This little seemingly insignificant 2″ x 3 1/2″ piece of paper can be the difference between a follow up or no follow up after a networking event like a Trade Show, or Conference.
There are really only 2 purposes for your business card, Establish your Brand and provide your Contact Information.
Here are some tips about what NOT to do with your card.
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
Don’t make your font too small. Avoid light colors and distracting elements.
Your name, company and relevant contact information should be easy to read at arm’s length. Don’t make me get my readers out. It makes us both look bad.
Only include social icons if it is important to your company.
If you haven’t secured your vanity URL ( ie: www.Facebook.com/MarkitMotion ) then a Facebook icon is unhelpful. Facebook thanks you for the advertising though. You must list the full URL if you can’t be found by name.
Unless you have a purpose for showcasing your social presence, leave it off your card. If you don’t manage your social sites, it’s like inviting someone to your house when you’re out of town.
Your Business Card is not a brochure. Decide what’s important first, before you design it.
Do you need your address if no one ever comes to your business?
Do you use a fax anymore?
Is your logo the same as on your website or store front? Policing your brand is crucial to building trust. Be sure your logo is consistent and clear.
Don’t forget about the back of your card. This is a great place to share your brand message or logo. Reinforce a promise or give directions.
Throughout history we’ve relied on our calendars to track and plan events. Without them we wouldn’t have weekends or Holidays. 45 BC was called “The year of confusion” because Julius Caesar added 80 days to the year to synchronize it with the solar year.
Our Western calendar has deep roots in the Roman calendar, so it’s no wonder the months come from Roman words. It gets confusing at the end because many of the later months are just numbers, but they are wrong according to our current calendar. The Roman Calendar started in March. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar named January as the first month of the year that we had 12 months as we know it now.
What’s in a name? Do you know the origin of the months of the year?
January – Janus the Roman God of beginnings and endings
February – Februa a Roman festival of Purification
March – Mars the Roman God of war
April – Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of love
May – Maia the Italic Goddess of Spring
June – Juno the Goddess of Marriage
July – Julius Caesar named the month after himself
August – Augustus Caesar also named a month after himself
According to a 2018 study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 64% of people in the workplace own a promotional calendar and they view it 850 times a year. A $3 investment in a calendar will cost only $0.003 per impression. Very Impressive!
Get your company name on one and they won’t forget you for an entire year.
Whether you’re a first time Trade Show Exhibitor, or a seasoned professional attending multiple trade shows every year, the experience can be both fun and exhausting. Attracting attendees to your booth, then sorting out the qualified prospects will ‘make or break’ the experience.
You’re making a significant investment in being a trade show exhibitor so be sure you manage the process effectively after the event. Even the best looking booth won’t bring in business unless you follow through and take action on the connections you make.
8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success
1) Pre-Show Marketing
Let the attendees know you’re there and where to find you. Obtain a list of the attendees weeks before the show from the trade show facilitator so you can communicate with them before they arrive. Some effective methods of reaching attendees are email, direct mail, social media, and mentions on your website.
2) Set Goals
First you have to understand why you’re exhibiting. Most will say ‘to get sales’ but you need a more defined goal to make the goal actionable. Do you want to collect leads to pass on to your sales department for follow up? Do you want to make the sale on the spot? Maybe you’re there just for brand recognition in a specific industry.
3) Evaluate your Lead Collection Method
Simply displaying a fish bowl to collect business cards for a prize is not an effective lead collection method. All you learn is that they want a prize. Prizes are good, but be sure to have people fill out a short registration form to capture more information if that’s your draw. Not all attendees are prospects so focus on lead quality, not counts.
Ask for type of business, product interest, purchasing authority, contact info, etc.. Whether you’re using an electronic lead management system or a simple printed follow up form, include a limited number of qualifiers (hot lead, send salesperson, mail literature) to the form to get them in the correct follow up bucket.
4) Create a Winning Trade Show Booth
A free standing floor graphic wall provides an 8’ or 10’ backdrop to attract attention and tell your story. A less expensive option is to use 3 or 4 free standing retractable banners next to each other to create a similar affect. Tables are usually provided to exhibitors with a blank table throw. Use this 30” x 72” space to reinforce your brand with your own Custom Table Throw.
One note here – AVOID the temptation to place the table in front of your booth separating you from your prospects. Place it along the side of your booth to keep your space open and inviting.
5) Staff Training
Choose the employees that will staff your booth carefully. Representatives must be engaging, approachable and trained to understand the goals you set for the trade show. Not all of your staff needs to be trained for answering detailed questions about the product or service, but you should have at least one person available to field the detailed questions.
Provide your staff with qualifying questions to ask during training to avoid investing too much in the time-wasters that will show up just for the SWAG.
Also provide your staff with casual uniforms like a polo shirt with an embroidered company logo so the attendees can identify them. A visually cohesive team adds a level of professionalism and strength to your brand. Selecting a shirt color that reflects your brand adds to the booth appearance. It’s also great when your team is recognized walking through the convention because of your stand out company colors.
6) Booth Giveaways
Part of the fun of attending a trade show is gathering great giveaways from each booth. Use this to your advantage and provide thoughtful items that create a buzz at the show. You don’t need to spend a lot on these giveaways for them to be effective.
A simple Toy can go physically viral at a show while attendees play with them and others ask, “where did you get that?” Imagine colorful toys flying around the show sporting your company logo. Items they display instead of tossing in their bag are great walking advertisements.
A simple 3” dia. button that reads “My Name is Jim” can created a buzz throughout the show. Everyone will be calling each other Jim and they want their own custom button to be part of the fun.
Keep your printed handouts minimal. Attendees are walking around with an event tote bag full of business cards, branded giveaways and brochures. Their totes are too heavy for your complete printed catalog.
7) Daily Staff Debriefing
A daily staff gathering after the exhibit hall closes provides instant insights into what worked and what didn’t. Take notes no matter how unimportant the observations might seem. Most attendee feedback is forgotten shortly after the dust settles. The feedback on what wasn’t successful will help you avoid the same mistakes next time.
Remember that you’re seeing the trade show as an exhibitor but it’s the attendee experience you want to know more about.
8) Lead Follow up System
Prepare your follow up system before you exhibit at a trade show. You need to act quickly while you’re still fresh in their minds. Remember, trade shows are exhausting and attendees visit hundreds of exhibits while at the show. Make quick notes on the back of a business card to remind you of a discussion that will set you apart. When you send out a speedy response with a personal note it will insure you are remembered.
If literature or samples were requested from your company, send a daily mailing list to the office to have that information mailed out the next day
If they requested a call from a salesperson make sure all follow up calls are made within one week of the show.
If the conversation was more detailed and an estimate was requested, prepare the estimating department for multiple requests and demand that they are expedited.
An email from your company thanking attendees for stopping at your booth and reminding them that you are acting on their request will continue the relationship. This reconnection is also an opportunity to include clickable links to your website for more information.
Following these 8 Steps to Trade Show Exhibitor Success to assist in your Preparation, Execution & Lead Follow up to assure that you realize a substantial return on your investment.
Every year the Holidays sneak up on us. Not that we haven’t been forewarned 4 months ahead of time when the Holiday decorations start to show up in retail stores.
At first, we ignore it because it’s too ridiculously soon to even think about it. Then, before you know it December 15th arrives and we scramble for appropriate business gifts.
Remember that your gift should be a gift of Gratitude, not a billboard. It’s not the time for a T-shirt or a Padfolio with a calculator.
Be Tastefully Thoughtful
Sweets are a universally welcomed gift for the Holidays. They’re not just for the CEO or Business Owner, but for the entire office to enjoy throughout the Season. Showing your Gratitude to the entire customer’s office will get you more kudos from the boss than giving him or her something just for them.
Neatly packaged, and Tastefully Branded, professionally prepared Food Gifts are an excellent Corporate Gift for the Holidays. Your customers and their employees will be reminded of your gratitude with every tasty bite.
Your printed logo on the ribbon is a tasteful way to show you care without being self-serving.
Get it Off Your Plate and Onto Theirs
For your convenience, many food manufacturers can ship your gifts directly to your customers. This service eliminates the hassle of shopping, packaging and shipping.
Compact sized and foldable, it lists every game for every week of the season in an easy to read format. Folding to the size of a credit card, this must-have for any football fan is great to carry along and handout at your next event.
Make sure to customize this football schedule with an imprint of your company name or logo and have your clients carry your brand all season long!
Sometimes you have to go big to really stand out. Large Format Printing attracts the attention of onlookers at trade shows conventions, presentations and other events. Large images and graphics deliver content in a big way and get results.
Fast and effective, Large Format Printing can be done with any image or logo as long as it’s produced from the correct file format.
Banners, floor graphics and billboards are examples of Large Format Printing. Our creative team knows what it takes to deliver quality large format printing.
Here are some basic guidelines:
Artwork: In general you should use vector graphics in the artwork wherever practical, and deliver final artwork saved as a PDF. To avoid pixilation, provide high resolution files.
Material: Choose a material appropriate for the conditions. Indoor displays don’t need to be waterproof, while windy conditions require reinforcement.
Usage: Many large displays are designed to be used repeatedly, sometimes for many years, like a Trade Show Booth. Street Banners, however, may only be needed for a month to announce and event in the park. Choose wisely and don’t overspend.
Get noticed and draw attention to your Trade Show Booth with this impressive display that’s surprisingly easy set up.
Creative copy and stunning photography utilized to tell your story leaves a (hopefully) lasting perception of your company. The words and images convey throughout both digital and printed communications the same as when they are viewed by your audience.
Sight, however, is only one of our 5 senses, leaving us with other opportunities to convey our brand.
The FINISHES on a Direct Mailer, Brochure or Invitation can send a message to the end user in a more subtle, lasting way.
We’re programmed to block out advertising images and words because of the constant bombardment we experience daily. But if you add a soft coating or interesting shape to your message will get in through the sense of ‘touch’. And aren’t we trying to get our customers to feel something about us in our marketing efforts?
Here are some simple finishes that will add a tactile experience:
Some of the most common coatings used to stimulate the reader’s senses are Aqueous, Varnish and UV.
Aqueous Coatings are applied in-line on some printing presses, so it’s a reasonably priced and very effective option. These finishes can add a gloss, satin or soft touch experience to your print. It is only available in an overall coat.
Varnishes are applied on the press as well, but printed with a plate like laying down an additional color of ink. These finishes are available in gloss or matte. Varnishes are the least obvious coatings and not recommended for a high sheen.
UV Coating is applied off press as a secondary process. It can be applied as an overall finish or as a spot finish highlighting only chosen parts of the brochure. This process provides the highest contrast of coating and will make the coated images pop off the sheet.
Die Cutting is used to create a shape. A die for the shape is made and each sheet is cut one piece at a time on a separate press after it’s printed.
Round Corners, Business Card Slits and Index Tabs are the most common examples of die cutting but you can let your imagination run wild with this one and cut any shape you can think up.
Careful with the mailing pieces though, the post office has very strict rules about die cut mailings.
Folding creates anticipation. The process of unfolding a creatively designed piece is stimulating because the reader anticipates the next step. They are lead to read the next page as it’s revealed to them.
Your customer can hear and feel the quality of the paper as they unfold your message. Here are some creative, cool folds that you don’t see every day.
Packaging generates excitement. Ever since we were kids, receiving a gift has always been exciting. And opening that package has been a big part of that titillating experience. Presentation is everything.
A catalog sent in a FedEx Mailer is way more fun to receive than someone handing it to you in person. That “ZIP” when the package is opened creates just a little more emotion that adds to the message.
Package your message to create some feeling before they begin reading the message inside.
Envelopes are the most common form of packaging so don’t forget their importance. Increase your open rate by adding a message to the outside. Consider paying full first class postage- use a live stamp and hand-write the address. Your Grandma does and you never throw her stuff away.
Chipboard Mailers, like the FedEx Letter mailer mentioned above, can be customized with your message. We guarantee that it will be opened and involves a recognizable sound when it’s unzipped.
Boxes of all shapes and sizes can be sent to hold dimensional or heavy pieces like samples, catalogs or promotional products that enhance your message. Boxes offer the most secure delivery of your message without damage.
The next time you put together a marketing campaign, consider the other 4 senses that are available to tell your story. And yes, you can add candy hearts to your box with your logo on them to involve taste too.
You’re in a meeting discussing the need for a new brochure and redesigning your company logo, when George (from accounting) offers to create the logo for FREE. Everyone’s excited that the project can be done in-house and you’ll save tons of money because it’s free.
Sounds like a great idea right?
Wrong. Nothing comes for free. Free is costly and free can be damaging.
You may not know how much revenue is lost if a design is done poorly. But if you miss the mark with your customers, you will lose business. Maybe a lot of business!
Do you have someone on staff that can design a logo for free? What does that mean anyway?
Doesn’t it mean they are going to stop doing the job you are paying them to do to dabble in design?
Doesn’t it also mean that if they were a great designer, they probably wouldn’t be working for you in accounting?
Even if your billing representative artist comes up with a new design, they may not understand the file formats needed for various projects.
An incorrect logo file format might be:
Rejected by a printer
Incompatible with different computers
Painfully slow to download
Reproduce with terrible results
Be sure your designer can do more than sketch something fresh. If the designer happens to be your boss’s sister, you’ll want to approach this gently.
Professional printers will typically ask that the artwork be created as an .eps file.
Experienced designers know exactly which file type to use.
Asking your designer to provide the final artwork as an .eps file might be all you need to do to avoid a lot of pain and money lost later.
Even the stickiest marketing messages can get stale and outdated over time. On average, everyday we’re bombarded with 14,000 advertising messages when you add up all of the emails, billboards, TV Commercials, etc.. Only a few of them stick.
It’s a daunting number but still far fewer than the estimated 1 million stale pieces of gum stuck to the famous “Gum Wall” in Pike Place Market in Seattle. In the 1990s, visitors began sticking their gum to the wall while waiting in line at Seattle’s Market Theatre in Post Alley.
Once named the world’s second-germiest tourist attraction, Seattle’s Gum Wall is second only to Ireland’s Blarney Stone. Pike Place Market’s gum wall will soon be scrubbed of 20 years’ buildup. Seattle is refreshing their gum wall this weekend because they are running out of space. But you can be sure that the tradition will start over and a new fresh wall of stale gum will appear very quickly.
Seattle is refreshing their gum wall this weekend because they are running out of space. But you can be sure that the tradition will start over and a new fresh wall of stale gum will appear very quickly.
Maybe it’s time to refresh your stale marketing message with a more current flavor like this wrapped coffee mug. Imagine your mug amongst the choices in the office breakroom and be sure it stands out. Keep the message simple and graphic strong on this branded coffee mug so this one ends up lasting in the hands of your customers.
When you combine the internet, television, radio, billboards and direct mail we’re exposed to 14,000 advertising messages every day but only 5 of them stick with us for more than 24 hours.
Summer is the season for outdoor activity that brings more pedestrian meanderers, road trips and outdoor events offering some new possibilities for marketing your business. Street side flags, sidewalk signs and promotional canopies are some ideas that may apply to your business.
Here are 6 tips for designing a sign that will be remembered.
1) SIZE & SCALE
The biggest difference in designing a sign is scale. Considering that a brochure is maybe 8 1/2″ x 11″ and a business card is 3 1/2″ x 2″, large scale design requires a different mindset when designing it.
Signs have to be read and understood from a distance; often by people who only have a few seconds to look in that direction. Everything should be big and simple for maximum impact.
Billboards can be 14′ x 48′ so art file resolution is paramount and vector art is required to avoid a blurry image when enlarged.
Designing for location can be tricky if a single design is going to be used for different environments. If you design a sign with a sky blue background that will have the sky behind it, it will blend in too much and not get noticed.
A sidewalk sign or street-side flag, however, may have lots of different colors behind it, so a bold solid color may be your best choice to break through the clutter.
3) COLOR & GRAPHICS
Generally graphics and color should be bright and saturated. Avoid light colors or pastels and opt for colors that will stand out – especially between your text and background.
For images and graphics, pick a single element and go big with it. Your design has to catch the viewer’s attention in a second and a single, simple focal point will help.
Color can be one of the most important decisions you’ll make in designing an effective sign.
Go Big and Bold!
Keep it Simple
4) TYPOGRAPHY & MESSAGE
Aside from the company logo, pick a single typeface. A san serif font works best for signs.
And make it big! Think about lettering in terms of 10 to 100, that’s 10″ tall for every 100′ of viewing distance.
Bold lettering can increase the readability from a distance but avoid italics as they confuse the view.
An industry standard is to keep your message at 15 words or less and use the 3 x 5 rule. That’s 3 lines of 5 words or 5 lines of 3 words. Less is better if you can make your point.
Simple, Bold Type
Simple, Short Message
While contrast is an important consideration of any design project, it is especially important when you only have a couple of seconds to get someone’s attention.
Every focal point must be clearly distinguishable.
With type, size and simplicity as key factors, selecting colors that stand out from one another will help get your message noticed.
While I’m personally not a fan of using borders in design, the use of a border can help to create a contrast between your sign and the background environment. Of course, using a border on a street-side flag will not make much sense.
Bold Colors Create Contrast
Borders are OK
Substrate is the material that your message is being printed on. Knowing the material and method of printing can help in your design process.
Whether it’s a vinyl banner, fabric flag or a graphic-wrapped bus, consulting with your manufacturer can help you provide the appropriate art files for best results.
Knowing if your sign will be for indoor or outdoor use can help you select the appropriate substrate to print your message on.
Select Lasting Material
Most designers don’t spend their day designing signs. Typically it will be the same person who creates brochures and business cards and only asked to design a large format graphic for special occasions like tradeshows, outdoor events or special promotions.
Reaching out to your manufacturer before you begin designing for large format graphics can help you avoid the headaches that may come after the design is finished.