It takes a well-planned, coordinated effort before, during and after a trade show to maximize your investment. Your trade show display is set up to attract customers to win new business and make new connections. Having a good PR campaign will get potential customers actively looking for your booth at trade shows, rather than simply stumbling upon it.
Do Your Prep Work
Pay special attention to the media attendees, including freelancers, advises Hannah Kitchener, a senior account executive with the PR firm SE10. The media can help promote you at no cost. Freelancers and industry bloggers are especially hungry for interesting stories they can pitch to their readers. Send the media newsworthy information, rather than just a list of your products or services.
Avoid the hard sell, but certainly tell bloggers and others why their readers need to know what you are selling. For example, a maker of automobile air filters might provide media members with tips that their readers can use to cut car maintenance and operating costs. The list could include keeping tires properly inflated, using the right oil, and changing air filters on a regular schedule to increase fuel mileage. The air filter maker could then invite media members to its booth to learn more about how air filters work and what types are available. Provide objective information, problems or opportunities, possible solutions and the solution you offer.
Tease Your Target Audience
Don’t rely on the media to tell your whole story. Use short press releases, emails, tweets or Facebook posts to alert your customer base to important news while offering to provide a complete report they can pick up at your trade show display. Reference new legislation that will affect customers, or share the results of a study that might impact their businesses. An old PR adage was “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Give them just enough information to whet their appetites for more, then bring them to your display to share the whole story at your booth.
Offer News about the Show
Maybe produce a blog post a few weeks before the show to recommend the best hotels, restaurants and evening entertainment options in the area. Show where to find parking or the best way to get from the airport to the show’s hotels. Don’t forget to set up your booth and take pictures of it with your staff so attendees will know what to look for when they’re at the show.
Coordinate Your Social Media Efforts
Using Twitter and Facebook, along with show hashtags, can heighten your visibility to show attendees and even your company staffers back at the office. Tweeting and posting from the show also lends credibility as well. For example, update your customers about new or interesting products at the show. Or promote other companies and send links to their websites. In this way, you’ll brand yourself as an objective expert in your industry. This can also help you with the media, who will see you as an industry expert and a credible source.
Don’t Forget Contests and Gifts
People love freebies, though it can be a double-edged sword. People who come to your booth just for a prize may not be serious customers. So limit your prizes and contests to pre-qualified customers. Try a trivia contest that requires show attendees to answer three short questions about your product or service. Highlight three key selling points you want to make an impact. If attendees get the “gimme” questions right, they win a prize. You can publicize the winners of the content in your social efforts and show wrap-ups.
Let the experts at Northwest Creative Imaging help you with ideas for creative PR for trade shows. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of NWCI’s experts today.