Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 3

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Welcome back to part 3 of my series Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, where I share tips and tricks to make the next trade show you exhibit at a huge success!

A quick recap from the last 2 weeks: booth location is important so book early, use your brand colours when designing your booth, make sure your logo can be seen from far distances, be engaging & friendly, connect with other exhibitors, dress similarly to your team, add some element of fun to your booth, have a unique offering, bring free promo items, and be sure to switch things up each time. You can read these posts in their entirety for more information: Part 1 & Part 2.

Now, on to part 3…

Bring business cards & name tags. Seems straightforward, but surprisingly many people forget both of these important items. Bring more business cards than you think you’d ever use because you never who you may meet. Ensure your name tags are branded so when others see you off the trade show floor they can still make a connection and remember which company you represent. Remember, attendees and exhibitors will likely see thousands and thousands of people over the span of a few days and it’s hard to memorize that many names and faces.

Get social. Use social media to your advantage before, during and after trade shows or conventions. Prior to the event, find out if there is a hashtag for the trade show you are attending. Build hype prior to attending by creating content for the week leading up to the conference. Search the hashtag on Twitter and see who else has already Tweeted and make a connection. Find the social media accounts for the the organization/association that is hosting the event and reach out to them on social media letting them know you’re excited to attend. Be sure to include your booth number/location when posting content. When you’re at the event, ensure one person is in charge of using social media; snap photos of booth setup, trade show hours, seminars, special events, panels, etc. and share them across various social media platforms. Again, be sure to use the hashtag and your booth number to join the conversation WHILE you’re at the trade show! After you attend, share moments, make connections with exhibitors and attendees alike, and reach out to hosts and thank them for a great time!

Follow up promptly. After the trade show, make note of all the individuals you connected with and follow up with them via email. Don’t be too “sales-y”, but let them know it was a pleasure to meet them and remind them of your exclusive offer and its expiry date and don’t forget a call-to-action! Just a reminder: even if you connected with other exhibitors and you feel like they may not benefit from your product/service, be sure to touch base with them regardless because you never know what may come from a simple email.

There you have it—over 10 tips to ensure your company gets the most out of the next trade show you attend. Good luck and happy exhibiting!

MeganSignature

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 2

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Welcome back to part two of my new blog series, Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, where I share pre-, during and post-conference tips and tricks to make your company’s attendance at trade shows and conventions worthwhile.

Let’s quickly recap last week’s blog: booth location is important so book early, use your brand colours when designing your booth, make sure your logo can be seen from far distances, be engaging & friendly, connect with other exhibitors, and dress similarly to your team. If you’d like to read last week’s post in its entirety, click here.

On to this week’s tips…

  1. Bring the fun. Whether it’s a giveaway, contest, scavenger hunt, game, unique promo item, a theme, or some other element you decide to add to your booth, get creative in order to stand out among the rest and attract attendees to your booth. The Plan A & StaffStat team have taken selfies with attendees in branded cut-out polaroids, played multiple “Minute to Win It” style games, and even brought a photo booth complete with props and unlimited prints to a few trade shows. A quick Google search can help you come up with some fun trade show ideas that your company can put its twist on!
  2. Boast your offer. It’s important to figure out exactly what your end goal is for attending/exhibiting at a trade show; are you launching a new product, promoting your free trial, showing off upgrades or enhancements, etc? Whatever your reason for attending, make sure you have a call-to-action that you share with every attendee and be sure to offer a special conference incentive, such as an extended free trial, reduced rates, etc.
  3. Bring freebies! Let’s face it, people LOVE free things and offering FREE things at a trade show can definitely create interest around your brand. According to a survey conducted by the BPMA, 83% of individuals can remember the brand of a promotional item they were given without even looking at it, and perhaps more surprising, 73% of people who have received a promo item from a company went on to purchase a product from said company! When exhibiting at a trade show, be sure to put a lot of thought into choosing promo items. Some things to consider: does the item match your brand?, is it tasteful?, is it unique?, is it practical?, is it of quality? For an in-depth look at selecting swag for your next event, check out this post I wrote on The A Dot Blog.
  4. Switch things up. Whether you attend more than one convention in your industry that features repeat attendees, or if you attend the same convention year after year, strive to refresh your booth each time. You do not need to necessarily revamp your booth completely, but adding or changing some elements can really give your booth a brand new feel; something as simple as re-designing your backdrop or  can make all the difference.

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s tips and tricks for trade show exhibiting!

MeganSignature

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 1

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Looking to step outside of the box and think BIG for your next marketing initiative? A great way to get in front of a large number of individuals in your target market and/or industry is to exhibit at a trade show or conference. Attending such events, however, comes at a cost. In my new blog series, Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, I will share a few tips and tricks for making a splash at your next trade show and how to get an incredible return on your investment.

  1. Location, location, location! This saying has never been more true when exhibiting at trade shows. Spaces at most shows sell out fast, so be sure to book months (or even a year!) in advance to secure the best spot. If you can afford it, pay the extra money for a prime location that has extremely high foot traffic, such as corner booths and those near common areas.
  2. Get the look. Eyes are always drawn to big, bold, and visually pleasing things. When designing your booth and purchasing elements (such as technology, furniture, etc.), be sure to choose colours that match your brand in an effort to keep things consistent. You should also consider things such as lighting, carpet, and signage—which are elements that usually come at an added cost—but can really make your booth stand out. Most importantly, be sure your logo can be seen from a mile away! What’s the point of exhibiting if no one is attracted to your booth?
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  3. Be engaging. There’s nothing worse than attending a conference and seeing the people who are supposed to be manning their company’s booth sitting behind a table and fidgeting with their phones. DON’T BE THESE PEOPLE! Ensure that whoever is representing your company can speak the speak and understands the reason why your company is attending. Be animated, energetic and approachable and be sure to smile often!
  4. Get out there. You don’t have to stay at your booth—just make sure you don’t leave it unattended, either. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to attendees. Take time to connect with other exhibitors and your competition. You never know where these interactions can lead and the possible synergies that may exist.
  5. Dress the part. You’re likely going to dish out a lot of money to make your booth look awesome, so your booth staff members should look great, too! Aim for every member to dress similarly; you don’t all need to wear the exact same clothing articles, but coordinating outfits helps complete the overall look of your booth and creates familiarity in attendees’ minds. If you’re exhibiting for more than a day, add a few different outfit styles into the mix to switch things up!

That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s post for part two of this series! Good luck!

MeganSignature

 

Facebook & The Job Search

facebook-under-a-magnifying-glass.jpgCareer change? Fresh out of college? Whatever your reason for searching for a new job, we all know that it can be an incredibly daunting task.

As you may or may not know, I am a Marketing graduate, but I have also completed my post-grad in Human Resources. Working in a Marketing role at a staffing & recruitment company has not only been the perfect marriage for my educational background, but it has allowed me to be exposed to the application, interviewing and hiring process as well as regularly frequenting social media to recruit new candidates. I’ve mentioned it in past blogs, but a huge chunk of my day is spent on social media… and I come across the profiles of thousands of individuals on a daily basis.

It’s becoming increasingly more popular for companies to conduct social media checks on potential employees—a practice that many disagree with. The fact of the matter is, however, that it’s a practice that is occurring. It’s incredibly easy for recruiters or those in charge of hiring to find your Facebook profile since you’ve given them pertinent information—your real name, email address and phone number. To ensure your Facebook profile is leaving potential employers with a positive impression of you, the candidate, consider the following:

  1. Check yourself out. When you’re logged into Facebook, click on your own profile, hover over your cover photo, click the ellipses (…) on the bottom right of the photo, and click “View As”.  Facebook will automatically refresh your page to show you how the public (those who are not your friends) view your profile. From here, you can change your settings to make certain sections (such as your photos, friends list, timeline, etc.) viewable by your friends only. The key to this is to change everything so that random people clicking on your profile can only see the bare minimum: your profile picture, your cover photos, your city and your name.  lld.jpg
  2. Speaking of your name… it doesn’t hurt to change it by using your middle name in place of your last name instead. This isn’t necessarily being deceitful, but it can limit the likelihood of someone finding your profile.
  3. Choose your profile picture wisely.  For obvious reasons, pass on the photos of you drinking on a night out. Sure, you had a fun time, but you’re trying to land a job. Your photo doesn’t necessarily need to be a head shot, but having one may lead others to view you in a more professional manner. Aim to be presentable. On that note, Facebook now automatically makes your profile picture viewable by the public and many are unaware of this. Go back through your pictures and change the privacy settings of each one to be viewable by friends only.
  4. Untag, untag, untag.  As I’ve mentioned, your profile represents YOU. Take some time to untag yourself from photos that your friends/family have added of you that don’t portray you in the best light.
  5. Delete, delete, delete.  This goes hand-in-hand with untagging; spend a few moments scrolling through your timeline to review the content you or others have posted to your profile. Sure, you might’ve thought something was funny in 2008, but how does it reflect on your character in 2017? Tidy up!

It may seem like a lot of work to get your profile in tip-top shape, but your goal is to become employed at a company you are obviously interested in. If you’re offered the job, you’ll likely “friend” your coworkers and they’ll end up seeing your entire profile, anyways. At least you’ll be one step ahead! Good luck!

MeganSignature

25 Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years

twenty-five.pngI just celebrated my 25th birthday yesterday! Yup—I turned a quarter of a century old! I’m sure many others have said the same about their lives, but I feel like I have experienced a lot in 25 years. From moving a few times, making the most out of high school, experiencing loss, graduating from college (twice) and university, and landing my dream career, I’ve had so many great (and not so great) things happen to me in what feels like the blink of an eye.

In today’s blog, I’ve decided to share 25 of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in 25 years.

  1. Always be curious. As a child my parents said that I was extremely curious and inquisitive. I asked thousands of questions (sorry mom & dad!) and genuinely had an interest in learning about everything. Now, at 25 years old, I truly believe I still have that same thirst for knowledge and I am always willing and excited to experience new things and expand my skill set; I think that traits such as these are extremely valuable to possess.
  2. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, your intuition is probably right.
  3. Don’t be afraid to say “yes”… When I was 22, I was presented with a short-term job offer hours away from my hometown. Without hesitating, I jumped in! The job didn’t turn out to be all that was promised, but I enjoyed my spring & summer living somewhere I may not have had the chance to otherwise and made some pretty amazing memories.
  4. But also learn when to say “no” (and don’t feel bad about it). This one was hard to learn, but it’s okay to be “selfish” sometimes and turn down opportunities, offers, or anything that does not serve you. If thinking about doing something causes uneasiness or feelings of stress, don’t pursue it; this goes back to #2.
  5. It’s okay to be an introvert.  Growing up, I was always shy and extremely quiet, yet I still excelled at certain “extroverted” things (such as presentations, group projects, etc.) the older I’ve become. Being an introvert really isn’t the end of the world, and I don’t feel that it’s ever put me at a disadvantage. Being quiet and independent has helped me in my career as I am able to put my head down and work diligently on projects and stay focused on tasks.
  6. Learn to let go of friendships/relationships that are not mutually beneficial and/or are extremely one-sided. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and vice versa.
  7. Everything happens for a reason. I know—cliché, but it’s 100% accurate. Think about one pivotal moment in your life and all the things that that one moment impacted. Now think about how different everything would be if that one moment didn’t happen. Whether good or bad, everything that happens is meant to.
  8. Quality over quantity. I apply this concept to many aspects of my life—friendships, work, possessions, etc.
  9. You can get through the worst day of your life. I can count two instances in my life so far where I felt like the world was literally crumbling around me—both instances dealt with loss. What I learned was that with a great support system and some time, you will be able to get through it and smile again—no matter how impossible it may seem in the moment.
  10. Moments not things. You’ll always remember amazing memories, events and adventures. Don’t spend time and money collecting stuff that you will likely forget about as time passes.
  11. Snap a lot of photos of loved ones and moments. Always try to document absolutely everything. Don’t ever be left feeling that you should have spent more time capturing certain moments—you can’t go back.
  12. Treat yourself. Yes, it’s wise to save your money, but you should also reward yourself sometimes, especially when achieving goals you have set for yourself.
  13. Read/watch/listen to the news. Educate yourself on what’s happening in the world and learn to formulate your own opinions.
  14. You just can’t please everyone — and that’s completely okay.
  15. Sometimes you just need a good cryNicholas Sparks’ movies/books can help you with this.
  16. You’re on your own path. Don’t concern yourself with what everyone else is doing. If it makes sense for you, do it.
  17. Moms really are always right. I still haven’t figured out how this is possible, but it is.
  18. Dogs are the best ever. Seriously.
  19. Your parents can end up being some of your best friends. I know mine are. Take it easy on them; they genuinely want what’s best for you.
  20. Forgiveness is important. Don’t hold onto grudges. Learn to forgive, let go, and grow.
  21. Being alone is healthy. Take time time for yourself to enjoy some R&R; it’s good for you.
  22. Don’t take everything at face value. Oftentimes there’s more to something beneath the surface.
  23. It’s good to get away. Staycations or vacations, just change your scenery.
  24. Always be grateful for every moment of every day.
  25. Do what you love and forget about the rest.  It’s your life to live, not anyone else’s.

And there you have it! A list of things I’ve learned throughout a quarter of a century. I’m extremely excited to see what I learn in the next 25! Cheers!

MeganSignature

3 Ways Negative Feedback Can Help Your Business

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Did you know that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising and that approximately 20 – 50% of purchases are the result of a word-of-mouth recommendation? Do you rely on the advice and opinions of others when making a purchasing decision? I know I personally do.

How does all of this relate to your business and your customers? What happens when someone leaves a negative review in a public place — such as social media, your website, or Yelp? Before you panic and become extremely flustered, check out my list below to discover how a negative review can actually positively impact your business.

  1. Use a negative review as a chance to shine. Always thank customers for positive reviews, and address any negative reviews, stat. Put your customer service hat on and respond to comments publicly. This will give the dissatisfied customer a solution to their feedback, and others will be able to see the positive support and interaction you provide your customers. Check out this post for a list of 6 tips for providing exceptional social customer service.
  2. Negative reviews can help buyers make a better purchase decision. Not every “bad” review is bashing your business. Many individuals leave feedback sharing how the product didn’t have certain features or perform how they had hoped it would, etc. For example: a review on a purse may state that the customer greatly disliked the item because it had a zipper closure when they were hoping it would have a snap closure; the customer obviously wasn’t satisfied, but potential customers may find the review helpful as they may actually prefer the product as is. By being able to sort through reviews and create their own list of pros and cons of your product/service, individuals can better understand exactly what your business offers and set clearer expectations in their mind.
  3. A negative review can eliminate the “too good to be true” notion. Many people think that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is. Some businesses go to extremes to delete or hide negative reviews — don’t do the same. Choose to display all reviews—both good and bad—to show current and future customers that you are extremely transparent and truly care about their thoughts, criticism, and feedback. It’s how you deal with negativity that really matters, so refer back to step 1. Displaying negative reviews that are rectified can help to build trust among consumers.

There you have it —3 ways that negative reviews can actually help—not hurt—your business. Shift your mindset away from the idea that a negative review can be detrimental to your business and instead to listen to your customers, learn from any mistakes, make improvements to your products/services/processes and provide the best possible customer service to combat any negativity.

Good luck!

MeganSignature

6 Pieces of Advice for New Grads

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With college and university acceptance letters being sent out, I thought that as a recent(ish) college/university grad it would be appropriate to share some advice that I learned along the way.

  1. Think of your post-secondary education as an investment. Everyone always wants to have the “ultimate college experience”, which is perfectly fine and attainable, just remember why you’re spending large amounts of money. Your education is an investment into your future; you can still have fun, but be sure to maintain balance.
  2. Be prepared for lifelong learning. It’s true – learning does not stop when you have your diploma in hand. At the same time, realize that your education just lays the groundwork. There were a few times in college/university that I was truly overwhelmed. I wish I would have realized back then that it wasn’t the end of the world. Starting my career helped me build on the knowledge I had gained, strengthen concepts I struggled with, and learn invaluable lessons that I could not have learned in my 5 years of post-secondary. Don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t land—seek clarification and keep pushing through. You may never use a certain concept ever again in your professional life, or you may have opportunities to actually apply it and better understand it.
  3. There are no stupid questions. If you have a question, be sure to ask it.  It may be nerve-wracking to blurt out a question in front of 20 – 200 people, but do it anyways. If you’re really uncomfortable send off an email to your professor or make arrangements to see them after class. You never know — the question you’re too afraid to ask may end up on your next test.
  4. Find out what works best for you. Some people study better in groups or pairs, and some are better off studying on their own. Some people need to study using cue cards, while others prefer to replay audio from lectures. Try out different methods and figure out what works well for you.
  5. Take advantage of placements. If your program offers placements, whether voluntary or mandatory, commit to completing one. Choose an area that interests you, research the employer before you jump in, and make the most of your time there. Some placements may lead to employment upon graduation. At the very least, you’ll be able to build upon your skills, learn new things and get a feel for the environment you excel and enjoy working in.
  6. There may be pit stops when travelling from Point A to Point B. Don’t start your education with the notion that you’re going to attend class, graduate and land your dream job. Keep your mind open. You may be presented with many options you weren’t expecting and therefore are forced to travel down a different path; embrace it. When I initially graduated from college, I decided to further my education at university for a year because I just wasn’t ready—and that’s completely okay. I learned new things, moved out on my own for the first time and made many great friends. These are all experiences that I would never trade. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I sent out resumes to a wide variety of jobs and felt like I was “settling”. I decided to keep pursuing my education. In doing so, I learned exactly what I wanted to do and completed a placement at Plan A/StaffStat. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses and was offered employment doing what I love. The point is this: don’t concern yourself with what everyone else is doing. As cliché as it sounds, do what you love and enjoy the journey.

MeganSignature