers to start a conversation. A good, new look is always something to talk about and share.
  2. Evaluate outdoor signage: At some point, good weather will be coming. That means you’ll want to start using signage to advertise outdoors again. Check your current inventory of outdoor signage to see if you need to replace the signs or any hardware to make sure it’s ready to use. Make sure the signage on your outdoor displays is as vibrant and clear as always. You should also check to see if your outdoor signage that you used last year for spring still has current information on it and still matches your marketing message and goals for this year.
  3. Infuse new, bright colors into your signage: One of the best parts of spring is the colors in nature re-emerging. It brings people out of the grey, dreary doldrums of winter. A little more natural color and sunlight improves people’s moods and using them in your signage can help boost the mood of potential customers that see your signage. A customer in a bubblier mood is more likely to buy from you, so vibrant, bright colors are an easy and affordable way to help your chances.
  4. Do your own spring cleaning: Don’t give up on your old inventory just yet. You want to make room for strong performing spring items or apparel. Get ahead of the curve on spring cleaning and use signage to promote your winter or older inventory you are trying to clear out.
  5. Pick a theme: Come up with a clever theme that makes sense for your business use it throughout the entire season. Use new advertising signage to promote the themed campaign throughout your business.
  6. Renewal: Spring is the season of renewal. Renew your commitment and relationship with your customers. Update your signage to promote rewards programs and other customer benefits and give them reasons to be part of your rewards program.

7 Reasons to Buy Trade Show Packages

trade-show-floor

Buying trade show displays in bulk, like almost anything, can help you save money. While saving money is never a bad thing, you also want to make sure there are plenty of benefits to what you’re buying and not just saving money and taking a lesser return. So, in honor of the New Year, here are 7 reasons to invest in a new trade show package in 2017.

#1 – Takes out guesswork: When you buy trade shows as a package, it keeps you from having to do too much searching around to find out pieces to fit your booth, layout and finding what looks best with what.  Your core displays and layout is determined for you and all you need to worry about now are graphics for them and deciding if you need anything to accent your core displays. This really frees you up to focus on other important aspects of your exhibit.

#2 – Cost effective: Why not mention possibly the key reason. This pertains to buying in bulk. While you’re likely only getting one of each item, by buying packaged together, you save money on each individual item because you would probably spend more on each piece alone than as part of a set package. Keeping your display costs down really helps your trade show budget and gives you a better chance at a positive ROI for your trade show!

#3 – New marketing message: If things have changed with your company’s information, particularly your marketing message, you’ll need to have all of your trade show displays re-printed with this new information. Getting new printed graphics for all of these display materials can be a hassle. But when you buy a new package, you can guarantee replacing the message on each essential display.

#4 – You are at more shows than one exhibit can handle: If you’re a company that exhibits at a lot of trade shows and have just one display, it’s possible you could run into logistics issues or are going to run into inevitable wear-and-tear of your current display. Buying in a package saves you money and gives you an insurance “backup” display for when you might need to have two displays out at shows at once or the other one is in need of repairs. Then you have a whole display package ready to go at your disposal.

#5 – Need for a more portable setup: Nothing will save you more time and energy at trade shows than an easy to set up booth. If you’re off to another show or conference after one ends, having one that is easy to pack-up and transport is very important. Trade show packages come with individual pieces and carrying cases that are very user friendly.

#6 – Bigger/smaller booth: Maybe changes in your budget or approach have you renting a smaller or bigger booth space. You’ll either need to condense or add pieces to your booth. Trade show packages already measured and set for traditional sized trade show booths.

#7 – One stop, hassle free printing option: Buying trade show display materials as a package makes the printing and production of them much less of a hassle for you to track and get the right artwork and graphics to. By working with one company on an entire package, there’s less to keep up with and less chance of miscommunication or errors.

Trade Show New Year’s Resolutions

2017-goals

While you’re setting your budget, ordering new displays and booking trade show spots, don’t forget trying new things at trade shows can also be prosperous. When you get ready to make those trade show plans for 2017, here are some New Year’s Resolutions to make when exhibiting that will hopefully help your ROI.

Produce more social content: Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram Videos are easy to use and leverage. Creating social content as a trade show exhibitor is great for your brand and being able to share some parts of your exhibit, product launch, speech or other great things you have planned with followers/customers unable to attend shows. It also encourages brand engagement. With social video, you basically get a free chance to double down on your appearance and potentially double your reach.

Invest in staffing/training: One of the most controllable ways to directly affect the outcome of your trade show exhibiting success is to invest in more/better staffing and training your staff. If you haven’t already, you should also review your staffing practices and how efficient they are. A great New Year’s resolution is to invest in your staff and always improve their training as it has a huge effect on your trade show ROI.

Evaluate exhibiting schedule: While you’re reviewing staffing practices, you should also evaluate your exhibit schedule. Just because you’ve exhibited at a trade show multiple times doesn’t mean it’s always worth your time and money each year. The New Year is always a good time to review if your exhibiting schedule is as optimal as it could be.

Take more time on design: This is absolutely one thing you should resolve to do in 2017. The last thing you should ever do is rush the design of your trade show display graphics. Luckily, there are companies out there that offer quick turnarounds like 48 hours (sorry, we couldn’t resist), but resolve to give yourself more time on design in 2017. You’d be surprised with the results and potential improvement you will get at a trade show because you took the extra time.

Setup a Wi-Fi or charging station: People walk around all day on trade show floors taking pictures and interacting on social media for various events or reasons. Some venues offer free Wi-Fi, though it might not be of good quality. Some won’t offer any. Setting up charging stations and free Wi-Fi at your booth is a good attention grabber. Sure, people may not be coming to your booth solely to check out your company, but they’re there. That’s half the battle. (PS, if you’re looking to gain some press from being at a trade show, this is a pretty solid way to appeal to journalists.)

Gamify your exhibit: Resolve to try something new in your exhibiting approach. Trying to add a game to your exhibit to draw attention or to tie in with your brand can add some excitement and attract new potential visitors/customers. Take a risk where you can afford to take a risk and see if these resolutions can help improve your exhibiting success.

8 Creative Ideas to Boost Holiday Sales

christmas-storefront

During the holiday season, every retailer, store or any business is looking for a piece of the sales pie. Obviously the larger companies have a bigger marketing budget and some additional resources available to them to put themselves in front of potential consumers this time of year. But the holidays are a great time for creative ideas to help sales at your small business. These eight simple ideas can help improve sales during the holiday season, make you customers shopping experience a better one and ultimately lead to more long term customers.

  1. Gift Wrapping: Some places will offer this for free, or for tip or with proceeds going to a charity. But either way, this is a good perk to have during the holiday season and it’s easy to advertise. All you need is a window advertisement and social media posts that your store will be wrapping gifts. Holiday shopping can be such a hassle, so if people are buying items on their shopping list and can get them wrapped in one stop, you take stress off of them and that’s a good memory for a customer to have at your business.
  2. Buy a Gift, Get a Gift: Incentivize shopping with your business. Give a gift back to customers who buy a certain amount. It can be simple things or you could make the gifts better the more they spend. Giving gift cards for buying from your business to is also a good way to create a future sale.
  3. Coupon Receipts: In addition to giving gifts back for those buying them, print coupons on the back of your receipts for customers. This could even give you a chance to give them a coupon to use at your store in the future or you could team up with other local businesses and print coupons for other businesses on the back of your receipts and have them return the favor. Shoppers then have incentive to visit businesses.
  4. Use Social Media Discounts: A two fold way to increase sales and interest is putting out codes for discounts or other special offers on social media. Advertise that customers need to check your specific channels for codes. It’s a good way to gain some social media buzz and sales. If you have the resources, you could even “lock” your social media channels and only give the codes out to those who “follow” the accounts.
  5. Set Up a Kiosk: If you are able, set up a kiosk away from your store’s location. Whether you are in a mall or can find a place to set up a secondary location for your business, the increased visibility can help lead to more sales as well. Put yourself in front of foot traffic rather than have potential customers seek you out.
  6. Utilize Rewards Program: If you already have a rewards program, promote it and incentivize it during the holidays by offering more points or perks for spending more. Hallmark’s program that gives points for each purchase is a great example. Incentivize signing up for it during the holidays. Give customers something when they sign up and something they can use for after the holidays so you stand a better chance to bring them back sooner.
  7. Extend Your Target Customer Base: You should always have some sort of perk going for repeat customers but you might have infrequent shoppers, very early shoppers or last minute shoppers. Give each one of them a reason to shop with you no matter what time of year it is.
  8. Exhibit at a Holiday Show: Find a local holiday event going on at a mall, exhibition hall or community center. It shouldn’t be too hard to find these events and you can probably get away with a smaller booth setup than a larger industry specific show. If you’re looking to gain a bigger share of holiday sales, putting your business in front of people at some sort of holiday show helps you push your holiday specific sales.

How Effective Are Your POP Displays?

sale

Point-of-purchase, or POP displays are a popular go-to marketing setup for all kinds of retail stores. They’re utilized for a variety of different reasons and when they are well planned and executed they can be a huge boost for businesses. So that begs the question: What makes a good POP display?

Target audience: Generally, point-of-purchase displays have a target demographic in mind. So whatever audience you are trying to tap into, the display should be created with their buying thought process and interests in mind. Eye level, wording on signs and colors all should be geared specifically with the demographic your POP display is supposed to appeal to.

Bold graphics: You want to stop traffic at your POP display? Bold graphics is probably the best way to do that. A lot of shopper’s attention is all over the place, they might be on their phone or listening to music while walking around. Bold graphics gives you a good chance to grab their attention. A lot of POP displays are centered on high margin items that make a big difference in a company’s bottom line, so you want these items to be seen and sold. Whatever graphics you choose to go with on your POP display, let someone who has designed them before do it or use a professional.

Height matters: Your target audience has a standard height. The height of your POP display and the words/graphics in relation to your target demographics line of sight is a big key to the display’s success. It’s a simple concept many grocery stores and other retailers use with examples like sugary cereals and snacks being placed where children are more likely to see it so they can get their parents to take notice. High margin foods or items to fast expiration dates are also in direct sight lines because stores want them sold. Consider what the average height of your target demographic and make sure the key points of your POP display are going to be extremely visible to them.

Endcaps and power aisles are your also good bets: Point-of-purchase displays are often thought of as near the cash register or checkout areas. But they can be expanded into areas like end caps and main aisles. They don’t have to be large displays, just effectively promoted ones in ares that receive a high volume of foot traffic. You can even use data for this if you’re a retail store. You generally know where the most traffic is in your stores. Putting a high quality POP display in those areas gives them the visibility you desire.

Invest in POP displays wisely: POP retail displays are put together to sell product and make money. Like any marketing display, you weigh the cost against sales projects and your probable ROI. Buying cheap or low quality displays aren’t likely to improve your bottom line and ROI when creating point-of-purchase displays. This doesn’t mean you have to order expensive point of purchase displays but if you want maximum effectiveness, great graphics look better and attract more attention on good quality displays. Signage is easy and affordable enough to order and replace for when your sales and message change. It’s much easier than replacing hardware for a POP display.

Call to action: POP display items are usually impulse buys for most consumers. It’s not something they came to a store intending to buy. Strong calls to action with the right colors and message can make the difference in the success of your POP display.

 

The Psychology of Successful Trade Show Booths

colors

Are you a trade show exhibitor looking for a high-impact, low-cost way to improve your success at trade shows? Trade show booth psychology, specifically colors and booth setup are completely controllable assets that can significantly impact your trade show success, positively or negatively. It often gets overlooked and it doesn’t have to cost you extra money.

Layout: One of the easiest things any exhibitor can control. If you’ve ever watched any of the home remodeling or flipping shows that are wildly popular, the one phrase you constantly hear the interior designers repeat is “open concept.” Why? The “open concept” is inviting and gives people a reason to come in and have space to walk around and feel comfortable. That’s what you should want attendees thinking when they come to your booth. They feel welcome to come check it out and look around at what you have to offer.

Ditch the table: What better way to create an open or welcome environment at your booth than having no barriers to entry. You or your staff standing behind a table talking to an attendee puts a physical and implied barrier. If you want to come off as a company that’s accessible and customer service friendly, ditch the barrier. Even if this seems a little progressive, try it at one or two shows if you can and measure if there is any difference.

Carpet or flooring color: Believe it or not, the wrong color flooring around your booth could cause people to stay away. Harsh, negative color associations can put up a psychological barrier to your booth as well. Easy to look at, soft and inviting colors will do wonders.

Light it up: When designing trade show exhibits, don’t forget lighting accessories. This is an easy, yet overlooked idea when thinking about trade show booth psychology. Well-lit displays get noticed and are easier to read. Plus they show off the awesome graphic design work!

Send people other than sales reps: This might not directly apply to typical trade show booth psychology, but sales reps for your company usually have a different mindset. Customer service reps should know the products and service tier levels as well as your sales reps and might even be more in tune with what customers want from them. Customer service reps hear the compliments and complaints about each individual piece of your company so they can sell the positives and ease the pain points.

Graphics: As a rule of thumb your trade show exhibit design should have roughly 40% empty space. Trade show attendees see hundreds if not more booths each day at shows. Overwhelming them with too much text or too many images is not a good idea.

Font: You think your unique font will make your trade show booth stand out from others. It might, but not the way you think. Stick with simple font designs. People might be talking about your booth as they walk away but it will be in phrases like “That was hard to read.”

Consider color psychology: This is a bit trickier because when it comes to colors, you want to stay on brand as much as possible. Working in certain colors where possible can be effective.

  • Blue evokes trust (think Twitter’s verification checkmark)
  • Colors can have an industry association (white/blue make people think winter – perfect if you’re selling winter coats/apparel)
  • Yellow is a mood elevator – it can have a positive effect, just don’t overuse it
  • Black is seen as a powerful color – it’s also very easy to accent
  • Many restaurants use red and yellow to evoke excitement – just like the winter example, food industry exhibitors can tap into this color for success

8 Tips to Drive Back to School Sales

school supplies

One of the biggest shopping periods outside of the holidays is almost upon us – back to school shopping. From parents with kids just starting kindergarten to college students getting ready for their last semester, people will be tracking down back to school supplies and looking to save money while doing so. Here are 8 ways any business can help sales during this busy shopping season.

  1. Build versatile clothing displays – Back-to-school clothes tastes and needs might vary from region-to-region and different age groups. The weather from late summer to early fall can change fast, so having different displays of clothing for the warmer days of fall and the colder ones. Hoodies and other lounge wear are popular for college kids, so don’t overlook a full display for those.
  2. 2. Offer incentives – The list of items kids need for school grows each year and the price climbs. Technology is becoming a necessity for kids of all ages for learning and parents or students shopping for colleges already have tons of debt coming as well, so offering deals, discounts or other rewards like incentives to shop with you could pay off.
  3. Don’t stop sales when school starts – Students need supplies all year long. Different projects pop up throughout the year and things they buy get used and they need new supplies. Don’t forget winter clothes as well. Students and parents will be getting things for school all year long.
  4. Update signage/graphics – A new sales season is a great time for new sales signs, especially point-of-purchase areas for smaller items like headphones, gift cards, calculators, pencils, socks, etc. Update your graphics and message to push your back to school sales campaigns.
  5. Hit the ecommerce market – From 2011 to 2015, back-to-school season retail ecommerce sales rose from $31.03 million to $50.17 million. Make sure your website is user friendly, up to date and start finding ways to push customers to it for the convenience factor and the sales.
  6. Leverage social media – One way to help push people to your website is to use social media. Most back to school shoppers are on some platform. College kids are all over social media (Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter) and it’s a great visual way to promote your products.
  7. Think outside the box – Find ways to promote products that you might not think are back to school essentials. Sure, everyone needs pencils and notebooks. But think of classroom (or dorm) cleaning products, other hygiene items and of course lunchbox foods. They’re all necessities but people don’t generally associate them with “back to school shopping.” Making them a part of your sales campaign could boost sales in those items.

Trade Show Dress Code Tips

Trade shows in a lot of ways are like job interviews. You’re looking to impress hopeful future clients and customers. You wouldn’t dress down or in questionable clothing at a job interview. A great way to lose out on closing a sale or gaining a lead is by looking unprofessional and giving off the wrong impression based on how you’re dressed.

Set a Dress Code
The lead sales or booth worker can set this or it can come directly from the company. Everyone should be dressing in the same attire for the occasion in either business casual, business professional, or company branded clothing.

What to Consider When Packing Your Suitcase
You should pack for specific parts of your trip as you won’t be at the trade show the entire time.

Travel: Something professional in case other people on your flight or trip are headed to the same show. Arriving looking like you are there to do business doesn’t hurt.

Show time: Pack clothes to follow the set dress code; company branded polos or button down shirts, dress clothes. Pack extra just in case. Anything can happen when you work a long shift at a trade show booth.

Leisure/networking time: For dinners, mixers or off the floor activities, you still want to appear professional but relaxed. Depending on the activity, your attire might vary but have something comfortable and casual yet professional.

Dress Code Etiquette to Consider

  • Shoes – Clean, shined shoes are a must, but avoid new shoes. New shoes (especially high heels for women) can be very uncomfortable if you haven’t worn them for hours at a time already.
  • Match – Mainly, make sure your belt matches your shoes and your colors match.
  • Accessories – Be conscious of how many accessories you’re wearing like earrings and other jewelry. Most companies have a policy for piercings and jewelry. Making a connection or trying to close a sale might be a lot more difficult with distracting piercings and jewelry.
  • Cologne/Perfume – Go easy on the cologne/perfume. This should be self explaintory.
  • Pockets – Yes, you want them. You’re not going to be wearing cargo pants, but you’ll need pockets to hold business cards, brochures and pens among other things.
  • Pack cleaning accessories – Tide bleach sticks and other items that can quickly clean clothes up in case of spills over lunch, etc.

Final Dress Code Tips to Consider

  • Hands – No, it’s not clothing related, but you’re likely going to be shaking hands with many potential (hopeful) customers. Make sure your nails are trimmed, clean and you have plenty of hand sanitizer available at your booth.
  • Fit in – While it’s true you can never be overdressed and you want to stand out from the crowd, if you and your booth staff are in suits and business attire and everyone else is in polos or other casual gear, you might stick out like a sore thumb. It’s always good to gauge the style of the show and your peers if you can before being under or overdressed.