Your company has been registered, signage has been designed and ordered, accommodations have been made. You’re all set and ready to go, the only thing left to do is sit back and wait for the day to come; wrong! One of the most overlooked steps of trade show planning is the marketing leading up to it. In my previous article, we discussed things to consider when setting-up a booth as well as booth design; now it’s time to start generating awareness that you are even going to be there.
A good place to start is your current clientele. “It’s a lot easier to get someone who has bought before to buy again than it is to get someone to buy for the first time. If your best clients are not already going to the show, buy them a ticket.” says James C. Gibson, Metro Graphics. Your clients can be your best advocate of your service, including them within the process further expands upon your relationship with them. Here are some simple ways to promote your booth to your clientele:
- Send out emails in a form of a personal message or a designed eblast. Detail out the trade show itself as well as include any visuals depicting where your booth will be located.
- Create clever posts that promote the show as well as your exhibit. Include glimpses of your trade show booth and upload any travel footage that you take. You can also let your followers take part in some of the decision making; show a couple of item choices to giveaway and have them vote on the one that they would like to receive. This engages your client to interact with your brand further.
- Sending out a personalized invite presents a formal approach that tends to get the most reaction. Provide parking/meal vouchers as well as a map of the venue that shows your booths location.
- Little things tend to have the biggest impact. Update email signatures with a custom graphic promoting the show as well as include show information on your website and within any invoices that you send out.
Once you put a plan in place to market towards your existing clientele it’s now time to set your sights upon new leads. Thankfully there are plenty of resources available to help you get in the spotlight, below are some examples:
Use All the Resources the Trade Show Provides:
- Most trade shows will provide their exhibitors a list of registered attendees and its pure gold. This list allows you to research potential clients and start interacting with them before the doors of the show even open. Connecting with them on social media, sending out mailers and even scheduling meetings are things that I have benefited with.
- Take advantage of any hashtags the trade show may be using and offer an incentive to bring attendees to your booth such as a special gift or promotion.
- Create ads to be printed in any industry related publication and see if the conference offers any sponsorship opportunities, programs or guides that you can get your company information in.
Paint the Town:
- One of the most aggressive ways of promoting is to target attendees upon arrival. Billboards, buses, cabs, local restaurants around the venue are just a handful of ways to promote your booth and brand.
As with all things marketing, it is key to have a plan and to stay within a budget. My next entry will tackle what materials you should handout out as well as where to position them within your booth.