Create an Effective Tradeshow Marketing Strategy in 6 Steps

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What is Trade Show Marketing?

Trade show marketing is an exhibition of companies of a specific industry that showcase their new products or services. Trade shows can be public or private events open to those who register, company reps and the press.

While digital marketing gets all the recognition, don’t underestimate trade show marketing as a great way to generate leads. With the right strategy, marketing teams will walk away from a trade show with enough leads and connections to more than pay for the cost of attending. Here are some trade show marketing ideas to help you plan your strategy.

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1. Creating Connections

While calling and emailing can get your audience's attention, nothing compares to meeting a prospect face to face. It’s an opportunity to ask deeper questions, see a personalized demo and make a connection with your team. As an added bonus, it’s much harder to say “no” when someone asks for your business in person.

2. The Price is Right

To clarify, this is only true if you convert the leads you gather at the trade show. Historically, though, trade show leads are far more likely to result in a closed deal, so the cost-per-lead is much less than with other marketing tactics when you consider the gained revenue.

3. Automatic Brand Awareness

Let’s be honest—it’s hard to get your message and brand in front of your intended audience sometimes. Prospects may not open an email or attend a webinar, no matter how clever your email or invitation might be.

At trade show marketing booths, however, every single person who walks by your booth will take notice of your products and message. It’s an opportunity to be creative and showcase your brand in new ways.

4. Make a Lasting Impression

With the right people working in your booth (read: enthusiastic and engaging), your visitors will remember your brand for its excellent service and personalized attention. As basic as it sounds, employ a smiling, welcoming team that treats each booth visitor as if they are the most important person at the trade show. It will result in more leads and better connections.

Trade show leads are far more likely to result in closed deals. The price of admission is absolutely worth it.

5. Immediate Feedback

It’s hard to gauge what prospects are thinking when they are at the other end of an email or webinar—or even a phone call. Candid feedback is rare.

When you’re face-to-face with a potential customer, however, the feedback is honest, spontaneous and on-the-spot. Whether it’s verbal or in the form of body language, trade shows provide an opportunity to find out how your message is being received.

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6. Aiming at the Right Target

One of the biggest advantages of trade show marketing is that you know the demographic falls within your target audience before you even sign up to attend.

With pre-show marketing lists, and trade show event websites, it’s easy to do some quick research to make sure the personas and titles in attendance at the show are suited to the audience you want to reach.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to give trade shows a try. You’ll be amazed at the results they can produce. Before the day of the show, make sure you’ve done your due diligence on the attendees, your message, the team members who will represent you and what you hope to gain from the show.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to advertise via social media and email that your organization will be in attendance. List your booth number, any giveaways you’ll provide and any scheduled demos or presentations you’ll give.

After the show, review your cost-per-lead data and track your leads throughout the entire sales cycle to continually refine your trade show marketing strategy. You won’t be disappointed with the results.

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Eric Melillo