4 Keys To A Successful (And Profitable) Trade Show

Even though trade shows are questionable or on hiatus due to COVID-19, they will come back and continue to be an important part of a marketer’s toolkit. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction in a high-energy environment geared for engagement with customers and prospects. Trade show success will, however, be scrutinized even more so it’s important to set up your event for success. We help a lot of clients with their trade show strategies and here are four key tenants that you should think of when planning for a trade show:

Set Specific, Measurable Goals

Trade show marketing is a very strategic process that takes months of planning and preparation. You have to begin with the end in mind and make sure everything relates to your growth goals. Trade shows should help you achieve specific goals and metrics – no different than any other marketing campaign. Whether it’s generating quality leads, building brand awareness or educating the market on your products and services, make sure you identify and have access to metrics that will enable you to track performance and show your results.

Be Unique

The worst thing you can do at a trade show is look like everyone else. The bigger the show the more important it is to stand out. Look for ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, the booths around you and from the overall environment.  Do you need to have the typical booth structure that everyone has seen over and over again? Can you leverage technology to drive more interactivity and create that “floor buzz” that everyone covets?  What kind of giveaway item can you hand out that doesn’t end up in a drawer or a trash can?  With effort and intention, you can create a more memorable experience and a lasting impression that will lead to conversions.

Make It Easy To Share Information

The old model of giving someone a brochure or handout that ends up in the bottom of a bag (and more than likely thrown away before they leave) needs to be turned on its end. Create something that lets you get information to your visitors in ways that create connections beyond the trade show floor. Integrating your materials with landing pages specific to the show that can lead to sharing deeper content.  Optimizing for mobile via a QR code works well too. If people are interested in what you have to offer they will have little issues engaging with your tech.

Follow Up Fast

By now everyone knows the importance of following up with your booth visitors after a trade show, but how quickly you follow up with them matters. It’s important to remember that trade show attendees are going back to an office where they will be catching up on their time away and quickly distracted from the experience they had with you on the show floor. By doing something impactful soon after the trade show you gain a first-mover advantage with recency as your ally. You may need to segment your list to do this for only the high-value targets and plan to execute it quickly once the trade show is over, but it will show immediate value and cement the return on your show investment.

Trade shows and events will continue to be part of the marketing canon despite the current limitations and now is the perfect time to turn your trade show strategies on their ear. By thinking and acting differently you will be able to change the trajectory of this all-important marketing channel.