Recent You Are Here Email Marketing Campaign for a client
At a tradeshow, your goal is to get the highest number of qualified leads to visit your booth. Standing out from the rest of the exhibitors is a real challenge. What you need is a GREAT creative, right? But before you jump into designing that great creative I’d say “take a breath.” Building a good ad to support your tradeshow exhibition should not be a one-off project or require all-new processes or elements. Tradeshow advertising is like any advertisement you create. You’ll need a clear strategy to engage the most qualified prospects – and that starts with a good plan, moves to a good analysis, inspires a good design and delivers with good media.
Start at the beginning and make a plan.
- Identify what you are trying to accomplish with the advertisement.
- Focus on the actual customers you are after – the overall market of the event is too broad to address.
- Relate your message to your target.
- Match your visuals to the message you have created.
- Simplify your advertisement by cutting out unnecessary elements.
- Select a display media that extends beyond your booth, leverages the digital elements you build for your other marketing efforts, and fits your budget.
Who is the advertisement meant for?
Are you targeting the operating staff? Are you after management? Are you after 35 year old middle-income single males in the US Northeast? Again, write down your targeted customer and be very specific. If it helps, a side exercise that gets you focused can be profiling your customer. Go onto a stock photo website, (iStockPhoto, GettyImages, Stock Exchange, etc) and find an image of someone that looks like they could be your customer. Copy and paste the low-resolution photo into a MSWord document. Give each one a name, a company, a job title, and explain what they need. Create just a few of them. (Otherwise you might get caught up in the exercise and never get your advertisement done!) The whole process may sound silly, but putting a face and a story behind a customer is really helpful when it comes to relating to your potential customer at a personal level.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Did your company just release a new product line? Did you just add a new feature to your software? Are you able to offer more competitive pricing because of a recent channel partner? Are you trying to get people to buy into you over your competition? What is your goal with this particular advertisement and this particular campaign? Don’t worry about structuring the entire year’s message and brand positioning right here now – that’s for another day. Write down your goal for this specific advertisement only. Pick the most important thing to accomplish and don’t try to squeeze in multiple accomplishments. Squeezing in too much can lead to a bad advertisement. After all, you only have the potential visitor’s attention for a few seconds…if you are lucky.
Relate your message to your prospect.
Now that you know what it is you are announcing or offering, and exactly who you are targeting, it’s time to brainstorm! How can you relate to your potential customer on a personal level? What problems do they have that you can solve? Why do they want what you have to offer? Why do they need what you have to offer? Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself “What is it they are looking for? What is going to make them take action?” Set aside a couple of ideas so you have options to work with. The last thing you want to do is to back yourself in a corner with one idea – especially if you’re working with others in your own organization with their own perspectives.
Some concepts lead to multiple solutions, then it's just a matter of preference.
If you have trouble relating to your clients on a personal level, can you tie into a memorable theme? Example: February is here… SuperBowl, Valentine’s Day, Olympics…
Match your visuals to your message.
You have a message and a theme that your customer can relate to now. The next step is to create or find an appropriate visual that helps you portray exactly what you need it to. This is the most important part of your advertisement. Once someone can identify with you, they will give you a few seconds of their time to hear what else you have to say. Here is your chance to sell them. Don’t be the guy at the networking event who hands everyone a business card and leaves. Nobody remembers him, and nobody really likes him. Strike up a personal conversation with your advertisement as the medium between you and your potential customer.
Relate to them first and call for their action second. Utilize visual hierarchy – in short that means put emphasis on the most important part of the message via color, size, font weight, font style, and/or placement. Plan out how each part of the message comes across.
Don’t have time for visuals?
No designer at your company? You can find a stock photo or related graphics online, or you can pull off the entire advertisement with just text and color. It’s been done successfully 1,000 times before. Avoid Wing Bats, Wing Dings, Times New Roman, Papyrus, and Mickey Mouse fonts. Seriously, don’t use them! This is not a personal vendetta against them, they are just easy to overuse and misuse as they come standard on many computers and in many applications. For some reason, too many ads use them despite their blatant awfulness.
There’s clutter on the show floor – but not in your ad!
Avoid cluttering up the ad. Every inch of the space does not have to be used – white space is okay to have! While I understand you paid for every pixel of space, your message needs to be clear. Avoid multicolor backgrounds, tie-dye, and strong gradients (like white to black). If you find something hard to read, then it’s hard to read. Change it.
Look at what you have come up with. You have one shot to catch their attention, to relate to them, and to generate interest. Don’t go overboard! Look at each element of the advertisement and deem if it is necessary or not. Most of the time you should be able to cut at least one element out of what you make. Keep only the necessary.
Now it’s time to share your work. You now need to get your message out but your distribution choices are many. Are you messaging before the show? During? After? Print or digital – or both? How, when, and where? Every media choice you examine comes with its own issues of deliverables, placement, demographics, timing and costs. We’ll write about some good options for events in another blog soon, but meanwhile…good luck building your ad!
First and foremost, if you give what I have said an honest trial, let me know how things worked out for you. If you have a sample advertisement created by these steps, post a link and share it! Second, if you have additional tips or steps to your design process, please jump in!