Over the years marketing efforts have been shifting dramatically towards digital and online, in theory this should have in turn created a decline in the popularity of exhibitions. To the contrary, this is not the case, trade shows are still as powerful as they have ever been.
Even the most sophisticated integrated digital marketing campaigns with valuable assets such as ebooks and whitepapers that can empower target audiences, will never encompass one very critical component, the human element.
There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings with clients and key business partners, trade shows are more casual and relaxed than a traditional type of meeting, where prospects tend to open up more than they would in a formal meeting.
So if marketers are aware that they must have a presence at all major industry exhibitions and make a hefty investment to sponsor a booth package, the question still stands, how do they make their return?
Having a successful exhibition means having a solid strategy that involves the pre, during and post event activities. Marketers need to put their digital skills to the test by leveraging online strategies to increase the value of events.
Here are some digital marketing strategy tips that can help you kick start your event planning:
Promote your Booth: Make sure you get the word out to your network of your booth number. This will ensure that your prospects will remember to look out for you at the show. Posting on Linkedin or Twitter is a great way to communicate your booth number. Get your whole team posting, the news will go far and wide to everyone’s networks.
Blogs: Blogs are always an excellent way to promote your participation at an event. If you have an educational topic to write about, that can tie into your event, this is a great way to get your prospects to read about it. Don’t forget to have a desired call to action to get them to visit your booth.
Press Releases: Are you doing something newsworthy at your event? Do you have a story to tell or something exciting you are launching or releasing? Distributing a press release about it can do you wonders and reach a wider audience. Don’t just tell them about your event, give them also a reason to come and meet you at your booth as well.
Use Video: Video content has become very popular over the years, especially on social. Why not create a range of videos showing a sneak peek of what to expect at your booth or a teaser video of a new product or solution you will be showcasing, this will build up awareness and excitement before the event.
Email Invitations: This is the oldest method in the book, however it’s still better to invite your database to the event you’re participating in than not to. Let’s mix things up here and not create the usual looking marketing automation spam email, try taking a step back, make it personalised, maybe even directly from a sales rep and heck why not even try a plain text version and watch the difference in open and response rates.
Showtime: During the event you should be focusing on collecting as many leads as possible, but this doesn’t mean to go on a scanning frenzy, scan only the leads where there are real opportunities. There’s no need to waste your sales team’s time. Have a special offer available for your prospects post event to already schedule in your first formal meeting with them.
Let The Leads Flood In: The trade show has concluded, now what? It’s time to do something with all those leads you collected. Prepare priority call lists for your sales team, and get them to call the hottest leads first. Don’t just sit back and relax and leave everything in the hands of sales. Create phone scripts, email templates for them to use, provide leads with an exclusive offer to take advantage of, give them a discount on your services or just simply provide them with a free trial.
Report On ROI: Depending on your company’s usual sales cycle, work out when is the correct timeframe to report back on the event. Based on your spend, how many marketing qualified leads did you receive, how many of those turned into opportunities and then into sales. Remember to always attribute a percentage of your spend to brand awareness because you did essentially advertise your company and brand at the event. Reporting on events helps you identify whether the event was valuable to your company, where you could improve and whether you should participate again.
All these tips are easier said than done and finding the correct strategy for your brand and company is all about testing alternatives and trial and error.
If you need some help with creating a strategy for your next event or trade show participation, Expo Centric can guide you with a free consultation for your booth presence, along with a strategy for pre, during and post the event, get in contact with us today.
Stan@expocentric.com.au 02 9937 1500