When you are planning your trade show strategy, it can be easy to focus purely on booth logistics. While it is important to make sure you have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed (or forms filled out, shipping arranged, and staff organized), spending some additional time on marketing will help you ultimately improve results.
Event marketing provides opportunities to extend your outreach and increase awareness through marketing before, during, and after the trade show. Here are a few ways you can add some marketing tactics to your plan to better promote your presence and attract additional leads and attention.
While graphics fall under the logistics category, they also are a key component of your event marketing strategy. Your booth should reflect your company’s brand and messaging. Remember to keep any text short and simple, and don’t forget placement: text should be large and ideally placed on the top third of the backdrop or banner. Think about what people will be able to see and read from ten or more feet away in a crowded space. And , of course, shinning a little light on those graphics is ALWAYS a good idea! See our write-up on the importance of good lighting by clicking here.
Leverage your sales team! Have them reach out to customers and prospects before the show and provide the opportunity for them to pre-schedule meetings or demos. Your booth can serve as a meeting point even if you have to hold the actual meeting elsewhere. Do you send out an email newsletter? Include the show information, your booth number, and a call to action (CTA) to let people know how to meet you at the show. Often, show organizers will provide a banner that you can temporarily use in your email signature to advertise that you will be at the event, which is an easy form of passive communication.
Social media is an easy way to help you promote that you will be at the event and what you will be doing there. Before the event, find and follow influencers – this may be the company producing the trade show, their evangelists, speakers, media, or industry experts who frequently share news and information on the topics the event will be covering. Engage in dialog and/or share relevant content these influencers have posted. Use the event hashtag so people looking for information about the event will easily be able to find your information.
The ability to send an email or include information in an email sent to attendees by show management is a common sponsorship benefit (although, this may change with the advent of the GDPR). If you can take advantage of this, it is a good way to let those attendees know not just that you will be there, but why they should care. Another common offer is participation in a “Hall Crawl” activity, where attendees have to get stamps from various sponsors. While this is unlikely to increase the number of qualified leads, it will help bring you more visibility and traffic, which can be beneficial for starting conversations and for brand awareness.
Giveaways can be a great way to get extra brand visibility, but even these items need to be marketed. Giving out t-shirts is fine, but if you want to go the extra mile, give out t-shirts (or any form of wearable, from a button to a cap to a backpack luggage tag) and have one or more additional “prizes” which can be randomly awarded when your staff sees someone wearing that branded item over the duration of the event. If you have a small budget, consider a raffle – but be sure to follow legal regulations.
No matter how you choose to market your presence, always include a CTA to draw people to your booth, such as “see a demo and get 15 minutes of free consulting.” Make sure your CTAs match your event goals: the more tailored the benefit, the more highly qualified the leads will be – you will get more traffic if you advertise free t-shirts, but you will get more leads if your offer is a service that will lure your prospects in.
Preparation is key to success. With the proper strategy and execution, marketing will elevate your event, delivering more highly qualified leads and increased visibility for your brand.
- Danalynne (Wheeler) Menegus