Learn why leasing your NEW trade show display may be your best option

Have you ever considered leasing a trade show display? Many companies don’t realize that this option exists and by using it you may be able to up your game and get into that larger multi-media Display that you always thought was out of reach!

For example, if you currently have a 10×10 pop up display, but you know you really need an upgrade to stay ahead of the competition, now through our affordable Leasing options, you can upgrade to that 10x20 or 20x20 Display of your dreams!

Leasing your trade show display can be beneficial for your business in many ways.   First and foremost, equipment leasing allows companies an effective alternative to paying cash or leveraging your available credit to acquire this new Display equipment needed to grow their business.  Amortizing the investment over several years as opposed to a heavy expense all in one budget cycle. Leasing evens out your cash flow by leaving you with one predictable low monthly payment allowing you to manage your business more effectively and leaving cash/credit for other expenses such as marketing or new product development.

In addition, Exhibit leasing also includes a nice tax benefit.  The equipment (trade show exhibit) is 100% tax deductible. As a corporation, you can deduct the full purchase price for equipment purchased or financed in the current tax year.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leasing Your Trade Show Display

1. Will I own my trade show booth?
Answer – Yes, most of our leases have a Lease to Ownoption built in so that you will own the equipment outright at the end of the lease for no more than 10% of the total value of the lease.  For Example: If you purchase a $5,000 display on a 36 month term you will pay $500 at the end to own the booth.

2. Can I pay it off early?
Answer – Yes, trade show display leases can be paid off early and unlike traditional finance there is no separation of principle and interest. Leasing offers one consistent low monthly payment that allows you to establish a predictable budget to maximize your profits and help grow your company.

3. What is the process to get started?
Answer – Just call us todayand we can get the ball rolling, starting with an amazing design that will blow away the competition at your next trade show!

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your trade show needs:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com


Effective POP and Marketing Success In-Store

Marketing moves very quickly; trends come and go; new technology evolves and suddenly the way we approach promotion and advertising has changed almost completely. On what sometimes seems like a daily basis, another new trend or innovation comes along and the way we market to our target audiences changes again.

Keeping up with the changes and new trends is not only advisable, it is usually critical to success.

However, evolving with the times doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning previous ideas that have a proven track record.

For example, although the media and techniques may have changed the principles behind POP in-store advertising and promotion are essentially the same.

We’re all familiar with the “impulse buy”,we see that beautifullifestyle image promoting a new shampoo and we are hooked. Or that moment at the cash register as you wait to pay for your groceries and realize you just can’t go on without the latest issue of Vanity Fair and a package of the latest re-invention of chewing gum. Now, do we really need that shampoo to survive or that last-minute purchase? Not likely but it certainly seems that way in the moment. And “moment” is the key word – realistically that is the length of time that we have to convince someone to indulge that impulse.That impulse, that momentary whim, is responsible for 50% of all purchasing choices. And that impulse is stronger of course during in-person retail visits than online. So clearly POP advertising and promotional visuals need to tap into the strength of that impulse.

Not only do in-store visuals influence that moment of impulse, every POP banner or sign is placed based on evidence proving that this will help to harness that impulse power and help your product be the one that is chosen. There is a science to this; the right image, the right message, the correct placement and the most advantageous rotation of product and messages to avoid the display becoming too familiar. There are proven reasons for every colour choice, font choice, image theme and copy choice.

The right POP signage and display is critical for retail businesses. With a myriad of stores to choose from all full of an overwhelming amount of product, this is how your product, your brand can stand out. An effective display that incorporates the science behind consumer trends will have a huge impact on the already significant impulse buying category. That is why companies bring so much awareness to the display and positioning of products.

What suits the product and uses the science? Interactive displays, lifestyle images, contest promotions, a give-away, BOGO or product with purchase? The options are endless. The common factor is eye-catching design and imaging to establish your promotion. There are many ideas, media, trends and facts to consider and we can help – our full suite of services ranges from design to production, fabrication and installation.

Our veteran staff has many years of retail POP experience. We are here to help you maximize your product’s success in the marketplace.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com


SmartLink Design Services

Regardless of your product or the intention of your business, all companies promote.

And whether you are B to B, a national chain store or an international consumer product; all promotional pieces, advertising, trade show booths and print ads need one thing to be truly effective – great design.

Advertising agencies have in house graphic artists to evolve and perfect a campaign. Huge multi-nationals often use several different agencies and have an in-house designers as well. 

So what about everyone else?

That is where we come in – at  SmartLink, we can take your idea and turn it into what you need it to be. No ideas? That’s ok! We can start from scratch and make suggestions that can evolve into anything from an effective POP piece to a full strategy to promote and sell your product. 

And as a full service provider, we can take that design, handle the production, fulfillment, fabrication, installation and all other aspects of your project. Our veteran team of sales and production people have worked on with all types of clients for all sorts of promotional purposes and can advise you both strategically and practically.

So whether you’re a small business owner looking for help with a new logo and advertising or the director of a large corporation needing fast and reliable turnaround on special projects, SmartLink can deliver. We offer design services experience in corporate identity, packaging, print collateral, advertising, large format, tradeshow, display and more.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com


Is traditional ink on paper printing still viable?

With so many people claiming that an online presence and downloadable content are the best way to reach your target audience it is easy to think that traditional printing may be less effective, but you’d be wrong. Printing and Visual Marketing should still have a unique place in your Marketing mix, and here are a few reasons why.

Hard Copy – When you provide your potential customers with a beautifully printed brochure, sell-sheet or catalogue you leave them with a reference point that speaks to your companies offering that they will have for many months to come. They will look through it at least 3-4 times and this ability to look at it whenever they want without having to fire-up a device is key.

Easy to share – When you have a printed piece it is easy to let anyone look it over and see all the benefits you have on offer. This is also like leaving a business card or mini-salesperson as this document can help to sell your products or services without having to pay-per-click.

Less expensive – When you think of how much you pay for web services to run a successful campaign, print is a bargain. When you think of the number of eyeballs that will see that brochure or pamphlet over say a 3 month period your cost per impression is negligible.

Targeted – You can send your brochures or catalogues out using very powerful targeting techniques used by mailing houses to get you sales message to the right person at the right time for just pennies per unit.

Link the Print to your Online Campaign – You can combine the power of print with the power of the internet by including links to your content or by using QR codes that the client can scan and be taken to certain web pages or website. 

Trusted Source – Customers respond better to companies that offer printed material and in most cases, trust them more than companies that rely solely on digital media. Websites can be changed quickly, printed materials are more permanent.

Trade Show Giveaways – If you Exhibit at Trade Shows then you must have some sort of printed collateral materials that you can use as a giveaway to attendees that drop by your Booth. Again, this pamphlet or brochure serves two purposes, the first to showcase your products & services, and the other is as a powerful brand ambassador that they will look at many, many times over the coming months.

In conclusion, I believe that print is just as viable as ever and that when used properly as a part of a multi-dimensional marketing program, featuring a strong web presence and an active social media mix it will make your brand simply unstoppable.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com

Summer outdoor displays with tents and flags


Outdoor events are a great way to promote your brand during the summer months. And tents are an excellent summer display option. They give you the opportunity to create your space in a crowd and are great for building your branded environment – perfect event stoppers! Easily make an impact at any outdoor event with a durable, weather-resistant tent. Tents are available in a variety of sizes and styles  – literally there is a tent to fit any need – pop
up tents, weather resistant tents and custom tents. Messaging and branding is simple with the opportunity for custom printed graphics. Outdoor banners, flags and signage add additional messaging space to your outdoor display. Tents allow participation at events in all weather and the walls are also perfect for use as traffic barriers and to help to enclose your space while allowing for air flow throughout.


Flags are ideal displays for outdoor sporting events, concerts, golf tournaments and festivals or to draw attention to a store front or local business. And they are great for roadside advertising. With a wide range of sizes and graphic options including teardrop, straight and more, it is easy to find the perfect messaging solution. For indoor or outdoor use, the flexible design options allow for special effects such as the graphic rotating in the wind, double-sided printing and various combinations of sizes and shapes. We customize flags with your message and logo to draw attention to your event or business. An easy and effective way to draw a crowd!

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com

Pole Banner Program

Take advantage of your existing street lamp standards and create a dramatic, highly visible and effctive advertising program in your town by incorporating pole banners into your BIA promotion program.

Customize the durable vinyl graphics for seasonal events, historic celebrations, special event promotions or all year long and see the beneficial effect on local commerce, tourism and participation in regional events. Pole banners are designed to withstand all types of weather for months and are easy to install.

Smartlink  can guide you through the entire process from concept and design to final installation.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com

Vehicle Graphics, what option is right for you?

From a full vehicle wrap to window graphics to simple magnetic signs, there are multiple options to turn a single vechicle or a full fleet into a high impact promotional and advertising tool.

Smartlink Canada can guide you through the various types of vehicle graphics; from inception to completion we will advise you as to the best option for your company and vehicles. We will design the graphic to produce an impactful finished product. We will produce and install the graphics working with the best quality substrates and we will use our experienced installers to ensure the best results.

Let’s take a look at all the options:

Vehicle Wraps

You may have a single compact vehicle or a fleet of large trucks; whatever the situation, vehicle wraps are an extremely effective way to promote your company and your products – a rolling billboard that is exposed to other drivers on the road, in parking lots or on a job site.

There are several ways to wrap a vehicle:

Full Wrap – A full vehicle wrap is an opportunity to create a high impact graphic effect and a powerful advertising message. Everyone has seen a fully wrapped vehicle on the road – it’s hard to overlook and when designed with maximum impact in mind, the image and an easily read message can be seen by literally thousands of potential customers.

Partial Wrap – Whether it better suits the design, the vehicle or your budget, partial wraps are also an effective way to go. With a partial wrap, it is possible to use a specific part of the vehcle to accomodate your budget without compromising on the effectiveness of the message.

Perforated Window Film – Perforated window film on side and back windows can enhance a full or partial vehicle wrap or act as a stand alone graphic. Window graphics don’t compromise visibilty from the inside and create a one way look from the outside.

Vinyl Graphics

Cut one off from vinyl sheets, vinyl graphics are great for simple text, images or logos. They allow an ease of install and removal to change and update as your company’s needs evolve and change. They create a clean, minmal look that is easy to read.

Magnetic Signage

Magnetic signage is the ultimate in easy to use vehicle advertising graphics. This type of signage can be cut to various shapes and sizes,  it can be moved from one vehicle to another or if you would like to take a night off from work, remove the sign all together. A very budget friendly and easy to use option.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com


Does POP Visual Marketing Still Matter in the Age of E?

This is certainly the “E” era.

From booking doctor appointments, to banking, to signing in for yoga class to following your child’s progress at school; we can do almost everything on-line with both speed and convenience. This also includes e-commerce – the latest and greatest way to shop – or is it?

According to POPAI, 76% of purchasing decisions are made in-store. According to Cisco, a staggering 93% of all products sold are sold in a bricks and mortar store. So what does this mean? Is there a case to be made for POP visual marketing in the E era? Yes!

According to those statistics, many people are still looking for the in-store experience – the visual appeal of the actual product, the opportunity for the tactile effect of handling the product and last but not least; the chance for human interaction. It is true – people buy from other people. Your employees can build a relationship between the customer and the product more effectively than one created on a website. A physical store enhances that interpersonal connection, creating an effect and building brand loyalty. A large part of that is through visual influence. Personally, I shop at a specific pet food store because of the compelling large format puppy and kitten murals that hang over the products!

As well, luxury and upper middle range brand retailers quickly realized that e-commerce can diminish exclusivity and “cheapen” a product by making it too easy to obtain. Exclusivity builds excitement and market tension. Of course that can be done on line but it is often more easily and successfully done in person. Buying that $3000 designer bag in your pyjamas at home is convenient but not as much fun as drinking a glass of champagne while viewing the full product line in a swanky store. And there is no question as to which experience builds more brand loyalty.

On line a product is “out of stock”. In person there is an opportunity to expand that to “not currently available because it is so fabulously exclusive, here is why and can I put you on our waiting list?” as opposed to your e customer moving on to the next website.

Certainly it seems that we have definitely not seen the death of the bricks and mortar shopping experience.
This brings us to our original point – POP in the age of E.

Based on this information, point of purchase visual marketing is just as important as ever. Since it seems that many people are still shopping in-store, it is likely as important now as a decade or two ago. And getting people to your store is only half the battle, selling them what they originally came for and something more is the rest. A well – conceived POP program will create a visual connection to your product and the chance to cross sell and upsell.

People continue to shop in store and that is a good thing. Visual marketing enhances the experience for the customer and increases sales for the retailer – another good thing. Whether it’s an actual cookie shaped business card for your cookie business or a life-sized hockey player selling snacks at the grocery store, we live in a visual world and visual marketing still sells product period.

Smartlink Canada, a visual marketing company based in Toronto, will help you conceive, design, produce and install your POP campaign. Our team of industry veterans have years of retail experience and are ready to guide and advise from inception to completion.

To find out more about how SmartLink can assist you with your visual marketing materials:
Please contact Laura at 705-351-8700 or email laura@smartlinkus.com

Maximize your Trade Show ROI with these simple tips…

Pre-Show Promotion –

1. E-Mail Blast send an email blast to your client list with show information, your booth number, profile company personnel who will be at your booth and tease any new products or services.
2. E-Mail Signature for repeat exposure, reinforce your message with a one-line reminder in your email signature starting a month before the show – “Look for us at The Mining Show – Booth 2315 May 3-5.”
3. LinkedIn Profile Update your corporate LinkedIn profile with the show information and a link to the show website.
4. Social Media Be sure to maximize all social media platforms with ongoing information regarding your presence at trade shows. Give people a reason to come to your booth: announce a draw or contest, a give-away, a demonstration or samples will all encourage attendance at your booth.

Read the Exhibitor Manual

This is a simple idea that can save time, money and confusion.

For example, be clear as to the correct time for move-in and set-up as this is often tightly regulated and precisely timed.

The manual can also provide clarity as to maximum booth height and how to order electrical and other show services etc.

The manual will also indicate whether the show centre is unionized in which case show services will be provided only by unionized trades – this is good to know.

Bring Emergency Supplies

A graphic not co-operating or a broken piece on a booth can happen and a pair of scissors or a roll of tape can be a life-saver at a show.

Here are some suggestions for an emergency kit:
• Masking tape, duct tape, clear tape
• Scissors / utility knife
• Extension cord and power bar
• Screwdriver set
• Spray cleaner and paper towels
• Tape measure
• Cable ties

Book Early and Save

Booking space and show services early can save as much as 30%! The show website and manual will list “early bird” deadlines for services such as carpet, plants, electrical and internet and wi-fi.

Also look for advance shipping information for your booth and products and save money on shipping.

Send your Best People

Other than the impact of your booth, the most significant factor at a trade show is the personnel.

Significant time and effort has gone into the booth and being at the show and your personnel are ultimately responsible for maximizing the benefits of that show – attracting people to the booth and engaging them, asking the right questions and effectively recognizing qualified leads. Send your best people – if someone is new to trade show selling, an in-house information session before hand explaining the trade show approach, will be very helpful.

Trade shows are an effective and useful way to promote your company and sell your product or services, the one on one approach, the hands- on experience and the human factor are invaluable in relationship building and effective selling; your best people will give the best results.

Smartlink Canada is a value-added supplier of visual marketing materials.

We pride ourselves in providing excellence in design, print, fabrication and event management services.

We offer a full spectrum of capabilities from design, approval, print production and finishing, through to fulfillment, distribution and installation.

Please contact Laura for more information and to set up an appointment.

5 innovative retail signage ideas to make your clients stand out from the crowd

Retail signage in shop window

Photo credit: Mike Petrucci via Unsplash

Retail signage should visually showcase a brand’s unique personality, as well as create a stimulating and engaging environment for customers. For retail marketers, brainstorming innovative signage ideas that achieve both of these goals for their clients is no easy task.

If you’re a retail marketer looking for some serious retail signage inspiration, read on!

1. Create a grand entrance.
A retailer’s exterior signage should catch the eye of every passerby. It should be bold, unique, and heavily branded. It should also encourage people to take time out of their busy lives to actually step inside the store. One of the best ways to achieve all of these goals is to create an entrance that is so eye-catching it literally draws people into the store. This could be done by building a uniquely shaped doorway, playing with paint patterns, or getting creative with signage, wall murals, or window graphics.

This Adidas store uses the brand’s trademark white lines to actually lead passerby from the street into the store, while this theater uses simple paint to make their entire entryway look exactly like their logo.

2. Add clever, unexpected details.
Whether you go all out with your entryway signage or keep it subtle, you should definitely consider playing with smaller design details that will surprise and entertain your retail client’s customers. Use landscaping, lighting, and other architectural features to get creative.

For instance, if your client sells art or design supplies, you could position a giant-sized squeeze bottle of paint near a bed of flowers to make it look like the flowers have been squeezed out of the bottle. If your client owns a musical instrument store, why not paint the steps leading up to your doorway to look like piano keys? The point is use the space you have to build something both clever and unexpected that will delight customers.

3. Encourage photo ops.
Thanks to the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram, there’s no shortage of both amateur and professional photographers looking for their next share-worthy photo op. So, why not give the people what they want? Install a unique statement wall, art display, optical illusion, or other design idea inside or outside of your retail client’s storefront, and encourage customers to snap a photo and share their location.

Biscuit Home, an interior design store in Houston, used the exterior of their building to create the colorful #BiscuitPaintWall. By including the hashtag on a sign next to the wall, the store has managed to accumulate thousands of hashtag mentions. Not only has this tactic driven thousands of consumers to their storefront, but they’ve achieved a social reach way beyond what they would be able to achieve on their own.

4. Play around with typography trends.
So many retailers use signage that is nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding competition. Make your retail client’s storefront stand out from the crowd by using beautiful, unique, and creative typography. Depending on your client’s brand, your choice in typography could range from clean and minimalist to big and bold, or from regal to classic and retro.

For some inspiration, check out these signage typography ideas from Pinterest here, here, here, and here.

5. Use eye-catching symbols instead of words.
You already know that a picture is worth a thousand words. We believe that this is even more true when it comes to retail signage! While words are important, sometimes the right symbols and images can be even more intriguing for customers. For example, this signage from Sigmund’s Pretzels is about as minimalist as it gets. But for a passerby craving a salty snack, it only takes one look at that pretzel symbol to start thinking about whether or not they should stop in for a snack.

For more ideas, check out symbol signage for this engagement ring shop, this alterations store, and this key shop. In all of these examples, the signage is ultra-simple, but highly effective. Even this fun yoga studio sign fits the bill.
Need help creating innovative retail signage to help your client stand out from the crowd? Contact SmartLink today to learn more about our retail signage services.