Ways to Stand Out At Tradeshows & Bring Back Results

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I just got back from Affiliate Summit West 2013 and it was an awesome show.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to because of the size of the show, but there were a ton of creative marketing methods and campaigns being run.  Shows like Affiliate Summit won’t make you money with Booth Babes because you have people that are serious about business there.  Booth babes can drive people to your booth, but they will definitely drive away a lot of awesome potential partners because people at this show want to learn and grow their business, not look at girls or guys in skimpy clothing.  So what can you do to stand out in a positive way, bring people to you and also get a solid return on your investment.  Here are a few campaigns I’ve run and have seen other people run that seem to have worked well.

1.  Ivanna Vodka

Share a Sale hosted a masquerade ball at Affiliate Summit and encouraged people to dress up.  This is a huge event each year and I knew there would be a ton of people with cameras and a lot of people blogging about it on their marketing sites and review sites.  Because of this I put together a marketing campaign that could fit into their event, attract a lot of positive attention and also bring in Affiliates to my managed programs.  What I did was find a masquerade outfit that fit the theme of the event, as well as where it was hosted at the Paris Hotel and club Chateau.  Once I had the attention getting outfit, I had to find a way to accessorize it to get my client’s programs out to people and to find a way to reach people who weren’t at the show.  Here’s how I turned a costume into a full marketing campaign.

The first thing I did was pick a name, Ivanna Vodka, where the .com url was available.  It also matched the party’s theme and was easy to remember.  The spelling was a bit difficult for some people, but I didn’t have much time to plan the entire thing or I would have found one easier to spell.  I bought the url and had a landing page designed with all of my client’s program information and links to sign up on it.  Next I ordered a sash that had the url on it for the show.  When people would ask for a picture, I would make sure they got the sash and url in the picture and would actually ask them to take the picture over again if they didn’t get the url in it.  To make sure they knew what the url was, and in case they were a Blogger or Affiliate, I had Ivanna Vodka business cards printed with where we met, a way to contact me, the url and it also matched Ivanna’s personality and theme perfectly.  This way they could link to the site, even if they couldn’t read the sash from the image.  Now they had two ways to find the programs I manage, the sash and the business card, and they could share it after the event.

how to stand out at a tradeshow
how to stand out at a tradeshow





The result from the party was awesome.  I had a couple hundred unique visitors hit the site (which is actually a good number because of the extremely targeted audience) and a solid amount of content and value adding sites join my programs.  I had zero Google or organic traffic to the page and am actually still getting between 10 and 15 unique visitors a day from the show.  Some of them are repeats and as people are applying, a couple have mentioned the site which is how I also know the campaign worked.  The campaign turned out to be a successful one with lots of great exposure and it was measurable by the links to join the program and the traffic on the site.

2.  The question mark guy in the green suit.

One person that almost everyone can picture in their heads from some of the marketing shows is the guy who wears the green suit with the questions marks.  He’s not a character from a popular super hero movie and the outfit doesn’t look like that one at all.  Instead he runs a get rich quick, become a millionaire or other type of site and program.  The truth is that his outfit helps him to stand out in a positive way.  I haven’t ever spoken to him, but when I ask someone who has about the guy in the green, question mark suit, they can almost always say what he does and who he is.

He is memorable and doing it has helped him to build his business.  I don’t want to link to his site or name what it is because it isn’t something I have tried myself, but I love his creativity in driving people to him and to getting them to learn about his business.  Unlike the companies who created a mascot and try to get pictures of the person in a huge costume, this one brings people over who are curious and gets pictures of him without having to try.  That is why I think he does a better job than hiring someone to bounce around in a costume that looks like your logo or an animal with a tshirt on it.  Unless they are a fan of your company (which isn’t bringing you much new business), you are wasting time and energy.  One other benefit to his outfit vs. someone in a giant costume is that he can also hand out cards as people stop him instead of having to hope people will find his url or needing to have someone standing by him all the time.

3.  Setting up an addictive game.

It’s one thing to use attractive people to get attention, but if they cannot intelligently speak about your company, answer questions, etc… then you wasted your money and chance to bring in a potential partner.  Instead they just brought someone in to drool over them, ignore your actual services and you missed an opportunity.  So how can you turn a pretty, but non spokesperson or sales person for your company, into something functional that can bring in a return?   Turn them into game pieces.

Take each of your booth babes or guys and have them carry a sign or have them each have a hand out.  Each of them is required to sign off on the handout, if you use one, after the person repeats the words on the card which can be your company’s services, a fact or metric about your industry that would cause them to remember you or something else that will help stick with them.  On the back of the cards you can include your urls, client’s names and programs on them.  You can also have them be game pieces that the person can keep.  The person who is playing will have to gather all clues and solve a prize.  In order to win the prize, they have to register for it after solving the problem and dropping a card into a separate contest container.  You can also require they mail all puzzle pieces into you after the show to claim the prize if they win.  This way everyone has to keep all of the pieces which means your marketing pieces are actually being kept, your clients and programs are in front of them and they are actually being used.

Once the show is over you can announce the winner on your website and you can have everyone who wanted to enter check to see if they’ve won.  On the landing page you can have pictures of all of the booth babes or guys and/or also have all of the information in a short, easy to read format on what your services are or why they should partner with you.  Now you have a measurable way to show what part of your return on investment from the tradeshow is.

It’s easy to stand out at a trade show.  You can have insane costumes, create games and also host events.  The tricky part is how to get people to remember your message, actually pay attention to your services and to be able to actually convert into new partners, clients or customers.  Remember to not offend people, make sure everything you have with the campaign can be measured and you can turn it all into conversions.  Just having pretty people won’t make someone remember you or sign up for your services, just like having someone in a giant theme park costume probably won’t work.  Instead, make sure you do something unique with people or costumes that can sell your products, services or get people to remember you in a positive way.

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