Plan before attending for maximum engagement and marketing effectiveness.
Are you making this crucial mistake when preparing for a tradeshow? While plenty of time is sunk into creating and planning a booth, some companies overlook one of the most important aspects of pre-show preparation: marketing. Marketing may be the main goal during and after the tradeshow, but frequently, pre-show marketing is neglected or forgotten entirely.
A well-rounded marketing plan for tradeshows typically follows a closed loop strategy. This strategy begins pre-show, with promotion and hyping up the tradeshow. It then continues on during the event, where the goal is to interact with as many people and gather as many leads as possible. Finally, post-event marketing focuses on following up with all the leads generated at the show and moving them closer to a sale.
The success of event and post-event marketing is partially dependent on pre-event marketing. The more effort is put into pre-event marketing, the more potential clients will visit your company’s tradeshow booth, and the more successful your follow up will be. Neglecting pre-show marketing immediately impacts how successful your tradeshow efforts will be.
Create a campaign.
Creating a great campaign is important for every step of the tradeshow marketing process. The campaign will be the basis for all your tradeshow marketing materials, so it has to be interesting, engaging, and eye-catching.
Campaign development should include:
First, you need to determine what it is your company wants to accomplish at the tradeshow. Before making any other plans, identify your goals for the show. These goals will influence every other part of your marketing strategy. Once you’ve established your goals, determine what metrics you’re going to use to track your progress and define what success is.
Tradeshow booths tend to be a little dull and repetitive looking. But a good theme can make all the difference. Your tradeshow theme should both draw attention and tie into your goals. You can make it as outlandish or unusual as you like, just so long as you can relate your theme back to your elevator pitch. Having an unusual or unexpected theme can help your brand stand out and attract visitors. Your theme will be the basis for all your marketing materials.
For the online marketing portion of your marketing strategy, you should have a centralized location where attendees can view all the information about your tradeshow presence in one place, including booth location, any parties or functions your company is hosting, and the times and locations of any speakers from your company. Structure the landing page like an invitation and tie in your tradeshow theme. Include information about the conference itself and a link to the conference website. You could also provide visitors with the opportunity to sign up for an appointment at your booth directly through the landing page.
Special promotions are commonly used to drive traffic to tradeshow booths. Maybe you’re launching a new product or holding a raffle to win a prize. You could also tie your special promotion back into your theme for extra interest. Use the promotion in pre-show marketing to create excitement, incentivize prospects to attend the show, and help attendees remember and seek out your booth during the conference.
Implement Multi-Touch Point Marketing
Ideally, your pre-show marketing campaign should include at least 3 points of contact with prospects. It is up to you to decide what those points of contact should be, but here are some ideas to consider:
Prior to individualized marketing efforts, start off your campaign with some mass targeting. Advertise your presence at the tradeshow on social media, through both your social profiles and also by taking advantage of any hashtags the conference might be using. If you have the budget for it, you could also create an ad campaign in an industry publication or the show directory.
Follow up your mail campaign with individualized emails, reiterating your invitation and including a link to your tradeshow landing page. Additionally, take advantage of the immediacy of email by sending out a last minute reminder for attendees a day or two before the show.
You can also use a drip campaign to invite your email list to the tradeshow, targeting individuals who show interest with more in-depth marketing materials to get them hyped up for the event. Use the theme of your show to brand the mail and catch the recipient’s attention. You could also attach some bonus item, such as a free raffle ticket or a theme-related object, to surprise and delight your contacts.
Your sales team interacts with clients on a regular basis, so why not take advantage of that interaction? Get your sales team on board with event messaging and encourage them to mention your tradeshow booth during calls with clients and prospects.