Exhibiting at trade shows, expos, conventions and fairs are uniquely personal experiences. These events give you a special opportunity to spend time with your prospects and demonstrate how your product or service can help them – something that’s not always possible with traditional advertising. But participation in trade shows requires time and money. Here’s a look at how you can leverage that investment with media tactics.
Download the Media Kit and Creative Elements
Event hosts often provide logos, templates and creative use guidelines on their website or as part of your registration kit. These are valuable tools that can be used as part of your marketing efforts. Make the most of these materials by sharing them with your media, website development, creative and social media teams.
Let Your Audience Know Where You’ll Be
Building pre-event buzz is an important part of marketing your trade show presence. Did you attend the same event last year? Dust off your contact list and send them a note letting them know you’d love to catch up. If you send regular emails or publish a blog, mention the event and your booth number. Be sure to include the logos from your registration package. Using tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels is a great way to target people who may be interested in your business before the event. You could even shoot an informal video of your team getting ready for the event.
Kindle Natural Media Partnerships
Reach out to media and let them know about your participation. Trade journals and special interest sites are vying for the attention of your target audience. In addition to distributing extra copies of their magazines at events, these influencers often participate in or sponsor trade shows. Convention and event marketing has become such a priority that some events like Destination Southeast and the Smart Food Expo are hosted by media outlets. If your event is put on by a trade association, there is a good chance that they have other online and offline media opportunities. There may be an opportunity to shine the spotlight on you.
Build a Fence
Trade show attendees wouldn’t dream of leaving the office without their cellphone, which is great news for you. A hyper-local geo-fencing campaign allows us to buy mobile advertising in a geo-targeted area (the event venue, airport, near sponsoring hotels, etc.). We can even specify demographic dimensions and job titles to make sure we are targeting the right people in the area. During the event, consider geo-fencing around the hotel or convention center to keep participants informed of incentives and to encourage visits to your booth.
No Booth, No Problem
Adding to your media mix can drive folks to your booth or even make an impression if you are participating in another manner. One year, a client who didn’t have a booth for a major homebuilder convention wanted to make a big splash with their new house wrap line. Despite their lack of showroom real estate, there were still plenty of opportunities inside and around the venue. We bought strategically placed billboards between the airport and the event, and took to wrapping giant columns inside the venue in their signature color.
Seventy-eight percent of marketers said social media is a way to keep track of spontaneous show moments according to a survey conducted by BOSPAR, a San Francisco public relations firm. Some firms bring along a social media person or a photographer for just that purpose. If bringing extra staff or live tweeting isn’t your thing, there are some creative work arounds. Ask your team to snap some photos or a short video to send to the person in charge of your social accounts. Give them a couple of insights about the photo and let them take care of the copywriting and posting. They may even give you a wish list of shots before the event. Wrap up your social campaign with a strong call to action. Include an action photo or short video of your booth to remind attendees why you stood out from the hundreds of folks they talked to at the show.
It’s Not Goodbye, But See You Later
Research has long suggested that most leads generated by trade shows never receive follow-up by company representatives. Yes, it would be great if you followed up on every lead. We hope you do! While it is no substitute for your personal touch, your media plan can do some of the lifting. If you invested in a geo-fence, be sure to leave the fence up for the flight home to stay top of mind. Send the collections of contacts and firm names to your digital team to launch a remarketing campaign. If you used video as part of your exhibit, you may be able to repurpose that as part of your follow-up.
Whether it be through traditional advertising, digital advertising or a combination, Morgan and Co. has over 20 years of experience helping companies boost their brand and connect with their audience. We take pride in not being just another advertising agency. We work with our clients closely to understand their needs, and provide creative strategy that will help them reach their target audience. Contact us today to see how we can help you.