It’s easy to say you’re going to go to a trade show. Put your name down. Turn up on the day. Go home.
But what makes a tradeshow successful? How can you ensure your tradeshow marketing is on point and makes the most out of every event that matters to you. I’ve pulled together these seven tips to master trade show marketing and make every event work.
1. Define your objectives
What are you hoping to get from the trade show? What does success look like? Ultimately you want to develop your business, meet new customers, give your company and brand exposure. What’s most important and how will you measure this?
You can put your trade show marketing plan down to one objective to give your team focus. This will ensure every action is results focused and you can start to calculate metrics to measure your trade show success on.
2. Plan your message
What makes your company, products or services unique? Why should a potential customer make the time to speak to you? Work out how to communicate this perfectly before they’ve even approached you, so that when they do you can grasp the opportunity.
Ensure in all your trade show marketing – before, during and after – communicates the same message, which leads me nicely onto the next point!
3. Consistency is key
What you communicate when you’re at the show has to match what you’ve communicated when promoting yourself in the build up to the show.
The more consistent your message, the more recognisable. Everyone knows the ‘just do it’ campaigns, but the branding, language and tone needs to be consistent in every communication you broadcast. This applies externally, but also within your team, if your team are overwhelmingly positive that will come across as your company employing happy, nice people.
4. Press and PR
Everyone who goes to a busy trade fair plans their time there in advance of the show starting. That’s true for exhibitors, visitors and potential customers. Make sure you give them a reason to prioritise visiting your booth for a conversation with you. Get a message out there.
Plan your PR strategy in advance of the show, you may integrate traditional PR opportunities with more modern technology. That said, your POR and press strategy needs to tie in to your event strategy. Where are your audience reading pre-show press and what do you want them to do at the show. For example, if you want to attract existing customers, offer a free upgrade on your existing product at your booth. This can be shared in your newsletter, or on your social channels.
As a second example, you may want to attract new visitors to introduce your service, this is an opportunity to look into partnerships with media companies to distribute your message to a new audience.
5. Grab the audience’s attention
At a busy trade fair, all exhibitors are competing for attention. Make sure your brand exposure is high. Visitors are more likely to visit companies that they recognize, they need to know how to find your booth and your salespeople need to be approachable.
This isn’t solely at the trade show, in person. Grab their attention before the show, by promoting your attendance and giving the benefits of visiting your booth. If potential visitors aren’t at the show, record the bits they missed in an In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) snapshot.
6. Before, During and Post event
Every exhibiting company will be planning well in advance of the show, ways to ensure that potential customers prioritise speaking to them over speaking to you. You have to be on the front foot in promoting your messages. No amount of exposure is too much, if you’re confident in your products and services, communicate that confidently.
Identify media partners whose audience is the demographic that you want to speak to. Make the most out of the show, start by booking meetings in advance. Lots of visitors may plan to speak to your company at the show and then be put off by the fact that your booth is busy every time they approach. Every meeting you book before the show starts is a guaranteed conversation with a potential customer.
Having achieved this at the show, don’t underestimate the fact that your potential customers have had meetings with several of you competitors and will have been exposed to lots of information. Target them with your communications after the show to re-engage them and make sure that your products stand out.
7. Following up
Prepare your plan for following up on the leads you’ve generated at the show. Timing is crucial, make sure you target the right people using the information you’ve gained to progress the sales cycle.
Going back a couple of points, ensure your post-event messaging is consistent with your event messaging. This will increase familiarity and your audience will start to identify your brand.
Let me know your thoughts on trade show marketing. I’d love to hear from you, connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s have a chat.