How Trade Shows Can Be One Of The Greatest Marketing Tools
A lot of businesses these days run a certain risk when it comes to their marketing and lead generation. The internet has changed things dramatically and made it easier to reach more people over greater distances than ever. But with the rise of digital marketing has come an obsession with it that can make it easy to spot one of the greatest marketing tools that exist off the internet. One of those is the trade show. Regardless of your industry, you’re likely to have at least a few you can attend each year. With the right strategies, they can become one of the biggest drives of customers for your business.
Don’t be quiet about it
One mistake that’s common for first-time trade show-goers is to just show up at it. No fanfare, no warning, they just make an appearance and expect it to have an effect. More often than not, people don’t realize they’re even there. That’s why you need to make sure people know, loud and clear, that you’re going to be there. Use your email marketing and social media to tell people exactly where you’ll be and what you’re offering. Give them plenty of time in advance to get prepared to see you. Collaborate with the organizers and other attendants to build up some ramping PR leading to the event, too.
Get your place early
Naturally, you want to get noticed by the people who don’t already know you’ll be there. Trade shows are a perfect place to introduce the business and give people some first impressions. So, you need to make sure that the location fits that desire. A lot of people want the well-trafficked areas, of course. Make sure that you’re paying attention to trade show news throughout the year so you can book your place first and get the prime locations. Near (but not too near) the entrances and the larger walkways are good placement locations. If you know of any brands that have huge draw coming, then situate yourself near them as well.
Make sure you stand out
Regardless of where you put yourself, if your setup doesn’t have right appearance, you might have trouble standing out from the rest of the noise of the event. Investing in professional booth designs means going beyond the norm. It’s not enough to have a branded table and a banner. Create a space that really allows you to demonstrate the unique qualities of your product. That could mean having a large island full of prototypes and test models or incorporating displays that show highlight reels and infographics. Make no mistake, you need to win them with substance, but that often begins by dazzling them with style, too.
Bring the right people
All too often, a fantastic display and some great offers can be let down by the people who are actually manning the booths. Before you head off, make sure you’re taking the best people. Identify the most charismatic, the most friendly and, most importantly, the best salesmen amongst your team. Naturally, they don’t have to be the only people that come along, but they should be the ones doing most of the talking. As for your other staff, consider assigning some to be the booth receptionists. They can help by specifically picking out the people who seem to be interested, helping to answer general questions and redirecting them to those who can offer more details and really win them over. Trade shows can be hectic, so you need a team approach to really ace them.
Remember to follow up
You might get a decent amount of people who are more than willing to purchase something right there in the booth. More often than not, you’ll get those interested in talking and exchanging details, but they haven’t quite made up their mind yet. Research shows that most of these leads are simply lost and forgotten after the show. All it takes is a little follow-up, an email to thank them for their interest and inquire if they have any further, and you could be discovering a lot of hot leads from one show’s work.
It’s a good idea to personalize the emails a little, too. Make sure you’re specific about the show and the date you met them. If you can remember anything about what you’ve discussed, then include a link to content or a product that’s relevant as a way of adding continuity to the email. Most importantly, be prompt. Strike the iron while it’s hot.
Bring freebies, but the right freebies
Most people will be bringing freebies to a trade show, but there’s a difference between good freebies and bad ones. Good freebies give people something to use, a reason to come face to face with your branding again and again. Meaning you’ll be a lot easier to remember even if they don’t see you are follow up email. Stress balls, reusable water bottles, mobile chargers, these all have used. Whereas phone cases and backpacks are bad ideas. Sure, they have utility, but people don’t want your brand to necessarily be part of their fashion statements. They’re more likely to get very quickly forgotten.
A good deal is always a way to pique some interest. So what better way to win some attention for your booth than for creating trade show exclusive deals. The impact starts before the trade show, with you informing your audience that attendants can get a special trade show code by talking to you at your booth. You can give codes that can be used after the trade show if you want to keep your hooks in attendants even after they leave. Or you can offer special discounts right there on the spot, creating a scarcity that can compel instinctual purchases. The choice is yours.
Trade shows are great for finding new customers who really care about the industry. They’re also important for showing that you exist, are active and have some standing in your field. That’s always an important branding message to get across. Don’t underestimate how important a good trade show can be and use it like one of the greatest marketing tools.