Every show is different, but taking the time to plan out your trade show marketing efforts and connect with prospects before the event begins can pay off. The more appointments you book and buzz you build, the more prospects you’ll be able to interact with at the show. Incorporate some or all of these ideas in the months before the show to maximize your ROI for the event:
Trade Show Marketing: These PRE-SHOW Tactics Guarantee ROI
Reach out to your Contacts
Contact your current clients and the prospects in your sales funnel to let them know you’ll be at the show and that you’d love to see them. Your sales reps can make calls and you can launch an automated email campaign designed to boost awareness and ensure your prospects can find you easily at the event. This is also a good time to pin down appointments and sales meetings; using this opportunity to meet with clients can eliminate some travel later in the year.
Build Buzz on Social Media
Start using event hashtags and promoting the event and your attendance on your social media channels. This allows you to make your presence known and ensures that attendees know your booth is worth visiting.
Meet the Neighbors
What companies are next to you on the event floor? Taking a moment to connect with your soon to be neighbors gives you a chance to find out what they have going on and make sure you have no conflicts. Livestock, loud performers and strobe lights can be an unwelcome surprise – you still have time to make changes to your exhibit if your neighbors have something planned that will impact you.
Plan to Capture Leads
The whole point of the show is to generate leads; plan your strategy and decide how you’ll track your leads and connections. A lead capture app for trade shows makes it easy to gather data and access it at any time.
Launch a Mailing
Prepare a show based mailing for those prospects who you know will be attending and time it to drop two weeks before the show. Your piece will arrive as your clients are finalizing their details and will provide a tangible reminder of your presence and the rewards of stopping by.
A simple postcard reminding them to stop by and interact with your booth to receive a gift is an easy way to boost your numbers. It also helps ensure you have the opportunity to speak to these prospects and clients at the event. Give away a coveted but not terribly expensive premium to the attendees who stop by at the event and mention the card. Printing takes time (at least 2 weeks), so plan this effort well in advance.
Tailor your Marketing
Sit down with your sales team to determine which of your hottest prospects and biggest clients need the VIP treatment at the show. By cultivating these accounts, you can use the show as an opportunity to solidify your connection or to take it to the next level. Pick out your best potential matches and create a targeted marketing plan just for them. From reaching out by phone before the show to book an appointment to setting aside a premium gift, plan on making these visitors feel special when you see them at the event.
If you have enough of these big-ticket clients, plan a special evening or event just for them; they’ll get to interact with your team in a social setting and you’ll be able to forge a great connection, too. Book appointments or events well in advance and send out a reminder or confirmation the week before the show to be sure everyone remembers to attend.
Make the most of your next trade show by fully planning out the experience and preparing in advance; the more you do upfront, the better your ROI.
Also published on Medium.