If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you have probably seen booths that are crowded and lively while the rest are deserted with the company staff looking gloomy and bored. Many companies wonder why there is such a disparity. How can they ensure success at trade shows? Do they have to make their booth vibrant and attractive? Do they have to promote it heavily in social media? Companies invest a lot of money, effort and time to participate in trade shows because they want to generate new leads, introduce new products/services or learn about new trends in their industries. According to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends, almost 68 percent of B2B Companies use in-person events as a content marketing strategy. They use this tactic more than producing white papers, videos, infographics and webinars. Ensuring that a company’s investment in trade shows is put to good use requires a solid trade show marketing strategy.
Here are few things to consider when developing a trade show strategy:
Determine what your objectives are.
What are your goals for being there? Do you want to create awareness of or generate buzz about your company? Do you want to promote a new product? Or maybe you just want to capture new leads and prospects for your database? Before you even sign up for a trade show, it’s important to know what your objectives are because everything you are looking to accomplish in the trade show will tie back to these objectives.
Plan in advance.
Most companies register well in advance but forget about other planning until a few weeks before the show. This process should start early and involve every aspect of the trade show – pre-show, at the show and post-show.
Make use of press and promotional opportunities at the show.
Reach out to media contacts ahead of time and set up interviews with them. Media contacts fill up their schedules pretty quickly so be sure to secure your interviews with them weeks or even months before the trade show. Check for speaking opportunities at the event. These will give you chances to engage with your target audience and promote your products/services. They also boost your credibility instantly because you get to speak about a topic of expertise.
Invest in a geofencing program at the trade show.
At trade shows, you have a lot of competition. Different companies use different tactics to grab the attention of their potential leads. One of the tools we recommend using at trade shows is geofencing, location-based targeting of your digital ads. Your geofencing ads should have a clear call to action that drives trade show attendees to your booth. These programs are a cost-effective way of making sure that your message gets picked up by your target audience in a very narrowly defined geographic space.
Create a booth space that is inviting and open.
One way to attract potential leads is to create a space that makes them feel welcome. Placing tables at the forefront of your booth might feel uninviting. Instead, make sure that the space allows people to move through your booth without feeling trapped. The design of the booth should tell attendees who you are and what your message is.
Spread the word in advance.
Give your target audience a good reason to stop by your booth. Take the time to send out emails, post in social media and create hype on what will happen during the trade show. If you’re launching a new product/service, create teaser content about it. If you’re speaking at the event, make sure to invite all your customers and prospects. Create excitement and interest about what they can expect when they go to your booth.
Develop a post-event follow-up strategy.
Your work shouldn’t stop on the last day of the event. Be sure to place follow-up calls or emails to potential customers you met at the show. It also helps when you keep the buzz going by generating post-show content on your blog or social media channels. Lastly, get a jump on your next trade show strategy. While the experience is fresh in your mind, think about the specific strategies that worked for you and what didn’t, then adapt your strategy for optimum effectiveness.
Trade shows are a great opportunity to promote your company and acquire leads for long-term relationships. With strong trade show marketing, you’ll reap the benefits of your investment.