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2014

Marketing Handbook

Presented by Insperity


Secrets to Expo Success  Attracting qualified traffic to your booth (pre-show promotion is the key)  Differentiating your business from others (your show booth presentation)  Post-show follow-up


Table of Contents__________________________________________________ Introduction 2014 Lake Houston Business Expo ............................................................................... 1 Purpose of this handbook ........................................................................................ 1 Importance of the Expo .......................................................................................... 1 Expo facts .......................................................................................................... 1

Pre-Show Activities Preparation ........................................................................................................ 2 Goal setting ..................................................................................................... 2 Importance of a good showing ................................................................................ 2 Booth design .................................................................................................... 2 Themes/colors .................................................................................................. 3 Planning booth staff ........................................................................................... 3 Role playing and practice Q & A ............................................................................. 3 Pre-Show Marketing ............................................................................................. 4 Email promotion ................................................................................................ 4 Social media..................................................................................................... 4 Telephone calls ................................................................................................. 4 Pre-show mailings .............................................................................................. 4 Planning post-show mailings .................................................................................. 5 Correspondence stickers ...................................................................................... 5 Email signatures ................................................................................................ 5 Advertisements ................................................................................................. 5 On-hold messages/voicemail ................................................................................. 5 Brochures and handouts ....................................................................................... 5 Incentives and promotional items ........................................................................... 6 Business cards................................................................................................... 6 Prize drawing and receptacle ................................................................................ 6 Press releases ................................................................................................... 6 Website .......................................................................................................... 6 Electronic presentations ...................................................................................... 6

Show Day Booth preparation ................................................................................................. 6 Handy things for booth setup .................................................................................... 7 Booth staffing ...................................................................................................... 7 Contacts ............................................................................................................ 7 Breaking down the booth ........................................................................................ 7

Post Show Activities Expo evaluation ................................................................................................... 8 Business card data entry ......................................................................................... 8 Follow-up ........................................................................................................... 8 Follow-up letters ............................................................................................... 8 Follow-up phone calls.......................................................................................... 8


Introduction____________________________________________________________ 2014 Lake Houston Business Expo Congratulations on your decision to promote your company through the 2014 Lake Houston Business Expo. Regardless of the size of your business, this is an exceptional opportunity for you and your company. The key to success depends on proper planning and execution at the show. This Marketing Handbook is a resource to help you prepare and promote your company so that you may have a satisfactory show experience. Purpose of this Manual This handbook takes you through the Expo planning process step-by-step. It offers tips on how to make your booth stand out from the crowd and how to implement successful pre-show and post-show promotion. Importance of Expo The Lake Houston Business Expo offers a unique marketing opportunity. It has become more difficult to meet face-to-face with your clients and prospects even though this is still the most effective way to build a solid relationship. Expos are often viewed by prospects as a non-threatening environment. They attend with the mindset of seeking new suppliers, products and services. Remember: you only have a few minutes to create a favorable impression of your business.There are two key factors determining your success: 1. Demonstrating how your product/service fills a client’s/prospect’s need 2. Differentiating your company in a crowded marketplace Expo Facts Business Expos provide exhibitors with immediate and deferred sales opportunities because they are a convenient and fast way to find and buy the products and services needed. Recent research revealed the following about tradeshows:       

76 percent asked for quotes and 26 percent signed purchase orders (average all shows) 72 percent of show visitors say the show influenced their buying decision 87 percent of attendees will share some of the information obtained at an exhibition 64 percent of attendees tell at least 6 other people about the event 40 percent are first time attendees It costs 22 percent less to contact a potential buyer at a show than through traditional field sales calls Trade shows are the most effective way to market a small business. This is the one place where small businesses can compete on a level playing field with larger firms. Source: Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

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Pre-show activities_______________________________________________________________ To make the most out of your Expo experience, it is important to plan in advance. The following information will give you details on the activities you should plan to do prior to the show.

General preparation The first important decision you need to make is to clearly define your purpose for exhibiting.   

Why are you exhibiting in the 2014 Lake Houston Business Expo? What are your expectations? What results do you expect to achieve?

Most people attend Expos to see what types of products and services are available in the marketplace and to talk to potential suppliers rather than coming to “buy” that day. You should set realistic expectations. Preshow promotion and post-show follow-up are the keys to meeting and exceeding your expectations. Goal Setting It is important to take time to think about what you are trying to accomplish by participating in the Expo. This will focus your efforts, allow you to set quantifiable goals and facilitate an evaluation of your experience afterwards. The following list contains some possible show goals:         

Total number of contacts Total number of new clients Total number of possible alliance partners Number of existing customers to meet with Convert X percent of prospects within the first six months Number of meetings scheduled because of the show Number of alliance partners to convert in one year Perform market research Income from Expo (it may take a year or more before this is measurable)

Importance of a Good Showing Expo exhibits represent a unique marketing opportunity. Keep in mind that your booth and marketing materials represent you—they package and present your entire spectrum of marketing communications in a single shot. There is usually one or more of your competitors at any show, so the pressure is high for each company to present itself as the most respectable and professional choice. In essence, the Expo is the litmus test of your company, people, products and services. It is a rare chance for potential customers to witness how well your corporate image performs and how it stands up against competitors. Booth Design It is important to think about the design of your booth well in advance of the actual Expo date. You need the appropriate lead time to develop a booth that best meets your objectives. Let the people in. Don’t let a table create a barrier to entering your booth. Powerful graphics are those which are easily seen from a distance. Large photographs of people using or benefitting from your product or service differentiate you from the competition and quickly and clearly communicate your marketing message. Don’t clutter your graphics with too much. Think of your booth as a billboard, not a brochure. Save details for brochures and flyers that they can take with them. Lighting is HUGE! It can increase awareness of your booth 30 to 50 percent.

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Themes/colors The appearance or curb appeal of your booth is a very important aspect to your success at the Expo. For the most professional image, it is important for you to have a coordinated booth. This could be as simple as a designated color scheme, coordinated signage and brochures or implementing a themed booth where booth decorations and personnel are coordinated to reinforce a particular idea. Some things to keep in mind:   

Black is a popular choice for a high-end professional image. Themes could include jungle explorers, medical, weddings, super heroes, boy or girl scouts, beach motifs, sports themes, etc. Booth personnel should be similarly dressed or have similar attire. At many shows booth personnel have a company shirt and coordinated pants/skirts. Or, all members could be in business professional attire. Dress to match your booth them if applicable. In any case, make sure that there is coordination between booth members. Do not have half of your staff in business casual and half in business professional. Plants, flowers, balloon arrangements or other interesting and eye-catching decorations help attract the attention of attendees.

Planning Booth Staff Who you have in your booth can have a major effect on the success of the show. You should consider who the right people are and how many hours each will spend in the booth. Some important things to remember:     

Expos can be an exhausting experience, and you may wish to limit staff to two or three hour shifts if possible. Rotate people so they stay fresh. If you sell a highly technical product, have a technical expert available that can answer high-end questions. Enthusiasm is essential. You need people who exude a friendly, inviting atmosphere. If possible, have upper management personnel in the booth if only for a short time. This is an excellent opportunity for face-to-face communication with customers and potential customers. Be considerate of other exhibitors. Visit other booths for cross-selling, but be sensitive not to take time away if they are busy with prospective customers. Visit other booths during slow times.

Role-Playing and Practice Q & A The key to preparation is to ensure that all people who man the booth represent your company as professionally as possible. To do this, proper pre-show planning is required to guarantee that everyone knows what to say and more importantly what not to say. For instance, if you are going through a merger/acquisition or a change in management you may want to brief people on what not to cover. Questions you need to be able to answer:     

When was the company founded? How many people work for your company? What makes you different from your competition? Could you tell me what you do? What products/services do you provide?

Questions you need to ask prospects:    

May I tell you something about our company? What type of business is your company? What are your job responsibilities? Is there someone else at your company with whom I should speak?

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Pre-Show Marketing Pre-show marketing is the key to maximizing your Expo experience. Email Promotion Many companies send email blasts on a regular basis. If you have such a system, add an announcement about your participation in the upcoming show. If you do not have email blasts, generate a file with emails of people you are currently working with, and use this to send reminders. A few things to remember about email promotion:   

Be sure not to spam (send emails to a large list of people who you don’t know or haven’t had prior communications). Only email people that you communicate with on a regular basis. Don’t overdo it. People are becoming increasingly annoyed with junk email. Do not send an email every day or you’ll be counterproductive to your purposes. We will be sending you a digital invitation that you can email to your contacts to promote your attendance at the event.

Social Media If social media is part of your marketing plan, include it as you promote your participation in the Expo.   

Tweet your booth number and link to @LHAChamber. And be sure to follow @LHAChamber so you can join the conversation. Update your Facebook status and post on the Chamber Facebook page (Lake Houston Area Chamber) letting your friends or followers and fellow Chamber members know where you’ll be. Post a discussion on LinkedIn on your Profile, your Groups and the Lake Houston Area Chamber’s Company Profile

Telephone Calls Prior to the show, it is important to make a list of those people - both current customers and prospective leads - that you have not been able to have face-to-face contact with recently. Then call them to remind them of the show and the location of your booth. After making the list, prepare a script that you will use for voicemail recordings. Make the script concise, and keep it in front of you as you make a series of calls. In many cases getting voicemail is preferable since you can get your message across very efficiently. Pre-show Mailings One of the most effective ways to drive traffic into your booth is to do pre-show direct mailings to your current client list, prospective clients and new contacts. Pre-show mailings can be in one of the following forms:  

Post card mailing - most cost effective (design, printing and postage) Letter with brochure - highest response

An important aspect of your pre-show mailings is to target people who are not currently in your database. There are a number of sources for obtaining mailing addresses, and they can be tailored to the demographic specific for your business.

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Planning Post-show Mailings To ensure timely follow-up of your prospects, it is best to have your post-show mailing prepared before the show takes place.    

Should be coordinated with your pre-show mailing Indicate winner of your door prize from the show (if holding a drawing) Have two letters - one for people you spoke with and one for people you did not have a chance to speak with Mail to other exhibitors

Correspondence Stickers These can be obtained at any printer. They simply state that you will be at the Business Expo and your booth location. Place these stickers on each piece of outgoing mail (including the envelope):   

Sales letters Invoices Estimates and proposals

An alternative to the sticker is to change the postscript for your standard outgoing letter templates and to set-up the “memo field” on your accounting system for invoices and estimates. Email Signatures Many companies have a standard signature at the bottom of emails. This lists the contact name, phone number and URL. Your company signatures should be updated company wide just prior to the show to add a line indicating when the show is and your booth location. Include a link to the Business Expo website, LakeHoustonBusinessexpo.com, so your customers can find out more about the event. That way, all the people you contact via email will have a simple non-intrusive reminder. Advertisements Another important part of your marketing plan is to include your Business Expo information in any of your pre-show advertising:   

Update all advertising to indicate show participation and booth number Increase ad frequency one month prior to the show Run additional ads specific to the show in newspapers and magazines

On-hold Messages/Voicemail If your company has recorded telephone messages (on-hold or voicemail), update them one month prior to the show to inform customers of show participation, booth number and an invitation to attend. Brochures and Handouts It is essential to have your potential clients walk away from your booth with some marketing materials to review after the show. In general, we suggest that you use a two-tiered approach. You should have a small, simple brochure that is inexpensive to print. This can be used for virtually everyone that visits the booth. A more substantial package can be kept under the table for very high-end prospects.    

Do not use photocopied black and white brochures. If necessary use single sided flyers. Otherwise, have professionally printed brochures. Brochures should be company-generic, do not create a brochure specific to any one show. Have a small number of higher end packets to give to very interested prospects. Consider having CDs or flash drives available with press releases, a PowerPoint presentation, product demos, etc. Distribute only to very interest prospects.

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Incentives and Promotional Items Many companies find that handing out small trinkets with their logo on them help to keep their name in front of potential clients long after the Expo is over. Business Cards A fatal mistake at an Expo is not having enough business cards. Keep in mind the following:  

Allow 10-14 days for printing Each person working your booth needs a card

Prize Drawing and Receptacle The collection of business cards is a major component of the Expo. Remember the following if you plan to have a prize drawing from your booth (one of the best ways to collect business cards):    

Decide what type of receptacle will be used to collect the business cards. Give away something of value. If possible, give away something specific to your business. You also have the option of your prize (if valued at $50 or more) being part of the event door prize drawings. This would mean your company, prize and winner would be announced during the event.

Press Releases If your company has a public relations program in place, include your participation in the tradeshow with your press releases. Try to time an announcement close to the show to have something noteworthy. Website Update your website prior to the show so that people who visit will know you are attending and your booth location. You can provide a link to the Lake Houston Business Expo site (LakeHoustonBusinesseExpo.com) where people can obtain more information about the show, register to attend and enter our contests. The Chamber can provide an official Lake Houston Business Expo logo that you can put on your home page. Electronic Presentations Sometimes you may be too busy to handle all the people visiting your booth. A self-running presentation can run continuously throughout the show and have some basic information about your company. Also some people may watch the presentation from a distance. Good presentations in your booth can draw crowds. By sprinkling trivia about your industry or your product within your presentation your audience will come away feeling they’ve learned something in addition to your product details and benefits.

Show Day______________________________________________________________ Booth     

Preparation Apply power to booth lights and electronic presentation computers, if applicable Arrange brochures, business cards, candy, etc. on main table Bring cell phones and cell phone chargers to ensure the office can contact you Clean computer screens Familiarize yourself with the floor layout - know the location of restrooms, luncheon, etc so you can be an informed helper to attendees  Keep booth open and inviting

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Handy Things for Booth Setup  Glass cleaner and paper towels  Extension cords  Tape: black, clear, masking and electrical  Thumb tacks/staplers/scissors  Velcro  Zip ties  Pens  Container for business cards  Waste paper basket  Blank paper for notes Booth       

Staffing Place nametag on right side Rotate people to stay fresh and alert Only two people in a 8’ X 10’ booth at a time is suggested Stay relaxed and enjoy the Expo - it shows Network with other exhibitors during slower times Report any non-exhibitor solicitors to Chamber personnel Eating and drinking in the booth is discouraged, there will be an Exhibitor Lounge where you can sit and relax. However, if you must, try to be discreet.

Contacts  Stand and attempt to make eye contact with as many people as possible as they pass by. Attendees will feel more compelled to stop at your booth. When a booth worker is sitting down, looking away, talking with co-workers or otherwise occupied, it is much easier to walk on by.  Greet visitors to your booth with a handshake, and use his or her name. They will be wearing a name badge.  Invite them to put their business card in your drawing container  Ask open ended questions  Rank prospects - mark the ranking on the back of their card after they leave. o “A” are high priority. They are ready to buy or order now. This is why you are exhibiting at the show. Spend quality time with them. o “B” are medium priority. They have an interest, but need more information. You want to convert these people to type A. Try to discover who they are. You will be able to do more with them than give them a brochure they won’t read later. o “C” are low priority. They may be potential clients in the long term, but do not currently have a need. Don’t spend a lot of time with them, but do remember they may need you in the future, and they are a potential referral source. o NOTE: If people drop their cards without you having the opportunity to talk with them, identify their card with an “X” so you know you did not meet with them. Breaking Down the Booth Expo can be an exhausting experience, particularly for small businesses where the personnel are present for the entire show. If things get slow towards the end of the show, it is important that you not start breaking down the booth prematurely. Nothing says “you’re not welcome” more than people rushing to get out. It also adversely affects your neighbors and the professionalism of the show as a whole. To discourage this practice, the Chamber may deny booth registration for next year to anyone who breaks down before 6pm.

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Post-show Activities_____________________________________________________ Expo Evaluation In order to judge if your show was a success or not, you need to perform a postmortem to see if you met the objectives you were anticipating prior to the show. Meet with all of the people who worked the booth, and analyze the value of your time and expenditures. Ask and answer these questions objectively:    

Was our time and money a good investment? Did the results meet or exceed our expectations? Did we meet the quantitative goals we set? Based on this experience, will we exhibit in the 2015 Lake Houston Business Expo?

Keep the following in mind:      

What worked well is just as important as what did not work Determine if you executed all pre-show initiatives Compare against pre-show goal setting Perform quantitative analysis based on measurable factors Perform gut reaction analysis Document results so that you can refer to them in the future

NOTE: Do not be too hasty in judging prospects. Some prospects will contact you months later when they have a need for your product or service. Business Card Data Entry This is one of the most neglected parts of post-show activities. One of the biggest reasons for participation in the show is to obtain leads. If these leads do not go in your system, you have essentially defeated a major reason you participated in the show in the first place. Follow-up As noted earlier, your ultimate success will depend on follow-up. A recent survey showed that 20 percent of show attendees cited lack of follow-up as the reason they did not purchase from an exhibitor. Be the first to follow up with answers, quotes or literature that they requested. Make sure that they remember your company…so before the prospect leaves your booth, ask them for the best time to call them back. Follow-up Letters If you have not prepared a follow-up letter, do so immediately. Thank attendees for visiting your booth, announce the name of winners (if you have a drawing), enclose another brochure and indicate you will call them within a week to determine their level of interest. When sending the letters, make sure you have one for people you actually met and those that stopped by that you did not see. Follow-up Phone Calls During the show you ranked your prospects as A, B or C. Do the follow-up calling based upon this ranking, starting with the “A” prospects. Before making follow-up calls, create a simple script indicating the main things you want to say:   

Thank you for stopping by our booth I would like to schedule a meeting We did not have enough time to talk, etc

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AND THE NUMBER ONE ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF THE LAKE HOUSTON BUSINESS EXPO

HAVE FUN!!!! SEE YOU MARCH 25 AT THE EXPO

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2014 lhbe marketing handbook