Two things have happened over the last few years: The cost of exhibiting at trade shows has skyrocketed, and the traffic at shows is plummeting. So what is a poor exhibitor to do? Get serious about traffic building –before the show!
The days of assembling a booth and waiting to lure in passersby is gone. Today having a profitable trade show means developing a real prospecting strategy that begins way before you ever arrive on the trade show floor for setup.
Most often, when you are an exhibitor you will receive a pre-show list. And, while these lists can be somewhat unreliable in terms of accuracy, it is worth the gamble to use the list to send out either snail mail or email to entice attendees to spend some time at your booth.
Remember, attendees are planning their limited time at the show so you need to come up with a compelling reason for them to dedicate space in their busy schedule to fit your company into their plans.
When sending out pre-show correspondence list the special events, new products, presentations, etc that you will be offering at the show. Give them “the why” they should stop by. Make sure you include your booth number and if it is a large show give them your “area” so they can find you!
For direct mail, you might want to consider a perforated card in your mail piece that they can rip off and carry with them. I know giveaways are cliché but if you are giving away something truly valuable, also include something they need to drop off in order to enter. Or, include a QR code that takes them to an online signup screen so at least you have captured their correct contact info.
For email, be sure to follow basic proper email structure such as avoiding one large image, adding in text for vital information, links to a giveaway signup page, and a link to a dedicated landing page where people can get –and print up–all of the information about your company, products, show information and more.
There is no doubt that social media is a necessity when exhibiting at a trade show. Most shows have their own social media pages, be sure to get on it and network with others that have an interest or will be attending or exhibiting. Social Media is a great way for your sales staff to set show appointments by connecting with those who have joined the group or made comments regarding the show. Be sure that at least one person from your staff is on show related social media every day for at least 2-3 months leading up to the opening day of the show.
On your own corporate or product social media pages be sure to let your followers know that you will be at the show. Add links to your show-specific landing page(or, if you are tracking web traffic, make versions of your landing pages so you can see where you are getting the biggest draw so you can adjust plans to get to the largest and most active audience.)
There is no doubt that literally giving attendees a look at what they can see when they come visit you at the show will be a great enticement. Pre-Show Invitations that are posted on your own site, YouTube, or similar can be used for links on your site, in email or social media and the URL used in direct mail. QR codes can point to the videos as well.
The uses for video when it comes to trade shows is literally endless. Besides playing the video(s) in your booth, they can be handed out on CDs or jump drives for attendees to take with them and watch.
If you have a large booth space you can place TV screens or signs with QR codes that click to videos around your booth so that if your booth personnel are busy with other attendees your videos can inform and keep unattended attendees busy within your space until a member of your staff can greet them and answer questions.
The last thing you want is for an attendee to wander into your space and leave without conversation. Videos are a great way to keep them intrigued and keep them within your booth. It also is a selling tool to inform and prompt “a want” for further information. Remember, once you give people a reason to come to your booth, make sure you respect their time.
Keep an eye out for “on-site” and “post-show” marketing tips!
For further information on how to make the most of your trade
show exhibitor experience contact Word of Mouth Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org!