Maximize Your Experience at CES 2017 with Branded T-shirts

CES 2017

In a few short weeks, you’ll be at the world’s premiere consumer technology event, CES. For businesses in any industry, it’s the best opportunity to learn about upcoming consumer technologies that will change the face of consumer culture. If you’re one of the coveted brands attending as an exhibitor, this is really your chance to shine–and show a couple hundred thousand attendees what your brand is all about.

Organizing an exhibit for CES comes along with months–or at least weeks–of weighing out different strategies to help maximize the value of your brand’s presence there. In order to get the most out of the opportunity, it is your mission to ensure that your brand is likable, that people remember your brand, and that you create as many new connections as possible, all amidst thousands of other brands.

Here’s how you can maximize your presence and stand out from the thousands of other exhibitors at CES 2017.

Be Likable

One of the most important things you have to do to add value to your company’s CES presence is to make sure that people like your brand off the bat. There are thousands of other organizations there for the same purpose as you–2.47 million square feet of other brands, in fact. You’ll stand out from the crowd if you can present people with a takeaway they can enjoy after the show’s over.

Since CES attracts people from almost every industry, your best bet is staying as universal as possible. T-shirts with your brand’s logo, a funny slogan, or a unique, eye-catching design are a great way to appeal to the masses. There is almost nothing at tradeshows (or anywhere, for that matter) that people love more than free t-shirts. The folks who walk around the rest of the convention with your t-shirts after stopping by are always guaranteed to send others flocking to your tent in search of their own.

Be Memorable

CES exhibition floor
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Presenting a favorable image of your brand is great, but it’s useless if you’re forgotten about as soon as the convention is over. Another part of maximizing your CES presence is making sure your brand is memorable. Attendants are going to meet people from all over the country, from every industry, and from thousands of companies. Don’t be one of the brands forgotten when it’s all over.

For that purpose, giving out tangible items is always a good idea. Certain items will work better than others–eventually, food gets eaten, drinks get drunk, and pens dry up (plus, we heard exhibitors at last year’s show gave away enough pens for a lifetime.)

Giveaways that are long-lasting like t-shirts are going to bring people both the instant pleasure of getting something free, and the durable pleasure of having a souvenir for years to come. They might even look forward to getting a new version of your shirt year after year!

Rush Order Tees design t-shirts banner

Make High-Quality Contacts

CES 2016 exhibitor
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One of the biggest draws about attending an event as massive as CES (besides seeing all of the mind-blowing tech) is the potential to meet and network with the 177k+ other tech-geeks and business professionals. To get the full benefit out of the experience, you definitely want to make as many quality contacts as possible. You don’t need to worry about bringing 180,000 pens that will all get thrown away in the airport after the flight home to do so. T-shirts are a great, cost-effective way to help you effectively reach a huge number of people.

Giving out t-shirts won’t limit you. If you don’t want to order 180k shirts, you can simply create a strategy where you only give them away to quality contacts for your brand. One way is by having attendants interested in getting your free t-shirt give you their email address, or follow you on social media. That way you can measure ROI, and ensure that you give your shirts to people who are at least interested enough to stop and give you their information.

Rush Order Tees design nowDon’t Stress

Arguably the biggest way you’ll maximize your CES presence is to eliminate any stress. Nothing can ruin any experience like stress can. Stressing over what your company will be able to offer, or worrying that you’ll be one of the “forgotten” exhibits when the event is over is going to take all the fun out of it! Save yourself the worry.

Ordering t-shirts is as simple as selecting a color, uploading your logo or design, and receiving your shirts in the mail. You’ll then rest assured that your brand shows up with the #1 tradeshow giveaway item, and you can focus on the rest of the fun stuff.

Enjoy a successful and stress free CES 2017 – order branded t-shirts for your giveaway now!

5 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Next Business Conference

Business conference

Attending business conferences in your field is one the best ways to acquire new knowledge, network, and grow professionally overall. But with a number of speakers and sessions to choose from, it can be overwhelming to prioritize your actions in what really is a short period of time. Getting the most out of a conference primarily relies on your previous planning, and following conference attendance best practices.

Learn how to get the most out of a conference with these helpful tips!

Check and Review the Agenda

conference agenda booklet
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In order to decide which sessions deserve your attention, make sure to set conference attendance goals for yourself ahead of time. What is it that you’re most interested in learning about? Think of topics where you’re lacking some knowledge, or where you find is in particular need of improvement at your company. If there will be high-profile speakers in attendance, you may also want to prioritize your time accordingly.

Once you’ve figured out your most important sessions and speakers, plan the rest of your schedule around these pieces. Prioritize highly tactical sessions over speakers in some cases for takeaways that will be directly applicable to your position or business.

It’s also a good idea to plan for the future. Maybe there’s a session on something that’s up-and-coming in your industry, but isn’t a major topic of interest yet. Take some bets on the future with an investment in learning today.

Familiarize Yourself with the Conference Space

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If possible, get to know the conference space ahead of time so that you can avoid getting lost and spending more time navigating the area, than in speaking sessions or networking with other attendees. If you can’t physically tour the space, familiarize yourself with a conference map on the conference website.

Arriving late to the venue during the conference can set you back on learning valuable information, and might hurt your reputation with other industry people in attendance. Always aim to arrive early, well-rested, and energized for a day of learning and networking.

Listen More Than You Talk

From a learning perspective, attending a conference is more about listening than talking, especially during speaker sessions. But most speakers encourage questions, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to get more out of a session and interface with experts on a genuine business problem. Ask your question in a thoughtful manner, then stay quiet and listen carefully to absorb every bit of information the speaker is sharing.

The same holds true when networking between sessions or after the conference speaking sessions are over. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen more than you talk–it’s a much more effective networking tactic than constantly pushing yourself and your company. You’ll have your turn to speak, but make a positive first impression so that people are receptive to what you have to say at that point.

Know (or Get to Know) Other Attendees

Conference networking table
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If you’re going to take the time to familiarize yourself with the conference space, you should also take some pains to familiarize yourself with the people you’re going to be attending sessions with. Luckily, you can take steps figure out who will be at a conference ahead of the date:

A few ways to get to know attendees:

  • Check and see if there’s an event page/app connected to the conference where people are posting
  • See if there’s an event hashtag and monitor who’s using it
  • Ask colleagues in the industry if they’re going, and if they know anyone else who will be in attendance (then ask for an introduction!)

From there, attempt to set up casual or business-oriented meetings with attendees. Expanding your network with relevant industry connections is always a great use of conference time, and quite possibly even more rewarding than attending sessions.

Show Up Prepared

The same way you wouldn’t leave your house for work in the morning without a charged smartphone and your work laptop, make sure that you’ve prepared all the things you’ll be needing for your conference ahead of time. Conferences are usually held over multiple days, and you’ll need to be out for long hours each day. You can avoid some conference stress if you’ve taken the time to get things in order ahead of time. To do so, make sure you:

  • Bring your gadgets and chargers with you
  • Pack enough business cards (bring more, instead of less)
  • Bring any sales materials you find necessary (as long as you’re not being pushy, just being prepared)

When attending a conference, make it your goal to always to be alert. Register early and avoid getting in late. Impress your peers, but do not try to act like someone else or push business in an annoying way.

Keep your mindset focused on molding your career path and benefitting your company. But most importantly, don’t put too much stress on yourself. Don’t burn yourself out–give yourself some time to rest and relax, so that you’re ready for each conference day.

Do you have some tips for how to get the most out of a conference that we didn’t cover? We’d love your insight! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

5 Strategies for Increased Exposure at Your Next Trade Show

Strategies for trade show exposure

One of the best ways to gain exposure and potential clients is through trade shows. But when you join the ranks of companies representing themselves at trade shows, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Your competitors will likely also be present with flashy gimmicks designed to steal the show and get your customers’ attention.

Go into a trade show with the goal of gaining the maximum ROI in exchange for your time, effort, and money. Think of how to stand out at a trade show so that other businesses and attendees can’t help but talk about you.

Here are 5 strategies for maximizing exposure for your brand at your next trade show:

Get Started Before the Actual Exhibit

Seiko Instruments Mailer
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It’s common practice to create supporting marketing efforts for you exhibit or presence at any trade show. Technology company Seiko Instruments sent out the pre-show mailer above in anticipation for the SGIA (Speciality Graphic Imaging Association) EXPO. This let the show’s attendees know what booth they would be at ahead of time, and acted as a teaser for what attendees could expect to find at their booth.

Regardless of what you have planned for your exhibit, you should always make contact with the show’s attendees ahead of time to expose them and get them interested in your brand before they come across it in the showroom.

Create Buzz in a Fun Way

fun trade show exhibit basketball
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If you’ve already secured a booth, make sure you go about designing it so that people want to stop by and hang around for a bit. Offering activities, games, or other interactive experiences not only creates the opportunity for conversation whenever attendees pass by your booth, but will also give them something substantial to remember about your brand. 

Ultimately, how you go about creating this atmosphere will be based on the people behind the booth and your company culture, but any efforts to break up the monotony are appreciated.

Catch Attention with Great Displays

Jeep trade show display
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If you’re going to invest in a booth, make sure your displays are attention-grabbing and interesting. Many big companies bring dull and sad-looking displays to trade shows–a completely missed opportunity!

It’s easy to catch people’s attention with flashy and aesthetically pleasing things. Work with your design team, or consider hiring a company that specializes in exhibit design. The goal should be to bring life and color to your most important messaging. If your displays work really well for you, you might even opt to reuse them at future events!

Give Out Unique and Useful Freebies

Cord organizer freebie
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Exhibit “regulars” tend to give away the same branded swag to attendees, including pens, pins, logos, and t-shirts. Companies who have the most unique giveaway swag or designs tend to build the longest-lasting buzz.

Think of something you can give away that’s unique, but useful to people. If you give away something that people would want to wear, you should encourage them to put it on for more exposure! Something that they can use on a regular basis (pens, fans, mugs, etc.) are also great for creating a positive brand impression with recipients. Reusable bags can be a win if attendees are collecting a lot of swag–you’ll help them do it in the most efficient way possible.

Attendees love getting freebies, but most end up in the trash. Give them something that they’ll be sure to remember.

Follow Up Afterwards

Whether you send out another mailer, or an email with some kind of offering, you definitely want to follow up with your exhibit’s visitors shortly after the show. Thank them for stopping by, and offer them something valuable. Whether it’s a discount code to use on your site, or a chance to win a free sample of your product or service, your follow-up is a chance to drive the whole thing home. Finalize your connection, and make valuable leads into valuable clients.

Overall, take risks, have fun, and make sure to engage with your attendees in as man ways possible. Business matters are usually all too serious and formal, but with events like this, it’s okay to ditch the norm. Be the life of the event and stand out from the crowd. And if you’re looking for a great promotional wearable, get in touch with Rush Order Tees for help with design and execution.

The Best Promotional Items for Your Trade Show Exhibit

Tradeshow giveaways

Trade shows are an excellent promotional medium for companies looking to break into a certain industry, and also represent an exemplary medium for networking with industry professionals. Whether you’re walking around or grounded at a booth in the expo hall, it’s important to put your best foot forward in order to make high-quality contacts and obtain business leads.

Besides pamphlets, displays, and business cards, it is always necessary to stock your booth with promotional items emblazoned with your company’s branding and other relevant information. But not all promotional items are created equal–here are the best promotional items for a trade show.

Business Card Holder

Custom business card holder giveaway
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If you’re at a trade show, chances are pretty good that people are exchanging business cards like it’s going out of style. Make everyone’s lives a little bit easier by giving away a promotional item that will help them organize their own business cards, and the cards they’re receiving in return. You can even put yours in to start them off and give them an easy way to contact you after the convention!

Bottle Openers

Custom bottle opener giveaway
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Regardless of your industry, bottle openers make a great giveaway. They are durable, portable, and come in handy most when people are enjoying themselves–great brand association. situations. High-quality and well-designed bottle openers, such as the ones created by Custom Vintage Bottle Opener Co. as shown above, are even that much more appealing. You can use these for high-quality leads by offering the only to the attendees who participate in your exhibit’s events.

Journals

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Almost every job requires note-taking of some sort. Even in today’s world of laptops and other smart devices, notebooks are used at work every day, and they’re even better when they’re free. Better yet, they’ll work your brand into attendee’s daily work habits and you’ll be top of mind once they get back to the office. 

T-shirts

Data Driven promotional t-shirt
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We bet you already expected this one! Despite being on the pricier side when it comes to trade show giveaways, t-shirts remain the #1 promotional giveaway at any trade show event. They leave a larger and longer-lasting impression than many others on this list. You can even use them as an incentive to get someone to set up an appointment to talk with a member of your sales staff, or sign up for a free trial. Everybody wins!

Rush Order Tees has plenty of tools to help you design a winning t-shirt, and the capacity to ship rush orders if you’re a little behind on planning.

Headphones

Custom Headphone giveaway
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A step up from t-shirts in terms of budget are branded headphones. These work great at technology conferences or at conferences where people from all over travel to–they may have forgotten to bring a pair. Promotional items that are inherently useful are an excellent tool for creating goodwill between a prospect and a company.

Travel mugs

Creative Canon promotional mug
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Anyone can offer these promotional items, but they provide an opportunity to get pretty creative. The in example shown above, the Canon travel mugs, guised like camera lenses, served as both a buzz-worthy and useful giveaway. Your containers don’t have to be as complex as this–it’s impossible for coffee or tea-drinkers to have too many travel mugs, no matter what they look like!

A free trial or sample of your product

What better way to get people interested in what your company does than by giving them the chance to experience it? When you give away a free trial or sample of your product, you help build trust and are more likely to convert them to a short-term sale than some of the other promotional items listed above.

Regardless of what you choose, pick a promotional item that makes sense for your company and who you’re trying to connect with. If you know even a bit about your trade show attendees’ interests, you’ll be able to pick a promotional item that resonates with them. 

What are some of the best promotional items for a trade show that have worked for your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full with clients and projects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com and read her latest articles on Twitter: @MaddyOsman.

5 of the Most Creative Trade Show Exhibits

Creative tradeshow exhibitors

Trade show planning has come a long way from the classic information booth. Handing out your generic pens and flash drives just doesn’t resonate in today’s diverse markets, and doesn’t help you create new business relationships in any meaningful way. When done right, however, creative trade show exhibiting can be huge for your business. It’s a prime opportunity to engage new clients with your brand and generate some of the highest-quality leads. The exposure that you get at these events can directly lead to increased sales.

Savvy marketers are use their trade show exhibits as a part of complex, integrated marketing campaigns–and they’re yielding great results! If you’ve been thinking of getting creative with your trade show exhibition concept, these 5 exhibitors will surely get some of your wheels cranking.

Here are 5 of the most creative trade show exhibits, and the marketing campaigns that supported their success:

1. Promega Corp’s Coffee-Themed Campaign

Promega Corp coffee exhibit
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Despite a thriving market in 2015, biotechnology company Promega Corp was finding it difficult to land good returns on exhibit marketing. This led them to take a new approach for the 2015 European Society for Human Genetics conference.

They started with identifying and understanding their target market. They knew going into it that biotechnology scientists didn’t want to merely be sold to. Although sales were the ultimate goal, Promega’s exhibitor team knew that they needed to do more than present their brand–they needed to engage with their attendants in conversation. What better way to do this than over a cup of coffee?

Promega began their plan of attack prior to the event with email blasts priming guests to take part in an interactive cafe environment. At the conference registration, the show bags included coffee cup-shaped Promega flyers that offered each guest the chance to win a coffee mug. At Promega’s mini coffee shop exhibit, exhibitor “baristas” wore Promega branded aprons and offered their guests coffee. Their creative and warm approach allowed them to casually discuss attendees’ business problems over a cup of coffee. This led to doubled booth traffic from the previous year, and increased their quality leads by 400%.

2. Steelhead Productions “Play” Exhibit

Steelhead Productions Play exhibitors
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Steelhead Productions’ innovative exhibition captivated the whole crowd at EXHIBITOR2104. Their approach? A vintage carnival theme, complete with a ring toss, pop-corn machine, and fortune-teller machine–all of the carnival essentials.

Steelhead introduced the carnival to their attendees in several pre-show mailers, one of which included tickets for the exhibit’s ringtoss game and fortuneteller machine. For industry VIPs and press staff, the company also sent a gift bag containing peculiar branded items like lunch bags, sunglasses, yo-yos and lollipops.

Aside from resulting in an Eddie award-winning booth, Steelhead’s Play exhibit led to a 229% increase in leads from the previous year, in addition to a 48% increase in booth traffic. The company left the show with a whopping 88 qualified leads, and it ultimately led to $1 million worth of business in the following months. Saying this was a success would be an understatement!

3. Grand Hall USA’s Rock Band Display

Grand Hall USA's rock show exhibit
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The small manufacturer Grand Hall USA took a hardcore approach in order to stand out amidst its giant competitors. Their 2013 exhibit at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition featured a rock-n-roll theme crafted to appeal to their predominantly male, blue collar contractor demographic. Grand Hall used music, music videos, and animated clips to educate their new leads about how revolutionary their product actually was. The team collaborated with Texas-based rock-n-roll band The Walton Stout Band to create rock tracks that explained their complex External Hybrid systems in a catchy way. The exhibit, named the Hybrid Hysteria Tour, was complete with a stage setup, concert t-shirts, and VIP passes. 

To build up anticipation for their exhibit before IACHRE, Grand Hall send out mailer teasers that drove people to a microsite, where they were automatically entered into a drawing. One of the dozens of attendees who entered each day of the exposition was chosen to crush a guitar right there in the exhibit!

In the end, Grand Hall increased their leads by 85% from the previous year, obtaining 409 in total. Additionally, they received a 47% increase in media mentions with the buzz surrounding the campaign. Staffers continued to get questions about the t-shirts, and the exposition’s attendees could be seen wearing the shirts even months after the show was over. This example was a true testament to the lasting effects of a strong idea and a simple execution.

4. Derse Inc.’s Comfort Suites

Derse Inc.'s Comfort Suites
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Quite the opposite of a simple execution, marketing agency Derse Inc. used an extravagant display to encourage attendees to try something new. Their “Step Outside Your Comfort Zone” exhibit at EXHIBITOR2011 was complete with a tower-topping amusement ride.

The exhibit itself was created to sharply contrast the comfortable with the uncomfortable, thrilling, and, for some, scream-inducing. Derse employees wearing plain white shirts, khakis, and converse welcomed attendees into an exhibit that appeared very cozy. Silk string hung from the ceiling, sofa-sized bean bag chairs invited guests to take a seat, and the scent of chocolate chip cookies filled the air.

Attendees got to sit and converse comfortably before they were led (with glow sticks) to venture ‘outside of the comfort zone.’ Outside of the comfort zone, staffers wore darker-colored tones like black and grey. They invited attendees to sit on benches comprised of screws and fed them wild hibiscus flowers.

At the end of the exhibition tour, each attendee was invited to Derse’s after-hours event, where they could continue to push their boundaries (bellydancing, anyone?). They were also offered a ticket to ride an amusement ride, Insanity, which dangled the riders from atop Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower.

The whole campaign led the company to a 19% increase in leads from the previous year, and approximately $750,000 in revenue. The creative execution paid off all around.

5. Xirrus, Inc.’s Boxing Theme

Xirrus Inc's Boxing exhibit
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How does a small company stand up to its giant competitors? Fight for the audience’s attention of course! Wifi network provider Xirrus, Inc. took this quite literally at Interop Las Vegas 2009, an annual show in Information Technology. Xirrus wanted to let convention attendees know that their device could deliver more bandwidth and coverage than its competitors, while requiring fewer devices, a shorter installation time, and less cabling. Since they were generally unknown in the market at the time, they set up a round of boxing matches that they knew would capture the crowds.

Their boxing match was complete with an announcer, a professional referee, and, of course, a ring girl to announce the rounds. Xirrus hired boxers from the Richard Steele Boxing Agency to compete in real intense boxing matches, with the exhibition attendees choosing the winners based on their applause.

The results for Xirrus were obvious, both immediately and in the months following Interop. The company’s booth traffic from the previous year had quadrupled–the boxing ring drew in approximately 3,000 attendees, and the booth scanned more badges than any of the competitors at the convention.  In the months following, the show generated $1 million in related sales.

Injecting a bit of creativity into your exhibit’s campaign is vital if you want to create valuable leads at your next tradeshow. All it takes is a bit of planning ahead–come up with a solid concept, get to work, and make sure you implement the marketing to support it. Happy exhibiting!

Maximize the Value of Your Dreamforce Presence with T-Shirts

Dreamforce

In a few short weeks, you’ll be at the world’s premiere Salesforce event, Dreamforce. For businesses in any industry, it’s the best opportunity to learn how to maximize your organization’s investment in Salesforce, hear from thought leaders and industry pioneers, and make valuable connections to grow your network. If you’re one of the coveted brands attending as an exhibitor, this is really your chance to shine–and show almost a couple hundred thousand attendees what your brand is all about.

Organizing an exhibit for Dreamforce comes along with months–or at least weeks–of weighing out different strategies to help maximize the value of your brand’s presence there. In order to get the most out of the opportunity, it is your mission to ensure that your brand is likable, that people remember your brand, and that you create as many new connections as possible, all amidst thousands of other brands.

Be Likable

Dreamforce funny t-shirts
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One of the most important things you have to do to add value to your company’s Dreamforce presence is to make sure that people like your brand off the bat. There are thousands of other organizations there for the same purpose as you–an entire square mile of other brands, in fact. You’ll stand out from the crowd if you can present people with something they like. Since Dreamforce attracts people from almost every industry, your best bet is staying as universal as possible.

T-shirts with your brand’s logo, a funny slogan, or a unique, eye-catching design are a great way to appeal to the masses. There is almost nothing at tradeshows (or anywhere, for that matter) that people love more than free t-shirts. The folks who walk around the rest of the convention with your t-shirts after stopping by are always guaranteed to send others flocking to your tent in search of their own.

Be Memorable

Dreamforce Trailhead bear
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Making sure you present a favorable brand is great, but it’s useless if you’re forgotten about as soon as the convention is over. Another part of maximizing your Dreamforce presence is making sure your brand is memorable. Attendants are going to meet people from all over the country in every industry and from thousands of companies. Don’t be one of the brands forgotten when it’s all over.

For that purpose, giving out tangible items is always a good idea. Certain items will work better than others–eventually, food gets eaten, drinks get drunk, and pens dry up. Giveaways that are long-lasting like t-shirts are going to bring people both the instant pleasure of getting something free, and the durable pleasure of having a souvenir for years to come. They might even look forward to getting a new version of your shirt year after year!

Make High-Quality Contacts

Dreamforce exhibitor floor
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One of the biggest draws about attending an event as massive as Dreamforce is the potential to meet and network with the 180k+ other professionals. To get the full benefit out of the experience, you definitely want to make sure you make as many quality contacts as possible. You don’t need to worry about bringing 180,000 pins that will all get thrown away in the airport after the flight home. T-shirts are a great, cost-effective way to help you effectively reach a huge number of people.

Giving out t-shirts won’t limit you. If you don’t want to order 180k shirts, you can simply maximize the quality of the contacts you give them away to. One way is by having attendants interested in getting your free t-shirt give you their email address, or follow you on social media. That way you can measure ROI, and ensure that you give your shirts to people who are at least interested enough to stop and give you their information.

Don’t Stress

Arguably the biggest way you’ll maximize your Dreamforce presence is to eliminate any stress. Nothing can ruin any experience like stress can. Stressing over what your company will be able to offer, or worrying that you’ll be one of the “forgotten” exhibits when the event is over is going to take all the fun out of it! Save yourself the worry.

Ordering t-shirts is as simple as selecting a color, uploading your logo or design, and receiving your shirts in the mail. You’ll then rest assured that your brand shows up with the #1 tradeshow giveaway item, and you can focus on the rest of the stuff, like what song U2 is going to open with.

Enjoy a successful and stress free Dreamforce 2016 – order branded t-shirts for your giveaway now!