5 Tips for Effective Trade Show Marketing

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It’s been a while since we’ve set aside our sweatpants and jumped on a plane to head to an industry trade show. We’re kind of out of practice, and it seems everyone has forgotten how to effectively market themselves before, during and after a show.

We see companies investing thousands (way more than that) into their booth and flashy giveaways and completely forgoing the development of a strategy to define goals and tactics.  

What the hell, guys? How are you going to explain to the CEO you spent THAT much and generated one lead? 

You gotta define it, create it and track it. Here, we’ll make it easy on you. Just follow the steps below.

Strategize

Don’t wait til the last minute to outline your goals for each trade show you’re attending over the coming year. So often, companies register and then start scrambling a month before they gotta be at said trade show. Build a strategy; this can be one or two pages—so stop freaking out. We’re not asking you to write a research paper.

  • Goals: how many leads do you want?
  • Tactics: how are you going to capture those leads?
  • Who is in charge: clearly define roles and stop putting it on the intern.
  • Metrics: how are you measuring success? Clicks on ads? Form fills? Traffic to the landing page? Leads captured?
  • Timeline: you have things to do before, during and after the show. Trade shows are so much bigger than 2 or 3 days (if you’re doing it right).

My name is…

No one wants to hear your website regurgitated in person, you need a theme for your booth and messaging to support it. This can center around a new product, market, partnership, technology…you name it. It has to be unique, it has to set you apart from the competition and it needs to be creative. Stop boring people, that’s you just being lazy.

Hello online world

You now have your roadmap (it’s your strategy), so you gotta pull your tools together. A trade show may be in person, but your marketing efforts need to be digital. You need a fully integrated approach to be effective. We’re talking social media, online ads, landing pages, email blasts, personal email outreach, geotargeting…you get our drift.

All that jazz

If you have pixelated pictures, velcro, or a tabletop display…you have a problem. If you design it right, they will notice you. Get creative, invest in good photography (no one needs to see the stock photo of Bob in the lab one more time), hire a designer to pull all of your pieces together to tell one cohesive and eye-catching story.

Work it

Get in that booth and talk to people. Do not stand around with your thumb up your a** and don’t hardcore sell. Be genuine and look like you actually want to be there. Oh and attend all of those networking events, alcohol helps you seem more interesting.

There you have it 5 surefire ways to crush a trade show…we lied; there is one more addition.

Hello, it’s me…

Just because the show wrapped up does not mean your work is done. You need to debrief with your team, discuss what worked and didn’t work, and you need to follow up with all of the people you met. Hopefully, you are using Hubspot to track everything, but if we had to put our money on it…you probably have a spreadsheet somewhere that isn’t even color-coded…you’re giving us anxiety.

Your best bet is to just hire us, we’re really great at trade shows and we always volunteer to accompany you, people like us.

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