and maximize your investment with trade show marketing
Participating in trade shows is a big investment, so it’s important to truly make these events worth your time, energy and money. When planning, we find that thinking holistically about your trade show strategy and trade show marketing is helpful, as there are a lot of ways to take your presence “beyond the booth.” Making trade show services a part of your overall investment makes sense, as it enables you to make an impact lasting far longer than the few days of the event itself.
As we explain more in this blog, trade shows can be a sales lead generation haven, so your trade show strategy should maximize your presence wherever possible. From establishing new business relationships, to taking advantage of each show’s search engine SEO and PR opportunities, it’s no wonder in-person events have been rated the most effective B2B tactic by the Content Marketing Institute for six years running. 360 Leads® can help you optimize your investment through our trade show services such as:
- Planning and the execution of smart pre-show B2B lead generation strategies that have prospects predisposed to visit with you
- In-show activities that engage B2B sales prospects, converting them to qualified B2B sales leads
- Post-show B2B lead generation trade show services that turn sales leads into qualified sales appointments
- Post-show sales lead management, lead scoring and lead nurturing
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trade show optimization FAQs
When planning for your trade show marketing with your agency, make sure that you take the time to explore all the assets available for purchase within the events themselves. For instance, you could likely buy ad space within their signage and publications and have your agency design your ad collaboratively with you.
Capitalizing on the trade shows being Googled, as they surely will be, is another thing to consider within your trade show strategy. Purchasing Google ad campaign(s) as part of your trade show marketing within months of an event will ensure that your business will show up first in a Google search, instantly increasing your online presence. Your agency can help you to craft the most compelling message for your online ad.
Direct mail campaigns sent to a list of prospects prior to the event is another smart lead generation move within a trade show strategy. A real-life example of smart trade show marketing is a campaign that we did for Gray Tools, which asked each lead to pre-register online prior to an event in exchange for a contest entry and free hand tool when they visited the Gray Tools booth. The campaign was very successful, bringing 20% of the US market targeted event attendees to the Gray Tools exhibit.
Most trade shows have some media coverage prior to the event as well. So be sure to ask about getting some PR (which we also do at 360 Leads) as part of your trade show services prior to the show, especially if you have something new to launch.
Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to make a big impact on as many decision makers as possible in a limited time. These events are particularly good for product launches, so when planning your trade show marketing, be sure to put any new technology or products in the spotlight to attract attention. Again, your agency can help you to find the best possible way to feature your new product.
Conferences also often offer opportunities to sit on panels or be a speaker. Be sure to accept these, as they bring brand awareness and exposure to the right audience. Since there will very likely be media at the show, your business has an excellent chance of getting an interview and/or additional media exposure.
Remember that trade shows are also a chance to stage an “event within an event.” You have a captive audience that you can invite to your own event, which can complement the overall experience by showcasing the specifics of your products or services for a select audience. A “high level” example of this is a construction company that invited their clients to meet in the reception area, but then took them on a helicopter ride to show them their new construction equipment in action, followed by dinner.
Another way to think of trade shows is a “show within a show.” You can have a lot of fun with your booth at these events so it becomes a prime attraction. For example, a company that makes freezers could mimic a futuristic ice cream stand, with its reps in costume and free ice cream sandwiches wrapped in company branded packages. If done right, your potential leads might even take photos with you to post on social media. You could even have a show specific hashtag that rewards people with an exclusive discount or free gift when they post about you. For trade show marketing and planning, the creative possibilities are endless when it comes to being the “talk of the show.”
Post trade show marketing is critical to capitalize on the investment you’ve just made in people, time, trade show services and collateral associated with the show. A trade show lead is just like many other leads, with the one major advantage being that they have met you already. You need to continue the valuable conversations and connections you’ve started. Each of these leads should be treated with the same sense of opportunity as leads generated from your other B2B sales lead generation or marketing activities. That’s why you need a detailed after-event plan within your trade show strategy, so you and your agency can compile and use all the insights you’ve gathered. How will each prospect from your trade show lead generation fit into your lead scoring model? How will each B2B prospect be fed into your CRM (customer relationship management), as part of your sales funnel and lead nurturing process? Once you’ve determined the answers to those important questions, you can decide which leads are qualified ones worth following up with.
As we highlight in The Black Report, our global study on B2B sales lead generation, programmed and consistent follow-up is key to success. Companies who communicate 3 or more times with the leads they generate are more than twice (2.4 times) as effective at achieving their targets. Not every prospect will buy, but without follow-up and lead nurturing, they will likely never buy.
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