The trade show industry has grown and evolved from its early days, when exhibitors simply showed up and presented their wares or services. Today’s industry requires a thorough follow-up campaign and most importantly, extensive planning and marketing steps taken long before the trade show doors open. Businesses who want to make the most of the trade show experience and gain the most sales and leads must properly prepare, predominantly in their pre-show successful marketing strategies.
The Importance of Trade Shows
Businesses are only able to grow with the continued addition of new customers, new ideas and new business, and trade shows provide an extraordinary opportunity to meet potential new customers, expand leads lists, and properly display new and exciting new offerings of a company. The Center for Exhibition Research collected data on the importance and value of trade shows for businesses and found that 70 percent of trade show attendees plan to buy one or more products, and 26 percent actually sign purchase orders.
Even more telling, 72 percent of attendees say that the trade show itself heavily influenced their decisions to buy. Clearly, trade shows are an important piece of the marketing puzzle for your business, a necessary step in finding the buyers and closing the sales.
Trade shows provide the following benefits to businesses:
- Irreplaceable exposure: Meeting and greeting potential customers face-to-face has the maximum effect on your business’s ability to sell, and to a large group of people at the same time.
- Expanded reach: Information shared at trade shows can be passed along to other potential customers through one of the most highly appreciated forms of marketing – word of mouth.
- Lessened costs: Marketing efforts are compacted into a three or four day event, allowing businesses to reach a large number of customers simultaneously, and without the added costs of external advertising.
Pre-Trade Show Marketing Strategies That Work
Knowing how important trade shows can be to your sales, it’s critical to take the most steps possible before the events to maximize trade show efforts. Some great examples of marketing strategies that work include:
- Share it Socially: Your attendance at the trade show can be expertly promoted through social media outlets, most without any cost. Spread the news of your attendance (and featured products) on Facebook and Twitter, or even consider setting up a Pinterest or Instagram account for full-color images of your exhibit offerings. Use the weeks leading up to the event to heavily promote your attendance with daily posts to build excitement and attention.
- Connect with Other Exhibitors: Using LinkedIn and Facebook, RSVP to the trade show event and connect with others in the group or on the guest list. Share ideas for the trade show and also use the opportunity to make potential business connections for future sales.
- Update Business Website: Make sure your business website contains all information about your trade show attendance, including the hours and location, and even offer a coupon to be used for orders placed at the trade show.
- Use Send-outs: Build excitement and place focus on trade show attendance with a strategic email campaign in the weeks leading up the event.
- Send a Press Release: Press releases are still considered valuable pieces of marketing, and putting a press release into the right publishing hands can send exposure all over the web.
- Change Business Voicemail: May sound simple, but including a brief message about your attendance at the trade show on your company’s voicemail can alert callers to the fact. Include relevant information or a website address visitors can go to for more information.
- Share New Products: Build hype for trade show attendance by announcing the unveiling of new products, with trade show attendees able to have the first look and chance to order. Share this news socially or through email send-outs.
- Have a Contest: Reward those who follow your blog or social media sites with a contest, a chance to win free services or products from your business, encouraging them to share with others. Consider designing an ‘invitation’ to the trade show, and reward the person who can share it the most with a nice discount on your products.
- Be Creative: Creativity doesn’t have to cost a great deal; some of the greatest trade show marketing ideas have been relatively inexpensive. Find a way to make attendees want to visit your booth, be it with humorous advertising, promise of free wares or the guarantee of discounted services for trade show attendees.
- Be Prepared: Not just with a well-designed and visually striking exhibit, but prepare fully with your presentation. Practice your ‘elevator speech’ so that when the time come, the lead or the sale is easy to capture. Consider making ‘business theater’ a part of your exhibit, inviting attendees to learn more about your business while also being able to reach a large number of people at a time.
Make the most of your trade show experience by taking advantage of every opportunity available, weeks and months before the event ever happens. Then, when the time comes, the trade show will bring in the most leads and ultimately the most sales.
Trade show events bring companies and people together better than any other marketing platform, and you can help your trade show be the best it can be with expertly designed trade show booths and displays by Northwest Creative Imaging. With a mission to provide a wide range of products and services on every budget, Northwest Creative Imaging is your ticket to trade show success.