Most B2B marketers attend at least one trade show every year. Getting the trade show marketing and booth ready is a challenge. Planning, logistics, coordination, development, set-up and participation all eat up a lot of time … and money.
Worst of all? It’s hard to show ROI for trade show marketing.
Put your time and money to good use. Whether your trade show is in two weeks or two months, improve lead generation with these trade show marketing tactics beyond the booth.
Schedule Appointments Before The Trade Show
At trade shows, an attendee typically stops by your booth if something catches their eye. If you’re lucky, they’re interested enough to pick up a brochure or business card. If you’re really lucky, trade show attendees will take a few minutes to talk to your sales associate at the trade show booth.
Don’t leave attendance to your trade show booth up to chance. Set up an online scheduler.
When attendees schedule time to see your demo, view a presentation or talk to a sales associate, your trade show booth becomes a destination. They have an appointment for specific time. That makes it easier for trade show attendees to fit everything into their busy day. Plus, it ensures the staff at your trade show booth can give prospects the proper attention.
When attendees schedule time to see your demo, view a presentation or talk to a sales associate, your trade show booth becomes a destination.
Depending which online scheduler you use, you may also get permission to add people to your email marketing list along with your CRM. Keep that in mind when you choose a plugin when developing your trade show marketing plan.
Email Your Prospects About The Trade Show
No one will know you’re exhibiting at the trade show unless you tell them. If you’ve spent time and effort creating an email marketing list, make sure you use it for trade show marketing. Because attending your booth could be the last step in a prospect’s path to purchase.
You don’t need to put a lot of effort into the trade show email you send out. Try a simple text email. Include the trade show event information, your booth number, an overview of exciting activities and a link to your online scheduler.
Don’t have an email list? You may be able to purchase one that contains all of the registered attendees from the trade show organizer. Just remember, this will be your first point of contact. An email to brand-new prospects should be more than plain text to capture their attention.
Include Social Media In Your Trade Show Marketing
Just like your email list, owned social media properties are a great way to communicate with interested prospects and followers. Take a few minutes to craft posts about the upcoming trade show, the location of your booth and teasers about activities at your booth. Also, include a link to your online scheduler.
Pro Tip: At the trade show, remember to post photos and video, and include the show’s #hashtag. The social media posts may prompt additional trade show attendees to stop by your trade show booth. Plus, it informs prospects who couldn’t make the trade show what they’re missing.
Start a Paid Search Campaign
A trade show’s website gets the most traffic two weeks prior to the event. That’s also when search for the event name is the highest.
Interest over time for The International Consumer Electronics Show – Worldwide, Past 5 years
Get your brand in front of trade show attendees by setting up a Google Ads campaign two weeks prior to the event. When you create these ads, optimize them for the trade show by including your booth number and location.
Send the clicks to the trade show landing page on your website. If you don’t have one, strongly consider creating a landing page customized for the next trade show you’re exhibiting at. If you don’t have a trade show landing page, sent clicks to a landing page on your website that addresses the needs of your target customer.
Look for Additional Lead Generation Opportunities
Most of today’s trade shows have scannable badges. Consider getting a badge scanner to easily capture hot leads.
Also, check with your email marketing provider to see if they offer an app or standalone mobile page to capture email addresses. Funnel these prospects into your normal welcome email chain. While they may not be hot leads, they’ll continue to be nurtured from your regular drip campaign.
These are just a few simple digital marketing tricks that B2B marketers can do beyond the booth. To maximize lead generation, it’s best to include your trade show efforts into your integrated marketing plan.
With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing and account services, Kip leads a diverse team built to develop strategies for successful marketing and brand-building for clients.
Kip Botirius, CEO