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View Full Version : Exhibiting at a Business Expo


dipper
09-26-2008, 10:44 AM
In a few weeks I will be having a stand at a business expo. The expo is aimed at business owners (mainly small to medium) which is my target market.

I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has previously done a similar thing and would like to share what worked and what didn't work.

I'm having some banners made up and already have some brochures. I also plan on having a laptop and a desktop on show.

I will put together a Powerpoint display on one machine and will also be demoing things like remote support. I'm also looking for any videos I could run (funny, infomative etc). Does any one know of any such videos, I've looked on Youtube etc but most are of a low quality?

Any other suggestions would also be appreciated.

ootuoyetahi
09-26-2008, 01:09 PM
I had actually thought about doing something like this but hadn't had the chance yet to get around to it. Only thing you may want to consider is perhaps some coupons for their first service, that way you can really track its effectiveness.

abe
09-26-2008, 01:24 PM
The problem with this trade is you can't really show much besides remote support . You can't fix computers at the exhibit. maybe you should have a slide show of the services you do i.e. backup and virus clean , component replacement , networking and a simple explanation of the benefits of serviceing frequently.

just my 2 cents.

NWPhotog
09-26-2008, 01:56 PM
I would definitely have a pre-built work station on display along with either a disassembled unit or one in an acrylic case. There are lots of possibilities.

bagellad
09-26-2008, 05:27 PM
Don't forget you are selling safety, time and money not just computers! Business people want to know how it helps them.

TimeCode
09-26-2008, 08:32 PM
http://camstudio.org/

Free screen capture video software. Show yourself removing viruses or speeding up a computer. If you have a mic you can even narrate it without having to appear on-screen. =) Nobody wants to see MY ugly mug.

cmonova
09-26-2008, 10:17 PM
Real good idea, we have done a few. You need exactly what you mentioned and i'd have a few pc's running different powerpoints during the entire show. One can just look all the services you provide with a brief explanation of each and the other can be whatever.

Just make sure you have alot of literature to give out. I tell everyone these shows typically do not turn you "instant" profit. But, if you make a good impression on people then it will pay off in the long run. Mingle with everyone and you don't even need to "push" your services.

Not sure if you do web design. But, if so i'd have a special phamplet covering that and the benefits of it especially for the other businesses that are doing the setup.

dipper
09-27-2008, 08:27 AM
Thanks for all the replies so far.

Cmnova - we do do websites but we just want to focus on a few different services for this expo and not spread ourselves too thin.

ootuoyetahi - we are not going to do coupons (IMHO for the market we target, is small to med business, we think this will look cheap). On our main giveaway though we offer a free network audit.

We thought of havinga dissasembled computer and / or computer parts on show but again I beleive this will not attract the market we are after. As bagellad says we are selling safety, time and money. How to demo this is the issue!

rsavoia
09-27-2008, 04:11 PM
I have done expos and other shows and it is one of my favorite aspects of the business. In fact, I wouldn't mind doing it for a living if I could.

It takes a lot of planning and work to do it right but if you really think ahead you can really make your company stand out at an expo.

Here are a few tips I learned from doing them over the years.

1. Create a banner and other booth dressings. It isn't as expensive as you might think if you are creative and you can reuse them for other events. I ordered a 1.5' x 4' vinyl banner from a local sign shop with my company logo and it comes in quite handy for other things besides expos. Some shows will provide table skirts and other dressings but others won't, so you will want to have something handy to use just in case, preferably in your company colors.

2. Prepare a lot of marketing collateral. This includes business cards, flyers, promotional swag, etc. The purpose of an expo is to market yourself, so do it. There are a lot of different types of marketing collateral and you can even provide some very slickly produced material without having to create it yourself or even spending a dime.

For those who listen to The Force Field, you know I am big on vendor reseller or partner programs. This is one area where a partner program comes in handy. If you sell computer products and services as well as do break/fix work, you can promote those products at your booth. Many partner programs offer free or very cheap marketing collateral such as posters, brochures, flyers, product cards, white papers, etc. for their products. Usually all you have to do is log into their partner site and order them. Some of them send free banners, mouse mats and presentation CDs with demos and videos that you can display at the show. Many of these items are co-brandable, which means you can print or stamp your company contact info on them.

Some of the vendors I partner with even send free trial software CDs to give away.

Speaking of free, People love free stuff, even if it's something as simple as a bowl of mints or other candy. Put out some free stuff and that will bring them to the table. Once you have them there, you can pitch your services. However, you have to get them there first. The more enticements you have to attract them, the better.

Conduct a free drawing. Place a fishbowl on the table (without the fish) with a note to place their business card or contact info in it to win a prize. Provide a prize that has some real value that will make it worth their while to give you their info. Hint: sometimes you can give away a prize without it costing you anything out of pocket, such as a free diagnostics or optimization. You can sometimes also contact one of your vendors and request them to send you one of their products for the giveaway in exchange for promotional consideration. Be creative. That's part of the fun. The caveat: if you advertise the drawing, you must follow through and give away the prize.

The giveaway is one of the oldest and still most effective ways to get leads. It does several things: 1. it gets attention, 2. it promotes goodwill, 3. people give you their contact information, providing you with an instant, 100% valid list of live leads.

Give away free program CDs with your company info printed on them. Use free, open source programs that are legal to copy and distribute. Put some open source games, utilities or applications on them. Examples include OpenOffice.org, Firefox, The GIMP, etc. Include a marketing presentation or other materials about your business and put that on the CD as well. Print CD labels with your company logo, phone number, e-mail, URL and other contact info on it. If you have a CD printer so much the better.

This is something you can make and keep it around whenever you need something to give away. CDs are cheap and you only have to burn as many as you think you need. They also typically hang around someone's PC a lot longer than a business card.

I have a lot of other tips and suggestions for doing an expo but it is lunch time and this post is already too long. What I could do is take this post and expand it into a future article for theforcefield.net. Come to think of it, this would be an excellent topic for an episode of the show.

Hope that helps.

Rick

NWPhotog
09-27-2008, 10:27 PM
Great ideas Rick!

dipper
09-28-2008, 08:18 AM
I have done expos and other shows and it is one of my favorite aspects of the business. In fact, I wouldn't mind doing it for a living if I could.

Thanks for the ideas Rick.

I'm getting some banners made up. The first is for the rear wall and the other is one that is standalone and pulls up horiontally and attaches to a extendable arm (don't know the proper word for it).

Today I actually purchased some minties and mentos to have in a bowl for people to take.

In regards to the fishbowl idea - how many of the people who put their cards in are serious about doing business with your or are they just adfter the free prize?

I have to know contact various manufacturers to find out what goodies and tips they may have.

Keep the good ideas coming!

rsavoia
09-28-2008, 04:08 PM
In regards to the fishbowl idea - how many of the people who put their cards in are serious about doing business with your or are they just adfter the free prize?

The idea here is not how many people are in need of your services now, it is a matter of gathering contacts to build your own marketing list.

Instead of purchasing a "mailing" list from a company with names, addresses and phone numbers that may only be 30%-50% usable, you have your own list of leads that are nearly 100% usable. When I say live leads, I mean these are people you can actively pitch to because their information is accurate and by giving it to you they are giving you permission to contact them, as opposed to an unsolicited e-mail or phone call. Contact lists like that are gold to any business.

I have to know contact various manufacturers to find out what goodies and tips they may have.

Once again, that is simply a matter of joining the vendor's partner or reseller program and it is a lot easier than you think.

To make it even easier, I compiled a list of vendor partner programs and contact information in the IT Business Resource Directory at theforcefield.net. Since this is the sort of information we don't want to flaunt to our customers it is located in the Members Only area of the portal. Once you log in you will find a Members Menu and you can access the ITBR directory from there.

At the moment the list is not that long but it is enough to get you started. The list includes vendors I personally partner with and recommend. In fact, several of these vendors have provided me with a lot of marketing collateral for expos and other shows and it added a lot of legitimacy to my presentations.

rsavoia
09-28-2008, 04:09 PM
The idea here is not how many people are in need of your services now, it is a matter of gathering contacts to build your own marketing list.

Instead of purchasing a "mailing" list from a company with names, addresses and phone numbers that may only be 30%-50% usable, you have your own list of leads that are nearly 100% usable. When I say live leads, I mean these are people you can actively pitch to because their information is accurate and by giving it to you they are giving you permission to contact them, as opposed to an unsolicited e-mail or phone call. Contact lists like that are gold to any business.

Once again, that is simply a matter of joining the vendor's partner or reseller program and it is a lot easier than you think.

To make it even easier, I compiled a list of vendor partner programs and contact information in the IT Business Resource Directory at theforcefield.net. Since this is the sort of information we don't want to flaunt to our customers it is located in the Members Only area of the portal. Once you log in you will find a Members Menu and you can access the ITBR directory from there.

At the moment the list is not that long but it is enough to get you started. The list includes vendors I personally partner with and recommend. In fact, several of these vendors have provided me with a lot of marketing collateral for expos and other shows and it added a lot of legitimacy to my presentations.

dipper
09-28-2008, 11:59 PM
I just rec'd a reply back from Microsoft Australia.

They stated they WON'T give me anything! They state:

"Kindly be advised unfortunately Microsoft Promotions are only available through Microsoft events."

I find this incredible as I'm a registered MS partner.

abe
09-29-2008, 02:51 AM
Did you realy expect anything from microsoft!!!

SaylorComputer
10-20-2008, 06:38 AM
Did you realy expect anything from microsoft!!!

ROFLMAO!:D So True, So True!

dipper
10-20-2008, 09:27 AM
ROFLMAO!:D So True, So True!

I now should be getting some promo material from MS. They have even offered a full copy of MS Windows SBS for giveaway! :) It took a bit of hassling and going around the so called parter support team though.

FYI Another vendor has also given me full copies of their software, postit notes and pens! :D

thecoldone06
10-20-2008, 01:56 PM
There is a pretty cool networking video called "Warriers of the Net". It basically gives a high level overview of how networking works in a rather amusing way. You can download the video here (http://www.warriorsofthe.net/cgi-bin/download.pl/warriors-700-VBR?url=http://ftp.sunet.se/pub/tv+movies/warriors/warriors-700-VBR.mpg). Its 73 MB but if you haven't seen it, its fairly interesting.

dipper
10-28-2008, 11:44 AM
Just a followup to my original post.

I have just arrived back at the end of the two day expo. Its been a busy few days and my legs are sore.

A few comments:

We had a give away bag (white laminated bags with our stickers on them). The bags contents were:
- a windowed folder with brochures on us, our services, chargeout rates, system pricing and testimonials. Plus we had some computer tips etc.
- brochures from our local ISP.
- brochures from other partners. Plus some pens and posit notes from partners in a limited number of bags.

Our booth was 3m by 2m and we had a 2.5m x 1.5m banner across the back. A pullup banner on one side and a foldup table diagonally on the other side. On each side we hung up our giveaway bags on hooks.

On the table we had a 22" LCD showing a powerpoint presentation and a netbook, plus brochures, lollies and a bowl for business cards.

The best thing was the give away bags and us directly approaching people. A lot of people were going to walk straight passed us but stopped when we offerred them the bag. They then asked what we did and we usually also rec'd a business card.

Anyway thanks to everyone who replied to my original post and if anyone wants further info let me know.

abe
10-28-2008, 02:12 PM
Just a followup to my original post.

I have just arrived back at the end of the two day expo. Its been a busy few days and my legs are sore.

Hope the calls start coming in.