Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Ahhh, The Elusive Email Subject Line

February 17th, 2017 COMMENTS

effective email marketing subject lines

Anyone who writes marketing or sales emails sweats over subject lines. Admittedly, I’ve read quite a few articles from experts, each with kernels of wisdom. Yesterday, I read a great one from Tina Brown at Warp Corp, a builder and printer of tension fabric structures in Seattle. Tina brought it all together in a tidy, well-written package. So, I’m sharing.

5 Tricks to Mastering the Elusive Subject Line

Guest Post: Tina Brown, Warp Corp

Just when you thought you wrote something brilliant, you find that your open rates are less than impressive. How could writing 5-7 words be so hard? You used to write 2,000-word papers in college. You can form a sentence in your sleep. No really, you’re a sleep talker.

E-mail marketing The truth is that subject lines are the doorway into your email campaigns. If that doorway isn’t enticing, no one will go on to click your emails, let alone buy your products. In fact, Convince and Convert reports that 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. Even more challenging, your readers are inundated each and every day by a tidal wave of other emails vying for their attention. So how do you write email subject lines that cut through the noise?

Let me first reveal that subject lines are everywhere—on billboards, in songs and commercials, magazines, news articles, and even everyday conversations. To create your own, all it takes is knowing how to shape it, and the inspiration will start flooding in.

I’ve spent the last three years working in demand generation with one major goal in mind: crack the code on writing the perfect subject line. After hundreds, if not thousands, of subject lines tests, I have boiled it down to these five tips to improve your subject lines and increase your open rates:

1. Front-Load the Important Words

You know that one friend who’s horrible at telling stories? You know, where 15 minutes into telling their story, you begin thinking “Where is this even going? Are we ever going to hear the good part?” And by the time they finally get to the good part, you’ve already checked out. Yeah, some subject lines are just like that—don’t let it be yours.

People want to know why your email is more important than the thousands of others in their inbox, so put all the important, actionable words in the front of your subject line to entice opens. In other words, get to the point! In my experience, changing the structure of the sentence line to front-load the important keywords has increased open rates by 10-20%.

2. Ask a Question

Effective Email Subject Lines

I’ve been told several times that the most well-liked person in the room is the one who does nothing but asks folks questions, showing genuine interest in their lives and saying very little about their own. Why? Because people love to talk about themselves and their interests. Ask your subscribers questions and it’ll not only pique their curiosity, but they’ll respond positively by opening more of your emails. For example, imagine you’re sending out a new ebook on “The Holy Grail to Higher Revenue.” In your subject line, instead of just repeating the title, you could write “Looking for the Holy Grail to higher revenue? We have it!”

3. Use Numbers

People love numbers and lists. They’re easy to read, help us make sense of more complex concepts by breaking it into smaller parts, and let us know exactly what to expect (e.g. 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing). The New Yorker even published a piece on “A List of Reasons Why Our Brains Love Lists,” which goes into this in depth. Numbers can also be used to create a sense of urgency or emphasize a discount.

4. Get Personal

There’s usually at least one person in every office who can’t seem to remember anyone’s first name. Mike is Matt, Joe is John, and Stacy is Stephanie. They might try to get around it by using nicknames like sport, bud, pal, dude, man, bro, and fella. For the record, no one likes that, especially not your email subscribers.

Address your subscribers by their name or insert pronouns like “you” or “your” to give your subject lines a personalized touch. According to Experian, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (although it varies by industry), yet 70% of brands are not personalizing emails sent to subscribers. That’s a huge opportunity for your brand to stand out!

5. Use Rhymes, Alliteration, and Puns

This might seem weird, but I have always seen subject lines that use rhymes, alliteration, or puns do really well. Have you ever read a word or name over and over again until it either sounds weird or gets funnier each time? My word is “hullabaloo,” which means a great noise or excitement. Or have you ever read a subject line that was so clever it deserved to be opened?

If you can write a subject line that rolls off the tongue, you will get a higher open rate. It’s like music to the ears! It’s not easy to come up with these but when you do, they will perform exceedingly well. In fact, I’ve seen extraordinary subject line performance where I’ve beaten the control by 30-40%! For some inspiration, just take a look at some of the session names from SXSW. Some of my favorites from previous years? “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” and “An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant.”

That’s it! 5 tips to improve your subject lines and get your emails opened. I hope that these tips inspire you to get out there and write subject lines like no one has ever seen before. Remember, subject lines exist everywhere. All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open.

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My sincere thanks to Tina for allowing Classic Exhibits to share this in the Trade Show Tales blog. Please let her know if you enjoyed her post.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757


 

 

Does Your Trade Show Exhibit Have To Be Clever?

October 25th, 2016 COMMENTS

idea2

Once Upon a Time…

Trade shows have always been a marketplace where potential attendees wandered through the aisles. When something caught their eye, they would enter the booth to learn more about the product or service. As an exhibitor, a clever message, promotion, or display was crucial since enticing attendees into the booth was an important measure of the show’s overall success.

Clever mattered and the overall booth served the same purpose as a magazine or television ad: enticing people to try your product and service. As a result, marketers went to great lengths to create witty copy, smart graphics, and an interactive experience. In some cases, the copy, graphics, and experience had little to do with the actual product or service. It was more about generating traffic and leads, regardless of the quality.

park3Does Clever Still Matter?

Several years ago, we designed a 20 x 30 island design with a park theme. It included paths, artificial grass, a swing, benches, trees, and a gazebo. The concept was “A Walk in the Park,” which highlighted how easy it was to work with us – design, customer service, exhibit builds. It was a clever idea that attracted traffic to the booth. Even today, our customers still comment on the design, but when I ask them about the underlying marketing message, they draw a blank. Ouch!

Does that approach still work? Yes… and no. The ability to create a creative, integrated, and informative trade show experience for an attendee will always be the “holy grail.” However, being clever may not matter as much as it used to. That may seem counter-intuitive, but trade shows have changed.

Google/Amazon in a Really Big Building

The Internet has changed trade shows, but not in the way you think. For years, “experts” predicted that virtual trade shows would replace physical trade shows. That hasn’t happened, nor is it likely to happen anytime soon. According to CEIR, tradeshow attendance has grown for 21 straight quarters.

People want to be with people who share their professional and personal interests. Today’s trade show attendees are far less likely to wander the trade show floor. They pre-shop in the same way we all do research before buying a new television, car, or service. Attendees are less inclined to discover a vendor at the show. Instead, they identify who they want to visit and plan accordingly. Is there a chance they’ll stumble on a new vendor? Of course, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

What Does That Mean to You?

preshowYour job is difficult and allocating scarce resources is one of your main challenges. Clever takes time. And, if the goal is less about enticing random attendees into the booth, then it becomes more about communicating a problem and your solution. That message is easier since it’s something you do every day. So, what do you do with all this extra time? You devote it to pre-show marketing and to building qualified traffic to the booth… before the show even starts. Successful trade show programs are as much about pre-show and post-show as “the show.”

That’s not to say your trade show exhibit shouldn’t be attractive. It should, but I would encourage you to focus on more practical matters the next time you design or rebrand your display. What do you need in the booth space to conduct business? Make it less about showmanship and more about conversations and information. Take the time you would have spent creating the perfect theme and use it to create targeted social media campaigns and invitations to your clients before the show. Give them a reason to put you on their calendar at the show.

It’s OK to be clever, but on a list of trade show marketing priorities, smart (and successful) beats clever every time.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Trade Shows…. Don’t Bother!

January 12th, 2016 6 COMMENTS

blogheaderMarketing2

It’s January

The trade show season is in full swing, and exhibitors are talking about new graphics, giveaways, and Las Vegas. I love this time of year… and to some extent, loath it. I get to hear exhibitors grumble about the cost of a display, poor leads, drayage, and their ROI. And, no matter how much we coach them, there’s always a few marketing managers who just don’t get it. They buy cheap, basic displays, don’t do any pre-show marketing, bring the wrong staff, and then take a cavalier approach to show leads. Their results suck, and they wonder why.

It’s not an age thing. Baby boomers are no better than Millennials, Gen X’ers or Gen Y’ers. So, let’s draw a comparison to other advertising. Would most marketers make these advertising choices?

Magazine Ad:

1. So… the black and white ad is cheaper? Yes, I realize this is a glossy color publication, but B&W ads are  “artistic,” and I can run two for the price of one.
2. Thanks for the publication’s circulation numbers and demographics. No need to explain. I’ll review it later in my “reading” room.
3. My unemployed second cousin is designing the ad with a pirated copy of Illustrator. I’m paying him in pizza and PBR.
4. The sales team doesn’t need to see the ad. It’s their job to sell whatever we tell them to sell.
5. That B&W ad didn’t work. I’m not going to advertise there again. Stupid magazine!

Television Commercial:

Pasted image at 2016_01_12 01_40 PM1. “Video Production for Commercials” [Google Search]. That first one looks just fine.
2. Concept storyboard? Nah! Creativity should be spontaneous!
3. Those 2-4 am slots are cheap. I can run the spots 6 times an hour.
4. Neilsen ratings? That’s for amateurs who don’t trust their “gut.”
5. That television commercial didn’t work. I’m not advertising with them again. Stupid TV station.

Online Banner Ads and PPC:

1. My admin assistant manages our banner ads and PPC. Ruthie — Don’t you handle that?
2. Of course, we have a Google Analytics account. I have the password around here somewhere.
3. $2.50 a click? No brainer. Here’s my credit card. How much could that possibly cost?
4. You saw my banner ad on what site? For what? Oh that’s bad. That’s really bad.
5. That online advertising and PPC didn’t work. I’ve canceled my accounts. Stupid Internet.

Social Media:

1. Blogging? Love it. I’ll post every day for the next year! Starting tomorrow.
2. Who doesn’t love cats and kittens? Let me share.
3. Aren’t LinkedIn and Facebook basically the same? I post the same stuff on both.
4. 75 Tweets today. Where did the day go?
5. That social media didn’t work. What a colossal waste of time. Stupid Social Media.

You get my point. Trade show marketing should be treated with the same intensity, analysis, and professionalism as every other form of marketing. For many companies, it can represent up to 40% of their annual marketing budget; yet, they often see it as a distraction, not an opportunity. If you don’t have time to become an expert, hire an expert. There are many trade show consultants who have devoted their careers to ensure their clients succeed at face-to-face marketing.

Stupid? Not if trade show marketing is done right.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

Why Are Marketers So Bad at Trade Show Marketing?

December 28th, 2015 COMMENTS

Classic

Some marketers will hint at it. Others will grumble. Then there are the ones who are honest. They simply don’t understand trade show marketing. That’s not surprising. It’s rarely taught on the undergraduate or graduate level. At best, it’s mentioned in passing in a textbook. I know. After earning an MBA, I went to work for an exhibit builder. On Day 1, I was clueless.

I’d love to say that trade show marketing is marketing… but that’s not entirely true. It’s odder, less compact, and more unpredictable than other forms marketing. And, depending on the company, it can be more difficult to measure results.

3D vs. 2D

Marketing has traditionally been 2D:  print and television, brochures, websites, etc. It’s also been static and somewhat controllable. Trade show marketing or face-to-face marketing is as much about human interaction as the message or the branding. It’s about creating conversations, before, during, and after the show. Then there’s the booth design. That’s outside most marketers comfort zone and the dollars involved make it even scarier. It’s easy to panic when the costs begin to hit six digits for even a modest island exhibit.

Variable Measurements

Unlike print, television, or web ads, there are no standards or no reliable source for subscriptions, ratings, or clicks. Counting leads works, but it’s a crude measurement. More sophisticated exhibitors track pre-show promotions, leads, and sales through the entire sales channel, but they are the exception.

Competitors

SoYoungTrade shows are truly a competitive sport when it comes to marketing. It’s the one time you and your competitors are all in the same room, all vying for attention with the same audience. You see what they’re doing… and vice versa.

Uncontrollable Variables

No one likes unpredictability when it comes to their marketing campaign and implementation. Yet, despite one’s best efforts, trade shows can be chaotic. Freight doesn’t arrive on time. Items are broken. Flights are cancelled. An exhibitor on the far side of the exhibit hall is giving away beer and sandwiches. The exhibitor nearest you has their music so loud you can’t talk to potential clients without shouting.

Unfamiliarity/Knowledge

Most medium-sized companies participate in two to five trade shows per year. Some as few as one. That makes it challenging to become an expert quickly. Plus, each show may not only have a different audience, but also different rules, layout, and resources. Too often, just when the internal “expert” understands how to maximize the company’s trade show efforts that person is assigned to other responsibilities. Then someone new has to start fresh.

Sales and Marketing

PhiladelphiaCommercialBefore, during, and after a trade show, sales and marketing must be partners at dance. You’re a team. Face-to-face marketing requires sales skills and marketing expertise perfectly choreographed. And no matter how much sales and marketing claim to play nice, there’s always a wall at most companies. It’s that wall that dooms most exhibitors from fully benefiting from their trade show program.

So how do you become an expert at trade show marketing? Four tips.

  1. Go to trade shows as often as possible as an attendee. Ask questions and listen to what works and what doesn’t. Plus, be willing to take classes at industry events about trade show marketing, even if you goal isn’t to become a trade show certified manager.
  2. Rely on your local trade show professional. If they only know how to sell you a display, but not how to succeed at trade show marketing, then find someone else.
  3. Tap into industry consultants. These folks know how to avoid the potholes and the meandering paths so often taken by trade show exhibitors. You can find them in LinkedIn, Google, or simply ask your local vendor.
  4. Plan to succeed. Create a comprehensive plan that targets pre-show, show, and post-show marketing and put specific goals in place for each one.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

The Three Rules of Trade Show Marketing

March 31st, 2015 3 COMMENTS

EuroShop_2014 (7)Trade Show Marketing isn’t complicated. It can be reduced to three simple rules. Everything else is a business decision. Here’s the difference: Buying a 10 ft. portable vs. 20 ft. custom island — that’s a business decision. Staying at the Hilton vs. the Quality Inn — that’s a business decision. Getting a professional presenter for the booth — that’s a marketing decision. Confused? Here’s ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW about trade show marketing to be successful.

Rule #1. Problem and Solution.

Your message must state a problem and a solution, either explicitly or implicitly. Attendees are there to find solutions. They may not know they have a problem until you provide the solution. When Chrysler introduced the minivan back in the 80’s, it showed families that the vehicle they were driving was either too big or too small. In an attempt to be clever or creative, we forget that we’re selling something. Selling is all about identifying needs and pains… and then providing the right solution.

Rule #2. Get Noticed.

There’s a reason it’s called a “show.” You spent money to be seen at the show. BE SEEN! Does that mean dressing in a clown suit and standing in a booth made of balloons? No, unless that’s your culture (or you are selling balloons). Most companies approach trade show exhibits and graphics like they’re buying a mid-priced sedan: “I’d like a Honda Accord in silver.” Take a chance. You want to be different. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be practical and contain everything you need to showcase your product or service. Even Melba Toast doesn’t have to be Melba Toast at a trade show.

Does your product lend itself to a professional presenter? That’s one way to get noticed.

Pre-show marketing. There’s no better way of getting seen than by developing a pre-show campaign that drives attendees to your booth. In today’s Internet-driven, social media-focused market, getting someone’s attention before the show is as important, if not more important, than being seen at the show.

Rule #3. The Right People.

If you bring ten people to the show, at least six are the wrong ones. They don’t know the products or services, they don’t have charismatic people skills, they are not personally invested in results, and they did not participate in pre-show planning or post-show implementation. Two out of four doesn’t cut it. A trade show isn’t a vacation. It’s a strategic investment.

You’ll often hear that 80% of trade show leads are wasted. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that bringing the right employees to the show solves that problem. The right employees won’t let a lead sit on someone’s desk or be forgotten on a jump drive. They’re relentless about post-show follow-up because they understand how much time, effort, and money went into planning and participating in the trade show.

Want to be a tradeshow star? Focus on these three rules. Everything else, while important to your bottom line, your ego, or your HR Department, is just a business decision.

Displays

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com