Having an exhibition booth at a trade show sounds like a brilliant way to unleash your products or services to potential customers and members of your industry at large. However, simply having your physical presence in the room will not be enough to encourage anyone to pay attention to you.There is a broad range of effective online marketing strategies to promote your brand and make it stand out and stand tall. Be aware of what your exhibition objectives are for the trade show to employ the most complementary tactics.
To form a line of trade show attendees at your stand, there needs to be a perception that you will offer them a valuable experience. No one is just going to randomly exert his or her energy on a company that offers nothing of educational, technological, or entertainment value. Follow our killer tips for exhibitors and prepare yourself to make a significant impact on the trade show floor.
Develop an Online Marketing Strategy
Social media as the beginning, middle and end of your online marketing for trade exhibitions can lead to total failure. Make no mistake; social media platforms are vital for fast communication. However, they can be rendered useless if there isn’t a thorough online marketing strategy established before you hit the exhibition event.
This online marketing plan needs to include achievement goals, a clear plan of action, knowing who will execute which online efforts, and determining in what ways social media will be utilized before, during, and after the exhibition experience.
Know Your Goals
When the trade show is over, the only way to know whether you exceeded your expectations or failed miserably is if first solidified concrete goals. How else will you and your team know exactly what “success” looks like unless you define it?
Examine the overall goals of your detailed online marketing strategy and decide exactly what outcome would signify success. Maybe your goal is to increase the number of people who interact with your brand.
To measure this goal of engagement, you can set numeric targets for various online activities. It can be the sum of Twitter retweets, Facebook and Instagram likes, brand content shared on social media, click-throughs on that shared content, and comments.
Special Web Page
Develop a brand-new page on your website dedicated to your exhibition booth at the trade show. This web page needs to include your booth number, the products and services that you will display, and clues about new product announcements that you will make. If you are making a presentation, include its title, date, time, and benefits.
E-blast Your Current Customers
Send out an email e-blast to current clients and prospects with your booth number, a link to your floor plan, and details about any products and services that will be shown. Making interested brand loyalists aware in advance of your trade show exhibition can drive up your number of booth visits.
Where Do Attendees Gather Online?
Community building is the core of effective online marketing. Plan to interact with other exhibition participants and brand supporters by actively seeking them out online before the trade show. Twitter and Instagram are excellent places to casually connect and build rapport with like-minded people before the event.
The Right Social Media Platforms
Every social media platform has a unique communication ability and benefit. Utilize them correctly to ensure that your message connects.
Instagram is where visual presentation comes first and the written message is secondary. Share photos and short videos such as your booth, product demonstrations, and activity during the event. Twitter is used for extremely fast information feeds. Think of Twitter tweets as a way to share just your catchy news headlines and not the entire stories - that is what your attached links accomplish.
LinkedIn is the online location for professionals. Use LinkedIngroups, contacts, and attendee lists for your event to communicate on LinkedIn. Facebook allows for longer posts such as daily recaps and photo album uploads for a curated list of mutual friends and associates.
Have a Social Media Leader
Put someone in charge of your detailed online marketing social media strategy. Once the trade show begins, sales people will be dealing with clients, introductions will be getting made, and someone will need to focus on sharing this experience online.
Use the Trade Show Hashtag
If you are using Twitter during the trade show, which you definitely should be, add the trade show’s official hashtag to all your trade show tweets. This hashtag will make your Twitter messages visible to show attendees. Otherwise, they may miss you on Twitter altogether. The hashtag is also an excellent way to earn new and relevant Twitter followers.
Create Your Own Hashtag
In addition to the trade show’s official hashtag, be sure to create your own hashtag to keep the conversation focused on your brand during the show. Make sure that Twitter users have reasons and personal incentives to use your hashtag. Consider incorporating your hashtag into a Twitter contest, hosting a Twitter chat, or using it to share brand-related photos. Make your hashtag visible on your booth and marketing .
Announce Your Tweeting and Posting in Advance
You want everyone who is already aware of your brand and those that are curious about it to know that you will be posting live during the show. Give reminders across your social media platforms and on your dedicated website page, but don’t overdo it with frequent annoying reminders.
Promote More Than Your Booth Number
Yes, you need trade show attendees to know your exhibit booth number. However, remember there are hundreds of other exhibitors doing the same thing. Also, there will be people following your hashtag that aren’t at the show, which makes your booth number useless information to them. Keep your content valuable!
Share Useful Information
Attendees are seeking to gain value when they use the show hashtag as well as your hashtag. Before sending out social media content, ask yourself why anyone would care. How does this benefit their lives? Original content, expert advice, helpful tips, and insider industry information can be not only useful to those whom you share it with but also valuable to those whom they share it with after they receive it.
Don’t Be a Robot
Stay far away from just copying and pasting generic template messages that lack any emotion, concern, interest, or value. Let your audience feel your human presence on the other end of your online marketing efforts.
What Do Attendees Want?
The number-one goal to exhibiting is providing attendees with what they want and not just what you want to give them. Monitor the event hashtag and your personal hashtag. What are they looking forward to doing or seeing? What do they need?
Be Part the Conversation
Don’t just post, post, and post. Respond to the messages of others and initiate conversations. Get involved in any industry Twitter chats and engage your audience and associates.
Giveaways and Contests
Offer reusable items such as water bottles and shopping bags to keep your company in the minds of trade show attendees. Avoid disposable promotional items because once they hit the garbage, so does your logo. Having a contest with valuable products or new services as prizes can keep people immersed in the activity of your booth. Who doesn’t like free gifts?
Photos and More Photos
Tweets with images generally get twice as many engagements as those without photos. Use Instagram to showcase pictures of demonstrations and products and then link those Instagram posts to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Notes and Quotes
Don’t forget about your supporters who weren’t able to make it to the trade show. Share inspiring quotes and original information that you have learned during the event.
Live Video Steaming
Live video streaming is popping up as a function on multiple social media platforms and applications. This trend is exploding with popularity, providing people with a front-row seat to distant events from the comfort of their smartphones, tablets, or computers.
Meet Online Supporters in Person
Find out which social media associates and supporters are attending the show and strengthen those connections by meeting these people in person at the event. Consider a planned group meet-up to take the pressure and awkwardness that a one-on-one meeting might create out of the equation.
Have Some Fun
Attend after-parties, special workshops, and dinners that are part of the exhibition event and be sure to get some enjoyable photos and videos of your fun times. Obviously, you do not want to post anything that can be deemed inappropriate or damaging to your brand. Show people that your company is not just innovative but also how exciting it is to be a part of it.
After the exhibition, it is still your responsibility to keep the conversation about your brand going strong. Keep creating and interacting with a community around your company and cultivating growth. Look at each trade show, exhibition, product launch, and online marketing campaign as a brand-new opportunity to reintroduce people to your brand.Content needs to keep occurring year-round to avoid creating a rupture and a disconnect with these new people whom you are lucky enough to have brought into the fold with you. Audience-building does not happen overnight. However, losing your precious core following can happen quickly if you ignore them for long stretches of time.
Each exhibition can strengthen and further develop your brand. Let online marketing be the vehicle that transports your products and services to the forefront of people’s positive perceptions. With the use of these 21 techniques for developing robust online marketing strategies, you will garner a sure sign of great promotion: “word of mouth.”