Four Ways to Ensure Your Small Trade Show Ad Packs a Big Punch
Open any trade show program and look at the ads. Or, walk the aisles and look at the banners. Depending on the size of the show, you’ll see columns wrapped with ads, escalator handrails featuring logos and event coffee cup sleeves boasting booth numbers. So why do some companies ingeniously make these spaces work, while others end up incurring a huge expense, with little return?
Two things: forethought and copywriting.
But who has time for that? Use the tips below to quickly and easily create ads that will pay for themselves in relevant leads and contribute to an overall return on investment for your trade show booth:
- DON’T assume that recycling existing ads will work: A letter to customers, from the CEO, will work great as an email message towards building a lasting partnership. That doesn’t mean a lengthy message will work as a show ad.
- DO think about the life span of the advertisement: Most trade show advertising opportunities will hold attendees’ attention for a few seconds, over the duration of the show. Give them a reason to act immediately.
Turn that previous email message into: Industry and product insight on tap: meet John Smith, CEO of Our Company, in Booth# 100!
- DON’T forget a call to action: It’s one of the most important parts of any ad, but it’s often forgotten. Even if your objective is to simply promote brand awareness or corporate citizenship, don’t lose the opportunity to invite participants to get to know your organization.
Turn a non-sales centric ad into: THANK YOU to all the participants who helped make this year’s event possible. Go to www.OurCompany.com to learn more about events like this one and other industry resources.
- DO think about what you want the ad to accomplish: The ad should clearly direct attendees to do what you want them to do. ‘See our new product’, ‘Enter to win’, ‘Attend our product demo’, ‘Learn More’, etc.
- DON’T use your company name as the headline: Now that you’re aware of it, you’ll never be able to un-see it. And you will encounter it often; an ad with the company name at the top.
You can’t be too hard on ads that make this mistake; it’s only human nature that we want to talk about ourselves and our achievements, especially if the business is family-owned or built from the ground up. Unfortunately, this phenomenon also applies to buyers. Attendees want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Your headline should answer that question.
- DO ensure your headline translates features into benefits: Harvard Marketing Professor, Theodore Levitt, said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” Think about how your product or service provides solutions, saves money or increases profit. Whatever that is, a succinct version of it is your headline.
So you’ve translated your value proposition, but your message still doesn’t help you stand out from your competitors? Read Scott McKelvey’s blog on why going beyond the first translation is important and how to do it.
- Lastly, DON’T assume that there’s one technique or method that will make all of your wildest trade show dreams come true: Don’t place an ad and expect hoards of customers to roll in as a result. Successfully participating in a trade show also means more than just showing up. It takes pre-show marketing, a “game-day strategy” and post-show follow up to accomplish that goal.