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7 Tips For Successful Trade Show Marketing Campaigns

Trade show season is here yet again. And if you’re one of the many marketing teams preparing for a show this year, than you’re undoubtedly aware of the challenges, and the investment necessary to make the most out of your next event.

We asked some senior marketers, CEOs, and PR leaders to weigh in with some of their best practices when preparing for a trade show. Here’s some of the biggest takeaways:

Before the show

Do your research
“Trade shows are not something you can just turn up to and hope for the best. Companies need to use account based marketing to define the list of qualified prospects they wish to meet at the trade show–months in advance. Research the decision makers attending the show and target them with a drip marketing campaign designed to show your command over their industry and deep knowledge of their customers pain points.” – Kieran Powell, SVP, Channel V Media

Focus on value
“Focus on value. Don’t just talk about what you have going on or what shiny object you’re giving away – lead with a specific benefit to your audience and their business. Once you have their attention, they’ll be more likely to show interest in whatever you’re promoting.” – Noleani Price, senior director/marketing exec at Hotwire Global

During the show

Use smart targeting

“You can run Facebook ads to stop by your booth or come to your networking event. By targeting specifically people in that zipcode, and who like the show’s Facebook page, and, depending on size the companies they work for, you can show ads to people at the show and in the conference center.  Now you can run ads to stop by your booth, attend your networking event or come to meet with you.” – Adam Reimer, Adam Riemer Marketing 

Understand your location

“Geo-fence the event location so you can capture as much of your target audience as possible. B2B marketers at trade shows find this particularly useful in driving extra traffic to your booth or speaking event. Event sponsors can use this as another channel to highlight the messaging they already have in place at the location. Also geo-fence outside the main event grounds in adjacent sites, such as hotels or coffee shops. These ancillary locations (to the event) support mobile and cross-device outreach in the off-hours when someone might be spending more time online.” Ray Kingman, CEO, Semcasting 

Be engaging

“Too many exhibitors invest in their elaborate booth designs or hefty sponsorships but then give a lackluster experience at their booth. Trade show exhibits should be interactive and help tell the brand’s (or product’s) story in an immersive way. The in-booth experience could incorporate a game, puzzle, virtual reality or interactive screens, as examples, but should always be customized to the brand. (If you can replace your logo with your competitor’s, you have not created an authentic experience.) Think about how your booth experience can elicit the five senses in a meaningful way that clearly demonstrates your key message.” – Emily Fritz, dio USA

After the show

Build relationships

“Create a memorable experience and nurture trade show contacts with timely and relevant content after the show. Eighty-one percent of trade show attendees have buying authority. When these potential buyers think back on their trade show experience, your booth and the connections that took place there should make a lasting impression. It is critical to leverage and build on this momentum by providing value after the show. This could be via e-mail marketing, social media, or even phone calls and demos. The goal is to transition from trade show contact to trusted partner.” – Blair Broussard, SVP, ARPR

Create dedicated nurture campaigns

“It’s important to spend just as much time on post show strategy, starting with a strong list. Once you have the list, it should be broken down into segmented, targeted groups of people. Once the list is sorted, you should approach it with a six email plan:

  • First email should be a follow up thanking them, not asking for anything
  • Second email should ask targets to complete a survey or give other feedback on their booth experience
  • Third email should be very personalized with a thank you from someone that spoke with that guest
  • Fourth-sixth emails should be when you begin to build a relationship and go back and forth about once a week”

– Ben Hindman, CEO/co-founder, Splash

How do you make the most out of your trade show experience? Let us know in the comments below, and you could be featured!

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