Getting Ready for Your
Trade shows provide businesses across the globe with opportunities to showcase their products and services, engage with industry leaders and professionals, stay in touch with customers, and build relationships with potential leads. Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought in-person events to a halt, conferences are making a long-awaited return.
If you’re looking to jump back into trade show marketing, we’ve provided a few tips below to make the most of your experience.
Attend the Right One.
Like most marketing and business development initiatives, thorough research is required to accomplish success. You’ll want to start by establishing your intent for attending a trade show. Clearly define your objectives for the show.
Are you looking to branch out to new customers, display a new product, or be seen by thousands of industry professionals? Clearly defining your goals will help you decide the appropriate strategy and the appropriate shows to attend. Here are a few items to consider:
- What is your primary goal?
- How far are you willing to travel?
- What is your budget?
- Who is your target audience?
- What shows do other industry leaders attend?
Reach Out to Schedule Meetings.
If the primary objective of your trade show attendance is to connect with current and potential customers, reach out to your contacts or qualified leads to coordinate meetings. Since companies from all over the country or world will be attending, a trade show is a huge opportunity to try and schedule meetings.
Create a list of the contacts you’d like to meet with and initiate conversations with them through email marketing and direct outreach on LinkedIn. Trade shows are hectic for everyone involved, so try to make this an easy and seamless process for those you’re requesting time from. Remember to plan ahead, get straight to the point, and focus on building a relationship.
Promote Your Presence.
Ahead of the show, work to make it known that you’ll be attending. Create a list of strategic messages that you want your target audience to walk away with. Next, formulate a list of ways to integrate these messages into your marketing strategy in the weeks leading up to the show. Check out a few examples below.
Utilize geo-targeted LinkedIn ad campaigns.
Geo-fencing is the act of selecting a specific area, such as a particular conference center (and its surrounding restaurants and hotels) to distribute your digital ads. Geo-targeting is similar but even more specialized. Using platforms like LinkedIn helps you distribute ads to certain people within the area that also meet certain criteria, such as specific companies or industries, specific job titles or seniority levels, and more. This way, you can maximize brand exposure with or without an exhibit.
Create content aligned with your booth or trade show agenda.
Ahead of each trade show, work with your subject matter experts and business development team to curate content, including social media posts, videos, articles, and more. Be sure to base your content ideas around the event agenda, your customers’ pain points, pipeline opportunities, or other objectives.
Showcase your strengths.
Design landing pages on your website with information specific to each trade show. This includes capability highlights, current, and past contracts, articles or videos relevant to the show or target customer, and more. Additionally, you can also create trade show collateral with a QR code that leads users directly to this page for more information.
Don’t get us wrong, printed slick sheets are great, but a landing page will help keep your business from getting lost in an armload of trade show giveaways and brochures.
Build Relationships with Reporters.
It’s best to begin planning your media relations efforts for an upcoming show a couple of months in advance. Research and relationships are the keys to gaining positive media coverage when your company isn’t a well-known industry leader. By following the steps below, you can set yourself up for success ahead of your show.
Research and compile a media list.
A media list is a document that houses a list of media contacts including journalists, reporters, bloggers, influencers, and more that may be interested in covering your company or product. You may want to have a collection of media lists based on your business goals.
For instance, you can establish one media list for local initiatives and another for events with industry-specific publications and contacts from across the country. You’ll want to include more than just the names and email addresses of these contacts. Make sure to note the media outlet they belong to, their location, role, social media handles and their topics of interest – or beats. Check out our blog for more information.
Create a digital media kit.
Create a digital media kit to make the reporters’ jobs easy. Include all of the elements a reporter may need to create a compelling story. Remember to make visuals a priority. Including photos, videos, graphics or other visuals will score you major points with journalists who need multimedia elements to help bring their stories to life and drive engagement. Below is a list of items a media kit should include:
- Key facts about your organization, product, or initiative
- A variety of high-quality logos
- Supporting images and videos
- A boilerplate, or short standardized paragraph about your business
- A media contact from your organization
- Subject matter experts or leadership profiles
- Past press releases from your company
Craft your pitch.
When crafting your media pitch, consider your unique market position, your brand’s story, and the value you can bring to your industry. To be blunt, most people probably won’t care about the services or products your company provides without understanding the aforementioned elements. Every pitch should address the “so what” that reporters and viewers are looking for. Emphasize why people should care about your story or product. Your pitch must resonate with a journalist before it ever gets to the public. If a journalist deems your story as unnewsworthy, it won’t ever see the light of day.
Trade shows and industry events require an immense amount of planning, research, and strategy to be worth the expense and effort. Need an extra hand to meet your goals? Connect with our team – we’re happy to help!