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8 ways to win at trade show and event marketing

Posted by Kerrie Brooks in General on November 14th, 2016

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, setting up a stand at a trade show or event is a great marketing tactic.

Not only can it help you build brand awareness, generate leads, nurture prospects and enhance existing client relationships, it’s also a chance to get out there and see what the competition is doing. In addition, face-to-face continues to be one of the most effective ways to sell.

However, appearing at a trade show or event can be costly – what with exhibition fees, travel expenses and stand collateral and equipment. Because of this you want to be sure you’re getting it right to secure a decent ROI.

Here are eight ways you can make your business stand out and succeed on the show floor.
 

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Do your pre-show marketing

Don’t presume that because you have a stand people will stop by. As with any event, ensure it’s a success by building awareness prior to the day. Send out a promotional mailer to existing clients or customers or drop them an email with the details, including your stand number and why they should visit. In addition, actively publicise it on your website and social media accounts.

Give out useful, creative freebies

People love a freebie – but don’t just stick to the standard promotional pens, caps and mugs. To get noticed, give people something a little bit different. Headphones; laptop skins; sunglasses; USB drives; lip balms; water bottles; recyclable bags – there are so many options. Importantly, make it something useful so people as less likely to throw it away and tie it into your brand.

Get yourself a speaking gig

If you really want to get noticed at an event or expo, contact the organisers and see if you can get yourself a speaking slot. Whether you’re a featured speaker, participating in a panel or hosting a table, it’s a great way to boost your company’s profile and visibility.  Even if you don’t get selected this time, you’ll be on their radar for next year.

Invest in quality display materials

Nothing creates a poor brand impression like a cheap looking stand.  Therefore, it’s worth investing a bit of cash into your event display materials. Pop up and pull up banners and flags are great options, as they’re easy to transport and assemble. The average attendee spends just a few seconds looking before they stop or walk away, so keep the designs simple, eye-catching and on brand.

Use videos, iPads and touch screens

Visual tech can be a really effective at events. Creating a company video and having it playing on a monitor is not only engaging but is also an effective way to communicate information. Plus, if your staff are already busy, it can maintain interest so prospects don’t walk away before you get a chance to chat with them. If you can add iPads and interactive screens, even better.

Choose your staff wisely

Who you put on your stand can make a huge difference to your trade show or event success. Don’t just draw names out of a hat. Think about who has the right skills to build relationships with your customers. Not only do they need to be outgoing and know their stuff, but you also need to be confident that they’ll ask the right questions to work out who’s a lead and who isn’t.

Engage in lead generation exercises

This basically means setting up a schedule of mini-events at your stand throughout the day which offer visitors a little bit more of an incentive to come and see you. This could include holding live demonstrations of your products, contests or setting up a raffle where people have to sign up or leave their business card to be picked to win a prize.

Tighten up your printed material

Marketing collateral is a must for any event. However, don’t go overboard. Stick to the essentials such as business cards, small brochures/leaflets and sign-up sheets. Not only will this save you money but it’s also not necessary when people can go away and look you up online. A nice idea is to put some info on a USB that people can take away and view.

In addition to the above, make sure you spend some time having a look at what the big players are doing in terms of event marketing. Plus, have a wander around the next one you attend for ideas.

Post trade show and event must-dos

Importantly, make sure you follow up on any leads you capture at an event as soon as possible to prevent them going cold. And, don’t forget to measure the success of your event marketing against some pre-decided measurable goals e.g. capture 15 good quality leads.

Keen to attend a trade show or event but not sure what’s on or which one? Check out the Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia’s website – http://www.eeaa.com.au/

Need some help creating display materials or other marketing collateral for your next event? Contact us today.