Monday, January 15, 2018

Rock Your Next Business Expo with These 10 Tips

Whether you’re attending a local chamber business expo or a trade industry show, you want to showcase your best self. Of course, that means sending a good team that represents your business well, having an enticing set up, and giving away something worthwhile in the eyes of the attendees.

But what can you do to really stand out from the crowd at your next business expo?
Here are a few things you might not have thought of:

10 Tips to Rock Your Next Business Expo

    1.    Attend to needs. No one can listen to your business spiel if they need something physical. Often, that shows up in the form of rest needed for tired feet, a cool drink of water to satiate thirst, or the extremely important…charge for their dying phone. Be an oasis in the midst of the business expo by providing for all of the attendees’ basic needs. When you give something to someone or assist them in some way, they’ll feel obligated to listen to your pitch; at least until their phone is charged.

   2.    Tell them why they should come. Every business has marketed their expo appearance by saying something along the lines of “Stop by and see us at booth 444.” This boring exercise has never driven any participant to action. Instead, give them a reason to come see you. Get creative.

   3.    Contact existing customers you know will be there. Invite existing customers to stop by for a thank you gift. This makes your customers feel good and ensures people will stop by to talk to you. Also, other attendees will see how you treat your customers and want to be a part of that.

   4.    Reach out to attendees before the event and give them something valuable. If you’re able to secure an attendee list and can contact them, instead of just sending a brochure and letting it get lost in the mess of mail they receive, send them something valuable like Business Expo Tips or a discount for your services. (This is especially helpful if you sell something they could use at the show like business cards.

   5.    Use the show hashtag early and often. Share helpful information on social media using the show hashtag. The show host will likely share your content.

   6.    Ask how you can help. If you have some extra time, ask if you can help the show organizers set up or tear down. One expo allowed a vendor to run check-in wearing their branded apparel. The vendor team was the first group you saw at check-in and what you saw was them being helpful. It made an impression and they never even mentioned what company they were from.

   7.    Tell your story. Create a video that tells your story and set up a little area out of the way where people can learn more about you without being pounced on by salespeople.

   8.    Select a prime spot. Location is very important at a business expo. Prime spots include near the food, on the end of an aisle, at the corners, or at the entrance. Find out how your trade show assigns locations and then work it accordingly to get a good one.

   9.    Look for complementary services. If prime locations aren’t an option, look for businesses that cater to the same demographic that you do. For instance, if you are a “mommy and me” business, being located among senior citizen homes is not ideal. However, you would do very well near a toy company or diaper service booth.

  10. Choose the comfortable upgrades. Trade shows and business expos often have a lot of options and upgrading to the luxury ones provides benefit to your attendees. For instance, if you must rent carpeting from the show, select the heaviest padding. After a long day of standing on your feet, you’ll enjoy it and so will the attendees.
These tips can help you be more successful at your next show. Just keep in mind no one likes a hard sell anymore. Look for ways you can be of service and you’ll quickly make a name for yourself at the business expo.

Upcoming Business Expo for the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber...
MARDI GRAS Business Expo February 13th, 2018

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, and AssociationTech. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

20 Gifts to Give Yourself and Your Business in 2018

We made it past the holidays and onto a brand-new year. Hard to believe the calendar when you see 2018 staring back at you.
Didn’t we just start a new century yesterday?
Most of us have spent a few weeks looking for the perfect gifts for loved ones, employees, clients, pets, teachers, and a host of others. It’s time you shift that generosity to yourself and your business with these gifts you should be giving.

Gifts to Give Yourself and Your Business in the New Year

1.    Time. Start scheduling those things you’ve been meaning to do like exercise. Treat it like a meeting and schedule something regularly to meet your goals. Don’t cheat yourself out of this time. Your schedule will fall into place around it.
2.    Understanding. Everything you touch won’t always turn to gold. Cut yourself a break when it comes to your failures. Which brings us to….
3.    Learning. Whether it be learning from your failures or taking an online course, self-development is critical to all business professionals these days. Most likely, no one will tell you that you need to learn a particular skill. That’s on you. You need to keep up with what’s important in your industry and stay on top of the new tech and best practices associated with it.
4.    Hydration. Yes, seriously. It’s too easy to get busy and forget but our bodies are ¾ water so it’s an important one. While you’re at it buy yourself a cup you love, and it’ll be easier.
5.    Assistance. Maybe it’s time to hire help. It doesn’t have to come in a full-time role if you’re not sure about it. You can use a virtual assistant or project person to handle things while you gauge the workload. Still, getting someone on board to handle a few of the things that keep you up at night may make you feel better.
6.    Volunteering. Do something for someone else. Volunteer a few hours at a soup kitchen, mentor a young professional, or create a program at your business that gives employees a few hours to help in the community. It helps your marketing too.
7.    Simplicity. Look for ways to streamline things personally, professionally, and in your business. Your future self will thank you.
8.    No. Yes, “no” is a gift. Stop saying yes to everything simply out of obligation. Say no more so that you can give more attention to the things you really want to say yes to and those that will help you achieve your goals.
9.    Trust. Business owners must trust their employees and while most say they do, they often have created an environment where the subordinates don’t feel empowered to make decisions on their own. Make sure you’re clear about what they can (or can’t) handle on their own. You’ll have far fewer interruptions if you take the time to clear up the process.
10. Less television. Television is a time suck. Even if you enjoy unwinding every night in front of it, you may not be aware that you are losing hours and hours out of your day or your valuable sleep.
11. Sleep. 7-8 hours. Anything less impairs cognitive and decision-making abilities.
12. Chamber membership. It’s not enough to just pay the dues. Use your membership this year to grow your business in a new way. Extend your network, get involved, volunteer, or ask for assistance. There’s likely a whole world of services you’re not using.
13. Ending a bad habit. You have one. If it’s unhealthy or taking up room in your head, get rid of it.
14. Inspiration. Start keeping a journal or carry a notebook or use your phone and begin capturing the things that inspire you. Then once a month or so look for ways you can use those in your business.
15. Quiet. It’s hard to hear the inspiration when you don’t take a moment to listen to the silence.
16. Upgraded tech. If it’s been a while, you’re due.
17. Organization. Select one area of your home or life and organize it. Areas you might target are pictures, the basement, your storeroom, apps, or your mind.
18. Reading. This year read something you normally wouldn’t and see if it doesn’t make you think or reconsider previous thoughts. If you read fiction, try non-fiction. If you never read anything more than a magazine or a blog post, try something that’s a larger commitment. If you always read books, try an audiobook.
19. Consistency. Try setting out a plan and sticking to it or, if that’s what you always do, try something unexpected and unplanned. Shake 2018 up. Finally…
20. Challenge. It’s nice to live in comfort but no growth occurs there. Do something that terrifies you this year.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, and AssociationTech. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Is It Time to Embrace Emojis in Your Business Marketing?

Emojis are wildly popular on social media and personal correspondence but should they be used in business emails and posts? The answer might surprise you.
Emojis are mini depictions of emotional responses, everything from smiley faces to high fives. 92% of online consumers admit to using them in some capacity, while 30% of Millennials admit not being able to go a day without them. Why the need for them? They communicate an emotion quickly, especially helpful in social media where space and attention span are limited, and it’s something people identify with.

In 2015 alone, the use of emojis in marketing increased 777% but should you join them? The answer, of course, depends. It depends on a few things like:
  •        Your business/industry
  •        Your ideal customer or client demographic
  •         Personal communication versus company-wide marketing


It goes without saying that some industries are simply not receptive to this type of emotion-based communication, banking and financing come to mind. The funeral industry is also probably not a strong contender for emoticons.


Most marketers understand Millennials love emojis (75.9% of 25-29-year-old identify as “frequent users”) but what about other generations? 62.3% of those surveyed over 35 years old considered themselves “frequent users” of emojis, while 28.6% identified as occasional users. Only 8.1% of people over 35 said they were non-users of emojis.

Personal Communication Versus Business-Wide Communication

How you communicate as a business professional should be different than how you communicate as a business in your marketing. For instance, an emoji in a subject line to a customer about your next sale may be very intriguing. An emoji in the subject line for a report you’re sending to a manager or a board member probably isn’t.
In a study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers found that using smiley face emoticons makes you look incompetent. The study reads, “The adverse effects of smiley use are moderated by the formality of the social context and mediated by perceptions of message appropriateness."
Using emojis for business is fine (assuming it fits your demographic and industry) but should probably be used for marketing purposes only.  Should you feel tempted to use them in non-marketing, professional situations, take a cue from the higher ups. If you’re the business owner and like them, go for it. If not, base your usage on that of the people you report to.


Good Uses for Emojis in Business Marketing

If you’re going to use emojis in your business marketing, here are a few suggestions:
  •        Use emojis in a subject line to customers or potential customers.
  •        Use emojis in a social media post.
  •        Create a signature emoji for your company and use it as a hashtag.
  •        Use a signature emoji to place an order like Domino’s did.
  •        Ask customers to use emojis to describe their service or experience with you. It’s less of a time commitment than writing a review. Emotion can also be read easier.

If you’re considering using more emojis in your business make sure you do it in an acceptable way. They’re widely popular and some studies have even noted that the human brain views them the same as seeing a face mirroring the emotions. Just make sure you use them to delight your audience, not doing something purely because others are making the switch.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.