Pre-Trade Show MarketingUp to a year or more before the scheduled trade show, use the company website and other online strategies to spread the word about trade show events. Adding sections to your website such as forums, events calendars, and newsletters will reach a large portion of customers and leads. If it is done early enough, they can plan for the event.
Other online services and websites used by your customers can be very effective in attracting the attention from additional customer bases. Offline marketing such as mail out invitations and business cards with ‘upcoming events’ or ‘join us’ are also effective.
Trade show giveaways such as contests and coupons encourage leads to attend the event even if it is only to find out who won. Promotional material about your products and services should be included as well in order to keep the interest level up in your products. You can also offer a separate trade show giveaway to those who cannot attend the event in order to maintain these connections.
Trade Show Marketing During the Event
The trade show is your company’s chance to outshine your competitors, and therefore, this time needs to be used to the fullest advantage. Give out information along with other trade show resources such as catalogs and information sheets to show customers how they can benefit by working with your company. Newsletters and tip sheets create awareness and can often answer questions about your company once the customer has left. Be sure to collect contact information and make notes for each of these new leads as you give them out!
Your marketing plan needs to include trade show giveaways and attractions that get attention and drive traffic to your trade show booth. Cash cubes, money machines, and other items help to not only attract customers, but also hold their attention until your staff can talk to them and get their contact information. Having customers fill out a form before taking their turn at the giveaway is a quick and easy way to collect contact information too.
After the Trade Show
Trade show follow up is a vital component to your trade show marketing plan. Use all of the contact information and notes collected during the event to talk with each contact. It is also important to send out any additional information needed to address and questions and concerns. Sending out ‘thank you’ cards are important to demonstrate that you appreciate the time each lead spent attending your event.
Some companies even send small promotional items, coupons, or additional contests at this time as well. These can go to those who attended the event as well as to those who couldn’t make it. A ‘sorry you couldn’t be with us’ note is appropriate here to show these customers they are still important to your company.
Anyone can show up at a trade show and say that they are going to sell a certain percentage of products and a set number of leads, but that isn’t going to happen without a successful marketing strategy. Having the right combination of trade show resources and trade show giveaways will attract the attention you are seeking and drive traffic to your exhibit. Remember, more customers equal more success.
About the author
Jonathan Edelman is a trade show marketing consultant with more than a decade of experience trade show and business marketing arena. Edelman is the creator of Ideas 4 Now, a trade show marketing company and creator of the Blizzard of Dollars Cash Cube Money Machine. In addition to hardcase and inflatable money blowing machines, Ideas 4 Now provides consulting for a variety of industry specific niches including bank marketing, casino marketing, and more.