We are super proud of the recent success CNC PRO owners Josh and Samantha Dressler (of ETCH AZ) had at a recent Home show and it inspired us to talk about how to grow your business with a Home/Trade show. We have had a few CNC PRO owners see their business take off after investing in a show. Let us share some tips to help as we have done home shows and trade shows alike.
Many shows offer a planning guide, many times called a prospectus. It is a good idea to check it out as it will have times for set up, security, and general audience information. There are also offers in it for advertising opportunities like signs and promotional stand outs. Depending on budget it might be worth it. We have found that paying for some promotional upgrades, like event website stand outs, can help the audience find you better. There are sometimes live events you can help sponsor that will drive traffic to your booth. Either way it is a good thing to read and study to help you succeed at their show.
Tip from Josh: Location is key “the booth location was key as we wanted a main aisle and corner booth. Luckily, we got both and were placed next to a very popular nursery booth, so we got great traffic all weekend”.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Pay the extra for your logo to stand out on the floor directory. Some shows will have over 100 vendors. If you’re just a name, people can overlook you. If your logo is on the directory, you can get noticed better”.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
What kind of people should be at the show? Are you attracting homeowners or professional firms? Knowing who is the primary traffic that will be at the show helps you prepare to market to them. If it is an area crazy for a sports team, then have their logos in your booth. Are you targeting architects? Then have some blue prints around showing how you can spec a job. Are you targeting home owners? Then have family friendly looking displays. Knowing your audience makes sure you are not wasting your time at the event.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Knowing your audience helps you target them. We have been to both home shows and big events like World of Concrete. We can say our approach for both shows is different and helps us decide how we are going to present and set a budget for the best ROI (return on investment)”.
You want to grab people’s attention, so they want to investigate you. You can get advice from design experts as they will give you tips on colors or how to make your booth interesting with special design, or just ask someone you know that has done a few shows. RedArt Technologies community is always willing to help each other with ideas. You don’t want to look like a student set up but a polished professional business. You also want to have some marketing materials included with relation to booth design.
Tip from Josh: “We had business cards, postcards and “info sheets” with pictures, plus have a brochure with pics of the different things the machine can do”.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Get people in and walk around. Make it interactive as we like to run the machine and trigger their vision”.
PROMOTE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
A lot of people are on social media watching for events and wanting to connect with companies. Never underestimate the power of pre-show promoting to get your audience to want to look for you before the gates even open. We at RedArt make sure to use our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts to announce where we are going to be and encourage people to stop by. While at the event we will do LIVE broadcasts and record conversations we might use after the event.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Social Media is our bread and butter of marketing. Get a following and let them know where you will be. Make it easy and make it fun”.
Tip from Josh: “We aggressively promoted the “mobile” aspect of the machine. Telling them we could engrave on existing surfaces like concrete etc. business logos, etc. Most of the people that understood it went crazy and their heads immediately started thinking. That was my main goal for this show, to get them thinking and create a buzz about the capabilities of the machine”.
STAND OUT (goodies to gimmicks)
People love swag. You will have people that will stop by your booth looking for swag so don’t let them down. At the same time, be smart about what you have to offer. It’s good to have some cheaper items like pens or branded candy. Then also reserve some bigger swag to offer to some potential customers to remember you by. You could even have an object that you might want to auction off to get people really interested in your company as everyone likes the idea of winning something. Think about your audience and what kind of swag you could offer that helps you stand out and they will remember you.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Have some pricy swag to the side for the right targets. We found out the hard way that some swag can cost more and clients know when they are treated special. Pens are fun but custom coins and electronics can make an impression that leads to a sale for the right target”.
Tip from Josh: “We had a “show special” of a 32″x24″ flagstone address marker for $150 (which normally goes for $250-$350). We sold a ton of those which even at that price we still made money and created a buzz. We are still getting calls over a week later”.
HAVE SAMPLES OF WORK
It is not always enough to just talk about what you do, you have to show them. Have some pieces of work that can wow the crowd. This is where knowing your audience is helpful as you can have examples that get someone to want to buy. With engraving you can have samples of different surfaces like concrete pavers, metal or plastics to show your range. You would want to select designs like sports teams or pop culture pieces (music, movies, cultural connection) that would spark interest and ideas. We like having the CNC PRO in our booth and demonstrate how it works. Of course there are restrictions to noise at some shows, but we can still put our machine in a mode that has it move with minimum noise.
Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Sample as much as you can. Concrete, metal, wood and more. When customers see and touch the possibilities you expand what is possible in their minds”.
Tip from Josh: “Having plenty of samples helped us get a few good leads on long term monthly revenue type work and if those come to fruition it could be worth at minimum $100k/year in easy revenue and a couple large concrete engraving jobs per year”.
HAVE A WELL STAFFED BOOTH
Try not to do a show alone. Have a few people with you that believe in your company and understand what you are about. Engraving is an interesting trade. The CNC PRO is very different, and people really seem to respond to the idea of portable engraving services. USE IT. Be sure to have a staff that is prepped with conversation initiators and engagement techniques that will get potential customers to ask questions and grow interest. The best recommendation is to have your staff stand up, walk around and not have their cell phones out. Instead maybe have a couple tablets in hand with some pictures and a program to take notes. Also, if possible, have some shirts with your logo made up for everyone to wear so you look like a polished team. A little investment in branding can go a long way.
Success is a big victory we want all CNC PRO owners to experience. We are happy to share more tips to help make trade shows a win as it is a great way to expand this market. We have a couple of other CNC PRO owners that have had great success like Bolder Engraving and ETCH. We have other up-coming owners getting ready to have their first show soon.
Plus… Have some fun and attend any after parties you can as you are also there to network.
If you need engraving work in AZ please check out the FaceBook page for ETCH: https://www.facebook.com/ETCHAZ/
If you need work in SC check out Bolder Engraving: https://www.bolderengraving.com/
For other states contact us at RedArt Technologies: https://redarttechnologies.com/