The old fashioned trade show may not be the hottest topic coming through your inbox these days but odds are that you may still be doing quite a few events and have trade shows as part of your marketing budget. So how do you make the most out of it?
A recent MarketingProfs article, Is Tradeshow Marketing Dead?, brings 12 tips for ensuring shows deliver the leads you expect. It’s a good basic list to get you pointed in the right direction (and I’ll add my two cents right after):
- Start planning early
- Make sure the audience is a good fit
- Get on the presentation agenda
- Establish a service level agreement with sales
- Negotiate for the full list of registrants
- Promote your participation to customers and prospects prior to the show
- Demand aggressive and professional performance from booth staff
- Capture detailed lead information
- Provide giveaways, raffles, and tchotchkes
- Enter all leads into a CRM system for Sales follow-up
- Continue post-show marketing with an appropriate offer
- Hold a post-mortem review with Sales and Marketing
A few more tips
As I said, a good list but I would also add the following:
A. Hold a pre-show meeting
- Get everyone, especially sales, who will be attending the show to jump on a conference call (or conference room if everyone is in the same building) and go over the show plan. This includes reviewing show and expo dates, setup and tear down times, and working out a schedule for staffing the booth. Tell the sales reps what the giveaways are going to be, any details about lead capture devices, and other relevant information. The goal is to get everyone on the same page and be productive once the show starts.
B. Promote your session
- If you’re presenting a session at the show (like item number 3 of the MarketingProfs list says), then try to promote the session at your booth. Print small reminder cards and give to people that stop by, and check with show organizers if you can do a prize drawing during your session (good for driving attendance).
C. Put marketers to work
- Ideally at least one person from the marketing team should be at the show, even if for only one day. Marketing’s goal is to help out with sales efforts and interact with customers and prospects. That’s a great opportunity for marketers to get to know the target market better and listen first-hand to what customers have to say about the company, product, and competition. Talking about competition, marketing folks should walk around the expo floor and check out what the competition is doing. Take pictures of booths and stands that are interesting, make notes of cool giveaways. Everything at the show floor is good food for thought that can help improve your own presence at the next show.
D. Blog about the show
- Use the tradeshow as an opportunity for content creation. Blog about the show attendance, take pictures of your customers and post them in your blog. Talk to other vendors about the industry or the show, and get them to also post comments in your blog. The event can generate a good couple of blog posts at least!
E. Take pictures
- As in the previous suggestion, take lots of pictures. If you’re giving away a prize, take picture of the winner(s). As customers stop by to say hi, take pictures of them and their sales reps. Show organizers came over to check how things are going? Take a picture of them in front of your booth. Why? Everyone loves pictures, especially if they’re in the picture. As you send out post-show emails (thanking people for stopping by, etc.), place a link to the pictures you took. Pictures also make for good blog post after the show.
F. Provide content people want to read
- Think “content marketing” and put your content marketer hat during the show. If you or anyone else from the marketing team can’t stay for the duration of the show, make a point to get help from sales or a business partner to jot down some notes about the sessions going on at the show. If after the event you can writeup a short blog post or email with “ten great lessons from the show”, you’ve got yourself a great content piece people will read and forward.
So there you have it, 12 plus 6 additional tips for making your tradeshow a successful event!