Affordable, Eco-friendly Banners and Yard Signs


  • A Guide to Using Banners and Other Advertising at Conventions

    Although we always talk about how businesses can appeal to their fans during fairs and conventions with banners, giveaways, and promotions, we sometimes forget about that small section that’s been pushed to the corner over the years, but is slowly crawling back to the center stage: the Artist Alley! And never was there a more interesting place to research the latest and greatest art, along with how these artists are promoting themselves.

    PART 1: Anime Expo vs. San Diego Comic-Con

    I always frequent Artist Alley when I head to the entertainment conventions like Anime Expo and San Diego Comic-Con. This was my first year to Anime Expo, and I was blown away by how much self-marketing was going on in their Artists’ Alley: rows and rows of PVC pipe structures where artists hung their pieces and colorful displays like I’ve never seen before.

    See what I mean?

    In past years when I went to SD Comic-Con, I’d have to say that their Artist Alley was...well, more modest in comparison. There was definitely a difference in professionalism and the age demographic, but compare for a moment:

    Each Artist Alley is successful in its own way, and we shall examine why that is. Whether you’re a new artist trying to make a buck at a convention sometime soon, or an old-timer trying to jazz up your space, stay tuned for some helpful tips on how to stand out amongst your fellow artists. As someone who makes a hobby out of being a customer, let me help you find a way get the coveted attention of conventioneers who pass by your beloved art.

    We will continue next time with PART 2: Seize Your Space!

  • Keep ‘em Coming Back for MORE: Banking on Collectible Giveaways

    We've talked about banner designs, and we've gone over the famed Scavenger Hunt idea. Today, let's talk about another marketing strategy to draw attention to your business during a convention or a fair.

    One idea to attract people to your booth is to give away promotional items. BUT an even better one that’ll keep them coming back is to have Collectible Giveaways!! Fans will seek you out year after year to get that new item for their collection, and you can use this opportunity to market your new stuff to them.

    The example I’ll draw from is Viz Media: a manga & anime merchandise business based in San Francisco. Every year at the San Diego Comic-Con (and other related conventions), they give away a new variance of a tote bag, such as this one from 2007:

    And here is one from 2006...

    I can’t tell you how many times my cousins and I made bets on what the next year’s bag color would be. It was always our first stop on the exhibit floor.

    Future Changes

    Although in these past few years Viz has changed to a more single-tone bag with cheaper material, the idea is still the same: give the fans something useful, while at the same time making it fun and collectible. This is a surefire way to keep your fans coming back for more and, even better, will bring their friends with them.

    Now, Viz used to give these bags away with purchases at their booth. Even though they don’t sell merchandise anymore (they just do informational stuff), they implemented a new technique this year: the SCAVENGER HUNT! Of which you can read more about here.

  • Scavenger Hunts: Make Them Work for it!

    We're always talking about how a smartly designed banner will attract attention, but there are other ideas out there besides print and ink. In addition to banners and other visual ads, here's another technique to help you attract new customers, as well as keep the repeat ones coming back for more: a scavenger hunt!

    The scavenger hunt is a new idea that recently started appearing at conventions and fairs: fill out a survey, go see some stations, collect stamps, and then you get a prize! I went through Viz Media’s scavenger hunt at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles. It was very easy, and a clever way for them to advertise their new online markets. I got a stamp at each station and voila! Received this year’s tote bag as a prize.

    This model is a smart and effective way to get the fans to interact more with the business. It was quick and painless too, no waiting in long lines to get to a station either. Even though Viz Media is already a well-known entertainment business, this model can still be implemented for other kinds of businesses as well.

    Recently at a county fair, I went to the Chevrolet booth, took a survey and got a free water bottle. Easy, right? Well, this model of survey = prize is pretty common, but for a more classy business like the automobile industry, a scavenger hunt can be used too. Have people go to each model on the floor and collect a stamp or a sticker, and when they collect them all they get a prize.

    Giving your fans and customers something to do at your booth is just as important as what you’re trying to market to them. Take these “stations” as opportunities to give them quick facts about what they’re looking at. Or, even better, play a small game, like ring toss or a matching game! The more that people are having fun, the more likely they’ll tell their friends or spread the word about it. And, hey! We're a banner company: purchase banners from us, designed to indicate each of your stations.

    However, heed my warning: your fans will be expecting a payoff after all that work. No gain or no prize = very unhappy fans.

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