Did you know that there are apps specifically designed for the exhibiting industry? And did you know that if you aren’t using at least some of them you are missing the boat? BIG TIME.
You probably already manage every other area of your life via your phone and the apps you’ve downloaded. Perhaps even most of your work life. It’s time to go all in on utilizing apps that will increase and improve your trade show and exhibiting business.
First, let’s take a quick look at the TYPES of apps available that you need to be using to streamline your trade show life:
A “Virtual Secretary” App – you need some kind of administrative app that schedules (transportation, accommodations, booth shifts), tracks expenses, and helps with decision-making. Team management apps are not even an option because traveling to trade shows now has so many moving parts. Apps like When I Work, ShowGo Mobile, Expensify, and others manage the details before, during, and after your trip for your entire team and make them seamlessly available and shareable.
A Catalogue App – depending on the type of product or service your company offers, this could be a lifesaver. If you generally hand out a fat stack of catalogues at shows, Fatstax will save you space and hassle. A catalogue app makes it easy for customers to search for and order products and for you to upload and easily change out images and information.
A Messaging App – this one is obvious. However, some people STILL use a text thread in Messenger for communicating with their team members. This is unwise because an important team communication can easily get buried under personal or other messages. Try a messaging app specifically for your team and one that is seamless across platforms. Slack, WhatsApp, GroupMe, etc. are ideal apps for teams that have a mix of Android and iOS users and they work globally.
A Lead Capturing App – this one’s going to save you a lot of time, effort, and money during and after the show. Most of these apps are designed specifically for tradeshows and can be loaded onto the booth’s iPad so that attendees can enter their contact information or scan a business card directly. During or after the show, you can send emails straight from the app. After the show, it analyzes metrics and sorts information into usable data. Apps like Leadature, Intelligent Leads, and CamCard are top of the line.
An Engagement App – fun, creative, interactive booths are the ones visitors remember, and now you can have an endless variety of ideas for how to make your booth just that. Engagement apps like iPrizeWheel, Pixe Snap, or others (new ones are popping up frequently) make your booth memorable and create an air of excitement and fun.
Ok, now that you know the kinds of apps you might need and want to use at your next trade show, here’s a quick flyover of the most popular and stable apps that people in the industry are highly recommending.
- ShowGo Mobile. Schedules, flights, lodging, inventory, staffing, and more can all be entered into a central location on the Cloud. That information is disseminated and kept live for staff on all operating systems. In case of changing plans or cancelled flights, the app notifies users in real time. Any changes and updates entered into the database are available instantly to staff accessing the app. It’s a secretary in your pocket. One-time fee. Android/iOS.
- Expensify. Whether it’s trade show season or tax season, this app is a lifesaver. Use the app’s SmartScan to capture receipts, annotate entries with additional information, link the app to a credit card to match expenses to purchases, reconcile credit cards, and seamlessly integrate with your accounting software of choice. Track travel, lodging, materials, booth setup, client meals, mileage, time, and more. Free download. Monthly subscription. Android/iOS.
- Fatstax. More than a digital catalogue! Load this app onto your iPad and save your back and your table space. Attendees can search, browse, and purchase right from the app. Whatever format you like and are comfortable with will seamlessly sync up – whether it’s video or PDF pamphlets or PowerPoint presentations or HTML5. Fatstax can be customized to match all your company’s branding so the interface doesn’t look borrowed. Plus, it allows for CRM integration of leads captured (and any marketing-automation system you prefer) making it easy to run its built-in analytics for every show. One-time fee. iPad-based. Off-line functionality.
- CamCard. This aptly-named app does one thing and it does it perfectly. It captures and stores business cards on the Cloud. Its e-card feature allows you to communicate via the app with contacts collected. If you don’t already use a management app that holds all your cards, this is the one. One-time fee.
- Leadature. This app is the big daddy of data collection. It works on every platform. There’s a free trial. There’s an Express and a Prime option for trying it. It works on and off-line. And it’s your one-stop-shop for lead capturing and qualifying, and real-time metrics. Users are able to customize their qualifying criteria and measure interactions using a vast array of in-app metrics. Whether you desire a wizard interface or full customization, hands-on support or independence, this app has it. One-time fee OR subscription. Android/iOS/Windows. Off-line functionality.
- QuickTapSurvey. Sometimes things are just what they seem. And this app is. It provides exhibitors with a way to quickly survey visitors for any reason imaginable – lead capture, product feedback, market research, etc. Loaded with features like ranked responses, skip logic, interactive animation, games, and more, QuickTapSurvey is a go-to for fun data collection, and because it works offline, you don’t have to worry about it being quirky if the event space’s WiFi is sketchy. Subscription only. Android/iOS. Off-line functionality.
- iPrizeWheel. Gone are the gigantic spinning prize wheels of old. Welcome to the portable, digital, changeable prize wheel of today! No building, shipping, storing, or transporting. You can take it from the booth to the nighttime customer event. You can change up the campaign, the prizes, and the look of it with a few strokes. It offers all the fun bells and whistles of the real thing, and if you really want the gigantic visual effect, it easily casts onto a large screen for the “Wow!” factor. One-time fee. iOS. Offline functionality.
- Pixe Snap. Thank goodness for the “me generation” that loves to take pictures of itself. Actually, who doesn’t love a photo booth? And Pixe Snap lets you pop one up in no time, easily share snaps to any social media page, add event names and hashtags, attach messages, and much more. It really is a photo booth in your pocket. And it punches a lot of lively activity into your booth space. One-time fee OR subscription. Android/iOS.
There are more ways than ever to manage your trade show life. From scheduling your event to giving away swag, there’s an app to help you simplify and streamline the whole thing. Don’t be overwhelmed! Instead, jump into the digital party and make things a little easier on yourself and your team.
Photo by Rob Curran