For many businesses, conferences and trade shows are the bread and butter of their annual bottom line. So it comes as no surprise that the trade show industry has been on a steady trajectory, and is predicted to reach nearly 19 billion dollars by 2023.
But whether you’re prepping for your first or 50th trade show booth, you probably know one thing: among the hundreds of vendors, making your booth stand out is paramount to how much your bread gets buttered at your upcoming show.
Creating a buzz among a sea of competition can be tough. In this article, learn a few digital marketing strategies that will help you make a lasting impression at your next trade show, and more importantly, keep the conversation going after everyone has gone home.
Make a video
Video marketing is a cornerstone of any well-constructed marketing strategy because it’s so effective in boosting sales. In fact, one study revealed that 94% of survey respondents felt that video helped them make a purchase decision at least once.
If cost is what’s holding you back, don’t let the potential price tag of production scare you off. In this golden age of DIY video production, the tools you need are most likely already at your fingertips. The video camera on your phone combined with free, online editing software (such as Canva) can go a long way in helping you to create professional-looking video content.
To make your video content work in conjunction with your trade-show booth, you can send it in an email pre-show as a way to build hype. To capture the interest of new contacts you make during the show, send it in a follow-up email to help keep the conversation going. You can always play a video on loop at your booth, but be mindful of whether this tactic is working as a great conversation starter or simply an awkward distraction.
Build a Points for Actions giveaway
Telling your booth visitors to follow you on social media has multiple pitfalls. For starters, you’ll sound (and feel) like a broken record. More importantly, unless your visitors pull out their phone and click ‘follow’ right then and there, the thought will be lost as soon as they get to your neighbor’s booth. Instead of asking for follows, incentivize them with a Points for Actions giveaway.
By offering a Points for Actions giveaway, you can ask participants to like or follow you on social media (excluding Facebook) in exchange for extra chances to win your giveaway. In addition to building a following, you can use the giveaway to collect contact info such as a name and email, so you can follow up with participants after the trade show has ended.
Does building a giveaway sound daunting? It’s not. With software like ShortStack, you can build your giveaway using a pre-made template and then publish it as a landing page. The rest of the logistics are simple too – use the landing page link to create a QR code. Then, print the QR code and display it within your booth. This way, booth visitors can scan the code to bring the giveaway up on their phone or iPad.View and Create Your Own
Offer an instant win giveaway
Driving traffic to your booth with a giveaway isn’t a new trick, but when you make that giveaway an instant win giveaway, it adds a whole new element of excitement for participants. There’s a reason casinos are filled with the unmistakable sounds of sirens, melodies, and chimes – it’s to alert the others in the vicinity that money is being won.
Although your instant win giveaway may not come with literal bells and whistles, you can rely on the excited exclamations of those who walk away from your booth a winner. That’s another benefit of running an instant win – you can offer multiple prizes, ensuring the enthusiasm better fills the room.
Similar to the Points for Actions giveaway, this giveaway will help you collect valuable contact information, which is pertinent to your follow-up strategy after the trade show has ended.View and Create Your Own
Create a photo gallery
Trade shows are for businesses but they’re not all about business. Oftentimes, attendees, booth hosts, and vendors alike have fun interacting with each other, making new relationships, and partaking in trade-show activities. You can help attendees ride the vibe of the show by creating a photo gallery and displaying it online.
Set up a photo op area at your booth or take candid shots yourself. Send a follow-up email to booth visitors with a link to your photo gallery so they can find their photos among the crowd.
Create a thoughtful email strategy
Post-show, no matter how many hours you spend trapped behind your desk, it’s just not possible to personalize your follow-up to every lead you added to your CRM. Instead, segment your leads and use a thoughtful email marketing strategy to help with the colder communication. This way, you get to keep all of your new contacts in the fold while focusing your personalized attention on warmer leads.
If your belief is that automated emails will tank your engagement, conversion and customer retention, think again. By personalizing emails just enough, we can maintain quality communication with everyone in our audience. It will simply take some thoughtful segmentation.
Examples of email segments could include the list of email addresses you collect from your giveaway (read about the Points for Actions or instant win giveaways above). Just make sure to remove any contacts you plan to add to other segmented lists. You could also have a segment of “warm” leads – these people may have given you their business card or taken yours. They may have stopped to chat or asked a question or two. Lastly, you can create a list of people you had hoped to see at your booth but missed.
Whether you’re new to the trade-show game or an experienced veteran, it’s no secret that getting the attention your business deserves can be tough. Try implementing a few digital strategies to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Some ideas to get you started include:
- make a video
- build an ‘extra points’ giveaway
- create a photo gallery
- create a thoughtful email strategy
- offer an instant win giveaway