Press Kit And The Art Of Storytelling – What The Media Wants To Know About Your Trade Show?

A press kit isn’t exactly the kind of bedtime story one would read before hitting the sack; in fact, who’s to say if it’s a story in the first place? It isn’t, but when it tells the media about any of your trade shows, it must become one.Yes, the media may be pretty much interested in knowing all about the show, and might even seek easy access to your press release(s), multimedia, bios, fact sheets, and other brand content, but unless you are good at weaving a cohesive yet meaningful narrative, chances are that your press kit won’t live up to the mark. In other words, you must learn (and possibly) master the art of storytelling, or else your press kit would gather dust. Sad but true. Here’s how you can come up with a page-turning version:

Avoid being a salesman for once

You may be tempted to make the newest product on offer the central character of your press kit, but do keep in mind that the media won’t take it well. You would unveil this product at the trade show, agreed, but what they are really interested in knowing is how it would change someone’s life or perhaps why should it excite the buyers? Yes, you must make a mention of your product, but at the same time, it’s imperative to ensure that the product doesn’t hog the limelight.

– Try and explain how the product is in sync with the relevant current events

– Talk about how your brand’s actions and offerings impact the community

As a storyteller, the first thing you need to learn or accept is that context is critical, and once that’s been established, it’ll get easier for you to uncover a unique story angle for your next press kit. Of course, it’s a possibility that you have no plans of launching a new product at the show, what would your story revolve around then?

– Shift the focus of your story to what the visitors or the attendees care about

– Do some research, and if your findings suggest that the visitors have an avid interest in knowing how committed you are to your values, it’s advisable to talk about your philanthropic initiatives, if any.

– On the other hand, if it’s innovation that piques their interest, play with words to convey that it was indeed the very basis of your company’s founding.

In short, don’t sell, inspire.

Step into their shoes

The media isn’t the only one keen on grabbing a copy of your press kit; the customers and the influencers attending the show may also look forward to it. Identify your audience, and figure out what could go down well with them. While some may prefer videos, others might be more receptive to text and graphics – curate your content accordingly. And for those who only understand facts and figures and would prefer data any day, you may hold back on your storytelling techniques for a while, and rather give them what they want. Doing so is important because your press kit needs to be shareable and it would only be so once it has a variety of content. On that note, using infographics and SlideShare is an also a good idea, and so is making a video with survey results.

Don’t be shy about promoting your press kit

You need to spread the word; amplify it. Share the message through multiple channels, if you want people to know about it. Get a digital copy made, even if you already have hard copies and/or USP versions – they aren’t that easy to distribute. You could also consider printing the link to your press kit on your business cards, or share it via social media – either way, you’ll be reaching out to a far wider audience.

Coming up with a good press kit is easy – tell your story, ensure that it’s not overstuffed with your company’s history or has some outdated media clippings, and you are good to go.

 

Assumptions about trade show interactions that can cost you dearly!

Trade shows are fun, no doubt, but that’s not why you go there, right? You are there for business – to get more leads – to interact with as many prospects as possible – and more importantly, to crack a deal or two. Now that we have established the objectives that take you there, let’s talk about why and how you may fail to achieve them. Well, believe it or not, but every time you are at a show, you make certain assumptions – assumptions that defeat the very purpose of you being there. Here’s what you and many other exhibitors often presume:

You can cut through the noise

Trade shows, especially the popular ones, are way too noisy – now, you may be able to attract a decent number of visitors to your booth, but you can’t really talk to them at length, until and unless you scream at the top of your lungs. You need a quieter place, where you can answer their questions, discuss the pricing, and even close the deal, if possible. Look for that place – reserve a room, if available, and don’t just rattle off to your prospects. These one-on-one interactions, away from the noise, can make all the difference.

You can just go and on and on

The visitors are either interested in your brand, or they are not – how do you get your message across to the ones who are not? Of course, you can’t really engage them in an hour-long conversation, or you’ll lose their attention sooner than expected. So, what is it that you can do? Not to worry, you can bowl them over them with an elevator pitch – one that lasts no longer than 30 seconds and pretty much sums up what your brand is and what is it that you offer. A short description of your product or service and a concise detail of how it would help that person or their business should suffice.

You need not drive the interactions your way

You love to interact, great, but more often than not, the attendees do not – you need to prompt them – use a call-to-action (CTA) to make them look forward to talking to you. In fact, you should have your marketing materials say that out loud that you want the attendees to perform a certain action. While you could always ask them to sign up for a free product trial or maybe visit your website, these tactics would only work before or after the show, and not when they are there. The idea here is to focus your CTA only on interactions that can take place during the show. Here’s what you can do:

  • Display QR codes, the ones that tell the visitors what to do next
  • Make your CTA a part of it, or let it sit next to the code(s) on your signage

– Let’s say, if your call-to-action emphasizes the importance of booking a one-on-one consultation with any of your reps, chances are that people would actually do that

– The QR code could be of great help here, especially if your message has been conveyed and they are all set to schedule an appointment.

You need not be all prepped up

If you just blabber and give yourself a pat on the back thinking how good of an improviser are you, the visitors would love to give you a reality check, one that you won’t like. They look for content. Interactions are fine, but there must be substance to them – you need to have your case studies, testimonials, product content, and pricing information handy. Otherwise, it’s all gibber-gabber.

Interact all you want, but don’t be pushy, especially when the visitor is not ready to buy there and then; make a move after the show – follow up, and work towards building a relationship.

They always tell you what to do at exhibitions. What about what not to?

Exhibitions are all about careful planning and hard work. And of course, there’s money involved. So, there’s a lot at stake. Not to worry though, if things go well, you can achieve a great ROI and then the exhibitions would be worth their salt. But what if they don’t? What if you commit a mistake or even worse, a blunder that costs you dearly? Would you still be successful at the exhibitions you participate in? Sadly no. Here’s what could go wrong:

You exhibit at the wrong show(s)

It’s not uncommon for a business to blindly follow the competitors or step into their shoes – so if they participate in an exhibition, you should too, right? No. Absolutely not. You should have your own reasons of booking a stand – your target audience, the media houses you have been trying hard to get to notice you, anything and everything, but not because somebody else did it. And it’s not just about competition, you just can’t be everywhere – you shouldn’t be. Do some homework, before you dive in with your chequebook.

You don’t solve the puzzle

People who attend exhibitions are interested in finding the possible solutions to their problems and the challenges they face at their own companies (B2B). If your stand is all about who you are and what you do, they won’t give two hoots – as simple as that. Coming up with a generic poster or pop-up stand, one that’s far from painting a clear picture, would be the final nail in the coffin. You need to be empathetic, or at least act like it. Show them you care and that your products and offerings are in complete sync with what they are looking for. Make it all about them; take the back seat.

You are too pushy about sales

Not being patient could be your biggest pitfall. Exhibitions are not about sales; those who succeed are out to there to capture leads, and not necessarily close the deal(s). You must do the same. On-site sales are good, agreed, but if they don’t come your way, don’t fret. Capture as many leads as possible and build a database. Shift your focus to getting a good lead retrieval system instead, but just don’t push. Nurture the leads first, and do the selling later.

Your marketing literature is a joke

The product content that you are proudly handing out to the visitors may pique your interest, but not theirs – they want a lot more – at least those who understand the dynamics do – they are on the lookout for case studies, testimonials and more importantly, the pricing information. With these missing from the table, your marketing material is dead as a doornail. Also, not having enough material is a sure shot way of warding off the visitors. As such you may not be able to talk to all of them and on top of that, if they have to walk away empty-handed, you are on your own.

You want them to make a detour

In-booth huddles may seem like a great source of motivation to you and your staff, but to the visitors, they make your stand look uninviting – they don’t feel like interfering. And if your staff is giving the restaurant or cafeteria a miss and rather eating right there, at the booth, the visitors would get the hint; you want them to come back later. They won’t.

Lack of promotion could also lower your chances of making it big at the exhibitions. Spread the word. And yes, once you have the leads with you, follow up, don’t watch them grow old. Learn from your mistakes, don’t keep on repeating them!

Tips for converting trade show booth visitors into customers

Giving some serious thought to trade show display and making a decent investment will certainly attract quite a few visitors to your trade show booth and help you with lead generation, but that’s just about it. Once they are there, it’s up to you and your staff – whatever you do during and after the show could make all the difference – you would either have the visitors turning into customers or you’ll end up with plain cold leads. Sad but true.

Act as quickly as possible

If you think that asking the visitors for their contact details is good enough, think again, it is not – you must work on those details – have a lead generation and nurturing system in place – only then you can expect to do more business. Start early on, and prioritize the leads as soon as you are back from the show. Don’t sit on them or they’ll grow cold. The quicker you follow up, as in reach out to those who visited you at the show, the more are your chances of getting a conversion. They’ll be much more receptive if you give them a call just the next day and are likely to remember meeting you at the show.

However, their contact details are not all that you need – follow a qualification process during the show, or else you’d have a hard time figuring out their budget and whether or not they are in the position to make a decision. Following up would only make sense if you have these details on you.

Don’t shy away from using technology

Believe it or not, but it may take weeks and sometimes even months to nurture the leads – you will follow up, agreed, but that doesn’t mean that the visitors would make a purchase decision there and then – in fact, you may not have the desired outcome during the second or third contact. That’s when a CRM or a Customer Relationship Management system could be of great use. For starters, it’ll help you further qualify the leads as per their individual requirements and devise a strategy of sorts to gain their trust. Secondly, you’ll be able to track – just enter the details you have, and voila! You now have on record where did you meet them and if they have moved up any further in your sales curve. The CRM would especially come in handy when the visitors want you to take it slow and need some time before they finally decide to purchase.

Relying solely on phone calls is a big no-no

Send them emails – after all, they are one of the most effective tools for making the initial contact and act as great reminders. Take full advantage. This is what your email must include:

A reiteration of the recipient’s needs

A clear picture as to how your products or offerings are a sure shot way of fulfilling those needs
Don’t be too pushy though, and don’t even mistake the email for a means to crack a hard sell. Just try to establish contact with the prospect(s) and cultivate a relationship. The sale would come your way on its own.

Don’t give up or give in – either way, you lose

More often than not, the exhibitors reach out to the prospects only once or twice, and then give up. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Rather, have your lead nurturing system schedule multiple contacts. Again, the idea here is to instill trust and strengthen the relationship. Also, it’s important that you don’t give in to the prospects’ natural instinct of not doing anything unless they are specifically prompted to. Prompt. Drop a hint at least. Have a call-to-action ready and make it part of every attempt at contacting the prospects.

To cut the long story short, converting visitors into customers is as easy as attracting them to your booth, but you need to take matters into your own hands and more importantly, be patient.

 

Mistakes That Ordinary Exhibitors Avoid To Become Extraordinary

The biggest exhibitors or the biggest booths can fail to make the right impression or attract the expected number of visitors at a show, while the underdogs make it big. So what possibly turns the tables for them? Well, they do not commit the same mistakes that some of the big ones do, and in fact, make far better choices. In short, they know what to avoid. Here’s what they let go of:

Trying to be everywhere

In an ideal world, the exhibitors should be able to participate in every possible show, but that’s not how it works. They must choose. Trade shows warrant a lot:

– There is the setting of objectives
– Then the exhibitors need to select and train the booth staff
– There are design elements involved
– Purchases have to be made
– Installation, dismantling, and shipping have to be taken care of
– Leads have to be followed and eventually converted
– The results must be measured against the metric in use

Phew! Those who succeed at trade shows know where to draw the line. Over the years, they have realized that they can’t commit to every other show, especially if they lack the time and the resources to do it right. They know that mere participation won’t get them anything and that in the end, they’ll simply be wasting the investment made.

Undermining the importance of communication

If the sales and marketing departments don’t get a chance to communicate, there are likely to be quite a few goof-ups at the booth. Good exhibitors know that they have to keep the lines of communication open. They make sure that the right questions are answered by the right people well in time, so as to avoid any last-minute chaos;

– What kind of information should be fetched from the booth visitors?
– What kind of branding techniques are to be used?
– Is there a plan of action that could be referred to, when the leads are followed up?
– Who would all make excellent booth staffers?

It’s only when they have the answers that they go any further.

Letting price become the deciding factor

Exhibitors often have budgetary constraints; while some use these constraints as a shield of sorts, justifying their choice of vendors and materials, others understand the added value that the expensive ones may bring along. They are thoughtful enough to take into consideration the amount of time saved, the number and kind of problems solved, quality, and more importantly, the results generated. These are the exhibitors who succeed because they know their choice shouldn’t be based solely on price.

Making assumptions about everything

It’s easy for anyone to be assumptive; exhibitors and trade show participants are no different. Many tend to assume that:

– The leads are being followed up, and don’t bother to check if there are any real-time conversions
– The audience already knows about the show and is aware that their company is participating, and that there is no need for promotion
– Every newfangled technology, including virtual reality and live streaming, works for every booth and in every setting
– It is important to offer an unusual, unconventional giveaway, even if it is of no use to the recipients and is merely a liability in terms of the company’s investment
– Everything can be fitted into the booth, every product should be displayed, and every possible activity should be done
– If some marketing ideas worked at a previous show, they’ll do wonders for the next one as well

An “ordinary” exhibitor can always be “extraordinary” and the ones who have already hit the mark did nothing different, except for saying no when they should have.