Trade Show Envy: How to Stand Out from the Crowd

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Even the most innovative company may have trouble standing out at a trade show. Using the standard approach is a huge mistake – you’re just going to blend in with the other booths. Following the basic strategy may pick up a few customers here and there, but there’s so much more you could be doing. Read on to learn how to differentiate your brand at your next trade show.

Think Outside the Booth

Most brands setup a booth at a trade show because that’s what everyone else is doing. Sitting behind the booth and waiting for people to stop by is a bad strategy, though.According to Entrepreneur, when Cutter and Buck, an apparel company, participated in a trade show in Vegas, they rented out a suite and invited its most promising targets. If you can’t afford a suite, at least turn your booth into something more, like a cookie-and-coffee spread or a VIP area for interested parties.

Rent a Prop

If your booth has nothing but you and a few pamphlets, people are going to be nervous about approaching it because they’re not going to know what to do when they get there. When you have a prop, though, people have a clear goal – they want to spin that prize wheel or play a round of roulette. According to American Express, it’s always a good idea to have some type of fun, inviting gimmick at your booth.

Forgo the Sponsored Signage

Displaying signs with your sponsors’ logo is expensive and it’s more about competing with the other brands at the trade show than actually attracting customers. Consumers don’t care about your sponsors – they care about what you can do for them, not what other brands did for you.

Ask to Speak at the Trade Show

Content is king, as you know. At a trade show, request to be a speaker. You’ll be able to deliver helpful or interesting information to guests. They’ll, in turn, be interested in checking out your booth. Just make sure that you don’t try to hard sell your products or services during the presentation. Simply focus on delivering content the audience needs.

Give Out Freebies

Everyone loves getting something for free, right? Well, kind of. Branded swag sounds like a good idea, but people aren’t likely to wear a t-shirt with your logo on it if they don’t really support your company yet. Consider giving away freebies that people actually want, like gift certificates to popular coffee shops or a package of gourmet chocolates. They may not spread your logo around town, but your visitors will remember that great thing you gave them, which will make a lasting impression.

The Best Fonts for Creating Signs that Attract Customers

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The best signage fonts that attract customers are bold, easy to read, and simple. Fonts, or typefaces, are specially designed letters used in advertising on signs, billboards, newsprint and magazines that grab a reader’s attention and help sell products, goods and services.

What is a font?
In the 15th century, German printer Johannes Gutenburg invented lead fonts, moveable type that had to be set by hand—letter by letter—to tediously print books and newspapers. In the early 1980s, Apple founder Steve Jobs revolutionized the way we use fonts today when he invented the first personal computer. Jobs’ invention made thousands of digital typefaces accessible to anyone with a PC, including sign makers.

When it comes to designing signs that attract customers, you want to use a font that is easily read with a personality all its own. Signs are fast absorption material and unless someone is standing in front of a supermarket or clothing store, the design will have to captivate an audience in a short amount of time. Therefore, your design will have to utilize a font that is easy to read and easy to remember.

Some popular fonts used on signs and billboards are Helvetica, Trajan, Futura, and Frutiger—all sans serif fonts. The letters of serif fonts, like Bodoni or Times Roman, have little feet on the top and bottom that help guide the reader’s eye across a page of type. Sans serif fonts are those without little feet or serifs. Typically, sans serif fonts have a more modern and timeless appeal.
Helvetica: Designed by the Haas Type Foundry 50 years ago, Helvetica is the most widely used font for signs, logos, and in advertising. Its simplicity and boldness compels customers to read and remember an advertiser’s message. Crisp, clean, and timeless, Helvetica is a seller’s first choice.

Trajan: Popularly used on old Hollywood posters and brochures, Trajan was designed in 1989 by Carol Twombly for Adobe. This typeface is a loose interpretation of Roman square lettering and is an easy-to-read serif font that grabs the customer’s eye.

Futura: The classic clean lines of this sans serif font is perfect for large signs and displays. Typical of the Bauhaus design movement of 1933, Futura’s strength lies in its distinct geometric shapes—circles, triangles and squares. Its appeal is in simple lines and a straightforward personality that attracts a large segment of the buying public while complementing a broad range of graphics.

Frutiger: Named for world renowned font designer Adrian Frutiger, this typeface was the result of work commissioned in the late 1960s by the Charles De Gaulle Airport. Frutiger was asked to design a distinct typeface for airport signage. The typeface Frutiger debuted in 1975 and became a permanent fixture of the airport. Because of its simplicity and adaptability to different styles, Frutiger later expanded into a type “family,” including several typefaces under its umbrella: Vegur, Arctik, Fog Sans, Atrian, and M+2p.

 

Five Ways A Steel Structure Will Protect Your Business

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Steel is quickly becoming the building material of choice when erecting a variety of different structures. Part of this is because steel has a wide range of advantages over most other common building materials. Here are five ways a steel structure will protect your business.

Steel Structures Are Resistant To Fire

Steel structures will protect your business because they are resistant to fire. Steel can resist incredibly high temperatures without melting or even buckling. This means small or moderate fires are not going to affect the steel structure. This is important because many other buildings materials like wood will catch fire right away and then turn into an out of control blaze in a matter of minutes. You do not have to worry about this when you choose steel to make a structure for your business.

Steel Does Not Attract Pests or Harbor Mold

Most traditional building materials like wood and brick actually attract pests. This means pests of all types could infest a structure quickly damaging it and potentially creating hazardous conditions for the people inside. Those same materials can also become beds for mold and fungus that release spores into the air. Those spores can trigger allergic reactions or reduce the air quality in the area. Mold and fungus will not grow on steel structures. This makes it easier to maintain good air quality inside.

Steel Structures Have High Wind Resistance

One of the reasons that over 1.3 billion tons of steel are produced every year is because it is incredibly durable. Steel is difficult to damage when used to build a structure. It has an innately high resistant to wind and the elements. It is even possible to create steel structures that can withstand the winds from some of the fiercest hurricanes ever seen. This makes steel a good material for building structures in locations that are prone to severe weather like hurricanes and tornadoes since it is so strong.

Water and Moisture Are Not Issues with Steel

Water and moisture are major issues in most buildings constructed from traditional materials. Water can quickly damage the structure of the building. High levels of humidity inside will do the same only much slower. Water can weaken walls and roofs. Steel structures do not have issues with water and moisture. Water will simply roll off the surface of steel structures harmlessly as long as the alloy has been maintained. This resistance eliminates many problems that normally face other types of structures.

Steel Structures Do Not Wear Away, Rot or Degrade.

Steel structures do not wear away, rot or degrade due to age. If maintained properly, then a steel structure could stand for centuries. Steel is usually recycled when a structure is no longer need. All steel products today contain at least 25 percent recycled scrap making it an energy-efficient alloy to produce. The strength and longevity of steel will protect your business by making it unnecessary to constantly repair, rebuild and update the structure. This lets your business save money over the course of many years.

4 Creative Ways to Announce Your New Business

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After many long months of planning, preparation, working endless hours, getting everything going, and dreaming, you are now ready to tell everyone about your new business or service. How do you let your prospective customers know that you exist and are ready to be their “go to” source?

Here are four suggested helpful ways to make your announcement with limited funds. Small business owners don’t need a big marketing budget but can take advantage of creativity.

1. Send a Personal Letter if Local

Compose a list of everyone you, relatives, or friends can think of who could use your products or service. Go in and talk to other complementary local businesses who can work with you in recommending each other. See if they will distribute some of your printed promotional materials just as you will do for them.

Once you have your mailing list, you can use a Sample Letter to guide you in composing what you want to say. You have to adjust the wording to your particular business and situation, but you can get ideas on what type of information to include and how to promote your offerings. Announcing your new business to prospective customers and advising them what you have to offer that would be helpful to them are the key points.

2. Make Use of Social Media

If your business is an online one, you want to let all your contacts on social media know about what you are about to launch. That includes putting messages into any forums you belong to that will allow you to post about a personal undertaking. Also search out other groups and forums in your niche by goggling the category. Go in and introduce yourself. Put the business name and brief information in your signature line.

Say that you are proud of your new venture and would love to be of help to readers. Share what is unusual about your business or service and why they would benefit from purchasing and contacting you for more information and details. Perhaps offer a special one-time discount for those who give the source that they used to find you. Ask that they help you spread the word since customers earned through referrals are also valuable.

3. Put Out a Regular Newsletter

Whether online or by good old-fashioned “snail mail”, send out a newsletter on a regular basis giving pertinent and interesting information that prospective customers will enjoy reading. Include announcing your grand opening, special sales, or an upcoming event. If you make a point of sending on a weekly or monthly basis, the readers will look forward to hearing from you.

4. Make Your Business or Service Stand Out

Consider your building and windows as blank canvases that are capable of attracting new business. Have your signage custom made in bright colors and with a large font that will stand out and be easily read. Create a window display that will be enticing and invite customers to come in. If you can‘t do that yourself, ask an artistic acquaintance to help you prepare the windows in a way that catches the eye.

Five Reasons to Consider Franchising Your Business

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When owning a business one of the things that you might consider is franchising your business. By franchising your business you will have a number of ways to earn more revenue as well as building your brand. Like many other endeavors there are five things you should consider when looking to franchise your business. These five reasons include expanding without a lot of capital, expand quickly, have the franchise open locations for you, the need to move to another location due to competition and also to have an exit strategy. With these five reasons any business owner who is looking to engage in franchising will have an easier and more efficient way of achieving this objective.

The first thing to consider when franchising is to expand when lacking the capital to do this on your own. With franchising you will have the ability to expand by leveraging the funds from other franchises. As a result you will have the ability to expand with other sources of capital and achieve your objective of having more storefronts available for customers to visit. Franchising allows you to use other sources of capital when you don’t have the funds available at the moment.

With franchising you can grow and expand more quickly. Since opening up a storefront can take a lot of time and resources, expanding your business may seem like a very unappealing option at times. However with franchising you will be able to easily expand because the franchise will open up more units for you. As a result you will have the company open up locations for you while allowing you to run your business with no interruption and no depletion of your resources.

Using a franchise to expand will help you when you don’t have human resources to open units yourself. As a franchisor you won’t need to do this because it is the responsibility of the franchise to open up units. They have the staff and personnel to open up more locations for you and therefore are more able to accomplish this task. Being a franchise enables you to get more locations established without the need of other employees to complete this task.

Franchising can also allow you to move out of a space or market in it more easily. If you are looking to open up a franchise in a location where there is lots of competition, then a franchise can help get you established by more effectively marketing your business. The franchise can also help you relocate more quickly and also market effectively to help get you established in a timely manner.

Lastly franchising can give you a great exit strategy. If you are in need of selling a company a franchise can allow you to accomplish this task more easily than with an independently owned business. A franchise can also allow you to keep a certain amount of locations while selling one. As a result, franchising can help you exit the business by more easily selling your location.