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Old 09-26-2008, 11:44 AM
dipper dipper is offline
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Default Exhibiting at a Business Expo

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.
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:09 PM
ootuoyetahi ootuoyetahi is offline
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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.
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:24 PM
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abe abe is offline
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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.
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:56 PM
NWPhotog NWPhotog is offline
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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.
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:27 PM
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Don't forget you are selling safety, time and money not just computers! Business people want to know how it helps them.
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:32 PM
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Default camstudio


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.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:17 PM
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Default Powerpoint

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.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:27 AM
dipper dipper is offline
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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!
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Old 09-27-2008, 05:11 PM
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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 Savoia
Host of The Force Field podcast for IT Service Providers
Episode 68 - How To Quit Your Job and Start a Computer Business Part 1

Last edited by rsavoia; 09-27-2008 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:27 PM
NWPhotog NWPhotog is offline
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Great ideas Rick!
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