About 28% of the exhibitors start preparing their marketing strategy 1-2 months before the trade show. But how many of you can confidently say that your trade show marketing strategy works?
While trade shows are an excellent place for launching new products, raising brand awareness, and generating leads, many exhibitors fail to make a splash at such events. The problem could be with how you devise your exhibition strategy. Here are 6 tips that can help you reinvigorate your marketing plan-
Why You May Need an Improved Trade Show Marketing Strategy?
If you regularly participate in trade shows, here are some questions you should be able to answer-
- On average, how many meetings do your representatives conduct during a trade show?
- How many of these meetings are with VP/C-level decision-makers?
- Does your participation positively impact the sales pipeline?
While exhibitions offer a distinctive opportunity to network with prospects and existing customers, 45% of B2B marketers struggle to make a strong case for their trade show investment. More often than not, the problem lies in the marketing strategy.
[Read: 5 Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid]
6 Tips to Maximize Your Trade Show Marketing Plan
With proper planning and strategizing, all the hard work you put into planning the trade show can deliver the results and buzz you’re hoping for. Here are 6 tips that can help-
1. Start Planning in Advance
Are you planning to participate in a trade show scheduled next year or one that is just a week away? A lot of times, exhibitors either register for events far in advance and forget about them or make last-minute bookings. You don’t get enough time to plan the event in both cases.
B2B trade show marketing is a strategic process where you meticulously plan each aspect of the event- before, during, and after, and seamlessly merge it with your business or trade show objectives. Depending on the size of the event, you should spend a few months planning the event.
2. Finalize Trade Show Objectives
What are you expecting from your trade show participation? During the planning stage, it is essential to determine the goals you want to accomplish at the event. For instance, it could be-
- Product/service launch
- Generating new leads
- Building brand awareness
- Entering a new market
- Retaining new clients
No matter what your objectives are, you should finalize them well in advance. It will ensure that all your trade show event marketing efforts are focused in the right direction. In addition, you should also set fixed and quantifiable metrics that could help you analyze the success rate of your trade show participation.
3. Start Promoting in Advance
It is always better to start promoting your trade show participation in advance and not entirely rely on the buzz created during the event.
While emailing contacts is a popular method to promote your participation, 73% of the event managers believe social media is the most effective tool for marketing. You can use a combination of both and also utilize other options like webinars for the best results.
If it is a large event, you can also consider publishing blogs to guide participants to the event. The blogs should cover things like-
Product/service you’ll feature at the show
- Notable speakers
- Must-attend sessions
- Breakout sessions led by your employees
- Other important details
Press releases can also be an excellent way to educate the people in your industry about your upcoming events and help you create buzz around them.
4. Choose the Right Booth Space
Once you have a basic trade show marketing strategy in place, it is time to start thinking about the specifics. For instance, which floor space can get you the maximum foot traffic? After all, no matter what the event organizers say, all the booths are not the same. Some of them generally attract more traffic, while others are a little empty.
If you’re yet to choose the booth space, here are some of the options you can consider-
- Space near the floor entrance
- A booth near the show sponsor or major attractions
- Closer to the restroom or food/drink area
- Aisle corners and intersections
5. Plan to Make the Booth Engaging
You want people to come to your booth and interact with your staff. But with hundreds of other booths to choose from, why will the attendees be attracted to your booth? When working on your exhibition marketing plan, you should also look for ways to make your booth stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few tips that can help-
- Use up to 3 bright colors in your booth design
- Make maximum use of available empty spaces
- Use a single theme throughout all the messaging
- Highlight your brand’s USP
- Incorporate your product/service in the booth design
When it comes to attendee engagement, trade show games are a guaranteed crowd puller. Games like custom quizzes built around your brand boost brand awareness, attract leads and provide the attendees with a fun and interesting reason to stay longer at your booth.
[Also Read: How Trade Show Games can Boost Audience Engagement]
6. Work on a Post-Show Follow-Up Plan
You had a successful event, and you collected plenty of leads- now what? Shouldn’t you contact the prospects and start selling? Not a wise decision. It is wrong to simply assume all the contacts you’ve collected are warm leads or people who are ready to buy.
Instead, send them a thank you email with a downloadable resource like a video, PDF, or presentation to gauge their interest in your product/service. The total number of downloads should provide you with a fair idea about how interested they are. For the rest of the leads, you can create a lead nurturing campaign to determine the prospects that your sales team should pursue.
Upgrade Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy
If you’ve participated in multiple exhibitions and none of your outings was something you could boast about, it might be time to rework your trade show marketing plan. Regardless of your objectives or budget, you can succeed at trade shows if you create a solid strategy and execute it effectively.
If you’re looking for more foot traffic and higher attendee engagement, check our latest work to know how our custom quizzes are helping clients attract and retain more traffic at trade shows.
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