Trade show and conference marketing present some fantastic opportunities for small businesses. These niche events offer the chance to build your brand, promote your products and services, generate leads and engage with current and potential customers. Careful planning is key to trade show success. But how do you attract visitors to YOUR stall and stand out from the competition?
Whether it be a campervan business, wedding business or anything else, there are plenty of expo prospects to benefit from. Trade show success is measured by how much effort you put into it. The biggest and best shows definitely have that competitive edge – but not all are successful. Here’s how to make sure yours is:
Leverage Social Media (Before, After and During)
After you’ve chosen the perfect conference, trade show or convention to attend, utilise social media to spread the word. Attendees will gravitate towards stalls that are readily available to them, familiar or visible – so make sure they know you’re going to be there well in advance!
Use video teasers in the leadup to the event and throughout, create a landing page on your website to allow people to RSVP and promote it and let people know how they can find you there, what your company represents and what they will learn at the show.
Once the event is over, use social media to research your new leads and reconnect afterwards. LinkedIn is good for conversation starters. Turn trade show questions into blog posts and share tips, images and feedback from the event to keep the buzz going.
Hot Tip: Create a detailed social media marketing plan as soon as you have the event secured. This should clearly outline when scheduled posts are going to be shared, what content needs to be created and platforms to utilise to get the best reach.
Set Up Your Stall Just Right
First impressions and stall location are everything. Most trade shows will offer prime spots for an extra charge – take advantage of this to make the most of your investment – but be quick! These spots are secured early. Make your stall approachable by investing in the right look and an appealing design. Naturally, customers are attracted to bright colours, professional branding and simple, uncluttered displays.
Use clear signage and banner advertising to direct attendees to your booth. Pass out freebies/samples to entice people to come to your booth. Ensure there is enough professionally trained staff working the stall at all times. You want to avoid potential customers waiting to be served or ask questions.
Hot Tip: Be hospitable! Give people a warm welcome, offer snacks and drinks (in line with your company brand with your branding or business card attached) and ooze generosity so attendees remember you. Plus, everyone loves free food!
Extend Your Reach with Take Home Marketing Collateral
No successful event booth can be complete without marketing collateral. Stock up on all the essentials – flyers, business cards, brochures and product/service information sheets. If you’re planning on taking orders on the day, ensure there are plenty of order forms too.
Give your attendees something tangible to remember your brand by. Create take-home show bags filled with marketing collateral and promotional goodies they can use, which will effectively extend your reach. Notepads, pens, USB sticks, coffee mugs, water bottles, keyrings and bottle openers are the most commonly used and loved products to brand with your logo and giveaway.
Utilise Location-Based Services
Make it super easy for attendees to check in to your booth. People love using social media to check in and share information when they attend trade shows. Use Foursquare to create a location for your specific booth to encourage potential customers to find you and help to spread the word about your brand.
This can be used as a great incentive too! Offer a special promo to anyone that uses the platform to check into your booth to boost your presence to other users and attendees. It could be a product giveaway, a free consultation or an extra prize – anything awesome that’ll grab their attention and promote your brand!
Get Your Best Clients to the Show
Whilst trade shows are all about generating new leads, investing into your current clientele should always be a priority too. Are your best clients going to the event? It’s easier to get people to go to an event if they’ve brought a ticket before. If they don’t already have a ticket, purchase them one. If they love it – you can trust they’ll be back (and buy their own ticket) next time too. Not only will this wow your customers to be a part of some of the best industry events, but it will give you an automatic return on investment too.
Author: Jayde Ferguson
Founder of Toward Music, Jayde is a scripturient with a consuming passion to write. With 12 years experience as a freelance music journalist, she’s also a dedicated writer in the business industry with an undying love for typewriters & street press.