Monthly Archives: March 2015

Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Businessman posing with hands up and giant businessman against city on the horizonBeing your own boss is an exciting new venture for many professionals but it is not without its difficulties as well. Start-ups generally operate on a small budget in the early days of the company, which means limited funds for hiring a staff and creating effective marketing strategies. To ensure your small business turns into an enterprising company, we have compiled a few helpful tips for you. Take your small company and grow it into a successful business with the following advice:

  • Utilize Free Tools: When you are starting out as a new company, funds are usually incredibly tight. Creating an effective marketing campaign within a tight budget can be possible with the use of free tools that can help get your brand noticed online. Cody Jensen, author of “8 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses,” mentions tools like SocialSync that can update your social media page like Facebook and your website simultaneously. Not only will automation technology save you money in the long haul, it will also enable you to operate individually or with only a few other employees. Start-up companies often begin with just the founder before expanding so any tools that can help lighten your workload are important investments to the success of your business and advertising initiatives.Silhouettes Of Busy Business People In A Office Building
  • Network, Network, Network!: Meeting others within your field is important when trying to establish your small business as a credible company. Go to trade shows, events and other functions to learn more about news in your industry, as well as meet leaders in your field. Minda Zetlin, author of “5 Smart Ways to Take the Loneliness Out of Being a Solopreneur,” touts the importance of face-to-face interaction when dealing with professionals in your industry, as well as current and prospective customers. Showing up at conferences, business luncheons or volunteer opportunities puts you into contact with important individuals and provides the opportunity to meet your client base in-person, which can help you receive their business when they are ready to purchase goods or services that your company provides.
  • Create Brand Recognition: For a marketing strategy that truly showcases your small business as a trustworthy company, establishing brand credibility is a must. Your logo is an essential part of your identity so it is important to feature your professional logo on a variety of promotional materials. From the article “8 Places to Use Your Logo to Brand Your Small Business,” author Margot Carmichael Lester provides a list of items that should be emblazoned with your logo that includes apparel, business cards, business forms, mugs/water bottles, signage, stationary, giveaways and tote bags. In terms of non-printed branding opportunities, Lester notes that social media profiles and presentation slides can serve to feature your logo as well.
  • Giveaways: Customized giveaways are a great way to entice potential customers to give their business to you, as well as keep your brand in their mind for future orders. Printed travel mugs, keychains and promotional pens are easy freebies to give to your audience at a trade show, conference or within your store. You can also offer incentives like discounts and special promotions, which can be marketed directly on your company’s website or Facebook page, to first-time customers.
  • Generate Comprehensive Marketing Calendar: Staying organized with all of your marketing efforts, especially when staff and funds are limited, is important when creating a consistent voice for your business. Generate a marketing calendar that includes all of your advertising mediums like events, blogs, social media campaigns, websites and email blasts for each month. This will help you stay on top of your marketing strategies when your company is first starting out, as well as along the way as your brand picks up steam and formulates a customer base!

Piggy_save_istockTo help your small business effectively market your brand without exceeding your budget, invest in high-quality and affordable banner stands, pop up banners, table throws and more from TRT Banners!

Tips for Exhibiting at an International Trade Show

search for last minute deals in station trainPlanning to exhibit at an international trade show can be a daunting task. Additional issues with shipping your booth, booking accommodations and overcoming language barriers can make international expos a tricky marketing venture. We have compiled a few tips that will help you through the hectic months before your show, as well as the time that you are out of the country at your convention, to ensure you have a successful trade show experience overseas. Check out our advice below:

  1. Create a Timeline: Timing is important when planning to exhibit at a trade show, especially one that is held internationally when additional obstacles to hurdle may impede stress-free pre-show planning. Create a tentative timeline of expo planning that includes extra days and weeks than a domestic show to foresee any hold-ups that may occur in the process, which can include time zone differences, delayed responses, miscommunications and other bumps in the road. Many countries outside of the U.S. also have weeks, or even months, off for holidays and other customs so leaving extra time before the show is key to a successful international exhibit. Generating a timeline also helps you and your staff stay organized in the chaotic months before the convention and can serve to keep you on track!White and cardboard earth surrounded by big cardboard boxes
  2. Bring, Build or Rent Booth: Planning your exhibit booth when attending an international expo can be difficult. Will you ship your own display booth, build a new one on-site or simply rent a booth in the foreign country? If you plan to ship the booth you have been using for local and domestic shows, it is important to ship up to two months early to ensure you have extra time for any hold-ups that may happen in international shipping and customs. If you are proceeding with an international booth designer and supplier, they often give all-inclusive pricing but it is best to verify that with your specific supplier. Most international booths have raised flooring or may have drop-down electrical hookups so make sure to educate yourself about what is popular in that foreign country before deciding on signage. Research rules and restrictions by your freight provider. You can find international information for FedEx and UPS by following these links: http://www.fedex.com/us/service-guide/our-services/create-labels/index.html and http://www.global.ups.com/?WBPM_lid=/homepage/ct1.html_mod_qlk.Passport_istock
  3. Cement Accommodations and Plans Early: Rent your booth space up to a year in advance to ensure you receive a high-traffic spot on the trade show floor. Book your hotel and travel accommodations as soon as possible as well for the best rates, which are usually discounted for early reservations. Since you and your staff will be traveling internationally, make sure all passports and Visas, if necessary, are up to date. It can take as long as ten weeks to process some passport requests so leave ample time to complete this required documentation.
  4. Know Your Conversions and Currency: Review the currency conversions and estimate the cost of currency fluctuation before traveling to your international trade show. You can also pre-pay for certain services at the convention center to bypass some issues with international currencies. Outside of the United States, booths are measured in square meters not feet. You may also need a power transformer and adaptors to plug in your promotional displays in a foreign outlet.
  5. Train Your Staff: As always, properly training your staff is an integral part of effective convention preparation. It is even more important in international expos where customs may be different. When thinking about the attire that you and your staff should wear for the event, conservative dress is best in international countries. Cover up any tattoos and take out any piercings that are not traditional ear piercings. It is important to respect the differences in culture when in another country so conservative clothes and appearance is necessary. Encourage your staff to build relationships with visitors to your booth instead of merely collecting business cards. You and your employees have traveled thousands of miles to get to your trade show destination, so it is important to make the most of it!
  6. Prepare for Language Barriers: The obvious communication barriers will inevitably occur at an international expo. Terry Campanaro, author of “International Exhibiting: 4 Tips to Keep You on Track,” advises international exhibitors to download useful apps on their mobile devices that can help with the language barrier, as well as other customs. You can also read the body language and general disposition of a speaker to decipher a little of what he or she is saying. If other foreign exhibitors and attendees see that you are putting in the effort, they will at least have an appreciation for your willingness to embrace other cultures and languages.

For more tips on how to plan for and what to do at an international trade show, check out Brian Todd’s article entitled “Four Steps to Foreign Exhibiting.” As always, TRT Banners is your one-stop shop for impressive and portable trade show displays and signage for both domestic and international expos. Contact us today!

 

What to Include on Your Trade Show Banner

Promotional signage can be a highly-effective way to let your audience know what your business is all about before you even make contact with them. Without saying a word, you can grab the attention of current and prospective clientele with vibrant graphics and high-resolution imagery that also serve to showcase what services or products your brand has to offer. On a crowded trade show floor, printed banner stands, booth backdrops and table covers enable an exhibitor to stand apart from his or her competition and present a professional showcase with minimal effort. So, what do you include in your printed banner design for an upcoming business convention to best represent your company and gather a crowd around your eight, ten or twenty foot exhibit booth? Check out our list of must-have additions to any banner, as well as some ideas that can make your signage stand apart from the rest!Cleveland_Paint

  1. Company Name: This may seem like a no-brainer, but clearly displaying your company name in a legible font style and size on your trade show banner is necessary to enable an audience to immediately know who you are at an expo. Don’t make attendees squint to decipher what your business’ name is. Large and clear text is crucial to any effective branded marketing tool. Place your name at the top of your banner or have it centrally located to enable your audience to immediately identify who you are at a busy convention.NEW TRT logo
  2. Professional Logo: Including your professional logo on every printed promotional item you include in your exhibit reinforces brand recognition. From your printed retractable banner stands and table banners to brochures and literature hand-outs, feature your high-resolution logo somewhere on every piece of marketing material. If you are using a graphic design service to create your banner artwork, be sure to send them a crisp file of your logo which should most likely be in Vector format so your logo will not be distorted when it is enlarged or resized.
  3. Most Popular Products: A large high-quality image of one of your most popular products, or even a brand new product line, is an effective way to showcase exactly what you offer to an audience who may be unfamiliar with your brand. Bombarding your viewers with a ton of pictures to illustrate a complete list of the items you offer may be visual-overload, so it is often best to select a few of your products that you would like to feature on your printed trade show signage.
  4. Before and After Photos: Showing pictures of what your products or services have done for your customers throughout the years builds credibility. It can also help your audience visualize how your business can help them as well. Pick some of your previous work that offers the most dramatic before-and-after images and ask your customers if you can use their orders as examples at your next expo.
  5. Contact Details: Though it is obvious, it is often easy to overlook including your contact details on your trade show displays. You want to make it as convenient as possible for your audience to get in touch with you during and after the show. Include your phone number, email and website to give potential clientele easy access to your business should they have questions about your products or services, or simply wish to place an order after the event is over!

Knowing what vital information to include on your trade show signage can mean the difference between high-quality banners that draw people in versus ineffective marketing displays that were a waste of your brand’s time and money. Contact TRT Banners today for our complete line of trade show displays including pop up fabric backdrops, tension fabric banners, retractable banner stands, table banners and throws, and much more!

Renew Your Marketing Strategy This Spring

daisy_istockThe official start of spring is only a few weeks away. Winter hats and snow shovels will be replaced with sunglasses and blooming gardens. Take a hint from the season of renewal by revamping your company’s stale marketing plans and branding efforts. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with your business’ advertising campaigns, including in-store promotional spaces, trade show exhibits and any included printed signage to promote your message. By taking a new direction in your marketing efforts and breathing new life into your exhibit spaces, you can draw a new crowd of curious visitors to your professional showcase and make passersby who would have normally not taken a second glance at your company stop and take notice.

Do a little spring cleaning of your own this season with the following helpful marketing tips:

Redesign or Revamp Your Logo: Your logo is an integral part of your company’s marketing efforts since to reinforce brand recognition, your logo should appear on every promotional flyer and printed banner. Has your logo not been revamped or updated in decades? Slightly redesign your logo to refresh your brand or completely redesign it if your current logo is out-of-date. It is important to note that completely changing a logo to the point that it is unrecognizable can work against the trust and loyalty your business has built with your current client base for years, or even decades. If your logo is tried and true, slight changes may be best. Remember, it is about improving your image not simply overhauling it if you are an established brand.

Add New Accent Hues or Color Profiles: Each year, and colored_markers_istocksometimes each season, there are trendy colors that seem to pervade exhibitors’ banner stands, booth backdrops and other promotional material. Recently, neon hues like bright yellows, oranges and greens have been popular. Adding a few trendy accent colors can brighten your exhibit and keep your visuals current. Your company should have a few designated color profiles that resonate in all of your marketing initiatives. Refresh your advertising displays this spring with a different shade of a hue you are already using or a few accent colors to make your printed graphics really “pop.”

Incorporate Technology: Adding technological devices to your convention or special event space can help a dull showcase appear exciting and refreshed. Incorporate an iPad or electronic tablet so that visitors to your in-store or event space can peruse your complete product line or place an order directly on your website! Large television or projector screens with videos of some of your featured products or customer testimonials will help liven up any promotional space.

Purchase Banner Replacements: Reusing your old banner stands, pop up fabric displays and booth backdrops year after year is economical, but it can also create an out-of-date exhibit that fails to draw attention to your brand at an expo or special function. Banner replacements offer the ideal solution to stale advertising displays. Simply purchase a replacement banner to change the full-color printed graphics on an existing display stand for a quick, easy and affordable way to create a new showcase for your brand this spring.white stage

Renew your company’s image this spring with new marketing designs, promotional material and printed signage. For vibrant and impressive retractable banner stands, outdoor banners and flags, poster stands and pop up banners, check out TRT Banners’ complete list of display items!

 

Upcoming Trade Shows to Attend in the Retail Industry

Creative work in fashion studioThe retail industry is a fast-paced, ever-changing field with a massive amount of competition between businesses. From small startup clothing companies to large retail corporations that have been around for decades, it can be difficult to stand out in the industry and remain relevant as trends quickly change. To stay hip to the latest styles, technology and shifts in what buyers are looking for, attend upcoming retail trade shows. We have gathered important information on some fast-approaching conventions in the industry that will help your boutique thrive:

World Alliance Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference:

  • Held April 25-28, 2015 at the J.W. Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, NV
  • Gathers companies, customers, retailers and suppliers to connect and gather information about emerging trends, technology and topics in the retail industry
  • Keynote speaker: Daymond John, CEO and Founder of FUBU and panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank
  • Educational seminars include “Finance and Operations – Are You Managing Your Business? Or Reacting to It?,” “Authentic Leadership: Develop Your Best, Inspire the Rest,” “Independent Contractors: The Do’s, the Don’ts and Lessons Learned in the Trenches,” etc.
  • Learn more at http://www.cvent.com/events/2015-retail-merchandising-marketing-conference/event-summary-fef4d271360b43d6b98091b0bf11fa80.aspx

Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE)

  • Held June 2-5, 2015 at the McCormick Place West in Chicago, IL
  • E-commerce event for the retail industry with 250,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall that showcases more than 600 companies
  • Keynote speaker: Jason Goldberger, President of Target.com and Mobile
  • Workshops include “Examining Amazon: What All Retailers Need to Know to Compete Against or Cooperate with Amazon,” “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Everything Shoppers Want—This Year,” “Four Global Payments Trends and Best Practices You Can’t Afford to Miss,” etc.
  • Learn more at http://www.irce.com/

SuperZoo:

  • Held July 21-23, 2015 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV
  • National show for pet suppliers
  • Event includes Groomer Contests, Social Media Boot Camp, Groomer SuperShow, School of Animal Wellness, etc.
  • SuperZoo Sponsors include Iams, Hill’s, Horn, North American Pet Products, Eukanuba, PetEdge Dealer Services, etc.
  • Learn more at http://www.superzoo.org/

Dogs_istockABC Kids Expo

  • Held October 18-21, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV
  • Juvenile products show that brings together domestic and international buyers, media and manufacturers
  • Special features include Made In the USA Showcase, New Product Showcase, Runway Show, Modern Child, Naturally Kids, Maternity Square, etc.
  • Advertising and Sponsorship opportunities include printing your company name on official show materials like tote bags, lanyards, mobile app, badge holders, etc.
  • Lean more at http://www.theabcshow.com/pay online

National Retail Federation Loss Prevention Conference and Expo

  • Held June 23-25, 2015 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, CA
  • Event for those who protect retail brands, people, assets and profits
  • Keynote Speakers include Rorke Denver (Navy Seal Commander, author and actor), Alec Ross (author, global thinker and innovation advisor), and Ray Kelly (former NYPD Commissioner)
  • Seminars include “Proven Communication Skills for Successful Managers,” “Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Retail,” “Retail: An Irresistible Target for Cyber Attacks,” “Counterfeit Goods and the Terrorism Connection,” etc.
  • Learn more at http://nrfprotect15.nrf.com/

Shop.org Digital Summit

  • Held October 5-7, 2015 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA
  • Expecting more than 5,400 professionals in the digital and multichannel retail world
  • Activities include Digital Retail Boot Camp, One-on-One Website Critiques, Digital Retail’s Fast Track Program, etc.
  • Companies that attended in 2014: Adidas Group, Amazon.com, Converse, Costco Wholesale Corp., Half Price Books, L.L. Bean Inc., Pier 1 Imports Inc., QVC Inc., Under Armour Inc., Williams-Sonoma Inc., etc.
  • Learn more at http://summit15.shop.org/

For retail signage that is just as unique as your brand and as high-quality as your products, check out TRT Banners’ list of ceiling poster hangers, banner stands, point-of-sale table banners, vinyl banners and much more!