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  February 18, 2016

How to Turn a Trade Show Event into a Marketing Success

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Selecting an eye-catching, convenient, and useful promotional item to offer at your next trade show event is nothing but one step towards an effective marketing strategy. If you want to make sure that your next show turns into a roaring success, you definitely need more than one single item able to grab everybody’s attention and ensure revenue. Foundational trade show strategies get people lining up at a company’s booth and purchasing at the upcoming sales call.

Guarantee the Success of your Trade Show

For most B2B marketers, in-person events such as trade shows are still one of the most effective tactics for selling their products and services. 69% of marketers report this marketing strategy as highly successful. Nonetheless, organizing an experience able to attract trade show attendees is far from being an easy task. You know how it actually works: at every trade show, some booths seem to be wildly successful and able to attract a huge number of attendees, while some others attract small traffic numbers. If you follow these steps, you will be able to put the success of your trade show event in the former category.

Planning is everything! So make sure to plan, plan, plan…and plan again

Planning is the one of the most important factors to keep present. Thorough planning allows you to build momentum for a trade show event. Planning well in advance will help you do much more than simply booking flights and accommodation for your team and business partners. There is no doubt that the best planning practices should go well beyond logistics. So make sure to dive into steps such as what you will have to do before the trade show, how you will get prospects and leads, what you will do during the trade show, and how you will follow up on leads once the trade show event ends. From start to finish, your trade show must count on a well-developed strategy to ensure your success. Or it will fall flat.

Make sure to speak it out

Whereas the trade show booth functions as the hub for the entire event, there is one aspect you should definitely take into consideration: giving a speech at one of the breakout or main sessions. Trade show events speakers are likely to gain an invaluable marketing platform, as well as a broader access to all the attendees. Becoming a speaker will also give you credibility, adding to your company’s appeal. At a trade show event, attendees are in search of a determining factor that may set apart those vendors that they might choose in the future. If you are interested in being a speaker, you will have to plan early and apply way before the event starts.

Make sure to set clear goals 

Of course, your main goal is to get leads at your trade show; nonetheless, that might not be the best use you can give your resources. For instance, if you are planning to launch a new product or service, the best strategy would be focusing on building and enhancing awareness. If you choose an approach centred on sales, you will be able to capture target-rich prospects and thus build an extensive email list. The most important thing is to make sure that you know exactly which the end goal of the trade show is. Afterwards, you should focus on building your strategy around it. If you make sure that these goals are the ones driving the whole event, you will be capable of building the whole event planning around them.

Make sure to get out the word

It is very important to work on creating awareness about your event way before the show trade actually begins. You can achieve that by hosting a webinar, generating a series of posts on social media, and write press releases. By doing so, your target audience will know you and your business are going to be there. Writing blog posts about the trade show might also prove beneficial, allowing your audience to select from the main sessions and speakers to attend, know more about the persons within your organization who will be speaking at the event, the products and services you are going to feature at the trade show, the discounts you are planning to offer, and so on.

By using all these channels, you are personally inviting your loyal and prospective customers to stop by your trade show booth. You have to make sure you are giving them a great reason to contact you. You can also set up appointments before the trade show and conduct presentations or demos.

Choose Your Booth

The location of your booth is one of the most important aspects to keep present at a trade show event. Studying the entire exhibition area and identifying all the high-traffic areas and engagement opportunities can be a crucial factor. This is another important reason to plan ahead a trade show. There is no doubt that good booth spaces sell out quickly. And this happens because each and every vendor wishes to make sure that he or she gets the best possible location. If you want to secure your booth location, it is extremely important to put this step as high as possible on your priority tasks list.

Make a Splash

If you want to get really noticed and attract prospective customers, your company’s trade show booth must be as inviting as possible. Work closely with your team and make a plan to shape a comfortable space, able to make a powerful visual impact. Make sure that the message you are trying to convey is clear, so that prospective clients know exactly what you are about by simply glancing across the room. Keep in mind that your booth works more as a tagline than as a brochure. Usually, brochures tend to be lengthy, taking a while for the readers to get through them and clearly understand the overall message. On the contrary, taglines tend to be instantly recognizable. And this is exactly the factor that your booth must have.

This is the point where the booth’s custom promotional item comes into play.  Make sure to opt for a product that stands out from the wide array of promotional products the other vendors are gifting away. Your item should hold appeal, but, at the same time, be useful around home or the office, and memorable enough for your recipients to easily recall your message and branding later on. Using trackable giveaways, such as Smart Business Cards™ and other printed products, might also prove beneficial. These promotional products allow you to check out your marketing campaign’s effectiveness by tracking the exact number of prospective customers who are interacting with your marketing material.

Make sure to get them engaged

Splashy booths that draw in crowds are not enough to ensure the success of your trade show event. It is extremely important for your booth staff to able to know how to engage prospective customers. You only have a few seconds at your disposal to make an impression on those people who decide to stop by your booth. So your team should be able to start a meaningful conversation about your brand and services and lure them in. Demonstrations, hands-on opportunities, motion graphics, and videos provide a huge potential for conveying your message about your services or products. Your team should be able to identify leads and capture contact information. This will ensure an effective follow up once the trade show ends.

When everything is said and done 

In most cases, the most important part is the work that needs to be done once the show is over. You and your team should not feel relieved that the work is done. As a matter of fact, this is the point where the important work begins. Following up on leads is what ultimately drives traffic and increases revenue. Developing a follow up strategy in the planning phase will allow you to contact warm leads via email and thank them for stopping by. You can also inquire about the products or services, or offer your prospective clients a free download. By doing so, you will make sure to gauge response and interest.

There is no doubt that trade show success is an attainable goal. All you have to do is know exactly how to plan a thoroughgoing strategy and stick to it. If you take the time to plan carefully, participate as a speaker, identify and set your goals, get the word out well in advance, choose the best possible booth location, train your team to engage visitors, and develop an effective follow up strategy, there are high chances for your business to be guaranteed a valuable return on your investment in the trade show event.