6 Tips for Getting Bloggers to Visit Your Trade Show Display
If you think about it, the sales format of trade shows and conventions is among the oldest of the mass-market advertising techniques we still use. The basic idea of the trade show, and trade show displays has been in use for many hundreds of years, in various forms, yet it still keeps going (think back to the public markets of 1,000 years ago – lots of vendors grouped together, displaying their products…).
The primary purpose of public markets, trade shows, and trade show displays, is to reach out to people. That’s at the heart of all advertising. Further, this sales process is a very democratic activity, in its own way. Rather than forcing customers to come to you, you’re meeting them on common ground to share ideas and resources. These ideas are as close to universal as you get in marketing, and it’s why trade shows work as well today as they did centuries ago.
However, the exact methods you deploy in your trade show displays change practically every year – and except for very rare products and companies, just showing up and waiting for visitors is not a great plan. You need to work proactively, before and during the show, to lure them over to check out your offerings.
These days, everyone is on the internet – even you, apparently! One of the ways to promote your trade show activities is to have them discussed on the internet. You can obviously do that yourself, but it helps a lot to have someone else mention them too. In short, your trade show displays need to target the bloggers.
Why Your Trade Show Displays Need Bloggers
Right now, bloggers are among the most influential people on the Internet. If someone with a popular blog or social media feed talks about you, that’s as good as a celebrity endorsement as far as the Internet concerned.
So, how do you get them on your side?
- Make your list early. It’s never too early to look around popular blogs and social media feeds for the important voices in your industry. Keep track of who seems to have large followings and says things that agree with your company’s own philosophies.
- Make a connection as a friend or fan. Simply hitting someone with an invitation cansometimes work, but it’ll be better if you’ve been hanging around their blog\Facebook\whatever for a bit participating in the discussions yourself. That way, you’ll be seen as contributing rather than just sniffing for free press.
- Contact them early on. Don’t wait until the last minute, especially if you’re looking at bloggers who may have to travel to reach your expo show. Reach out a month or two ahead of time to see if they’re interested.
- DO NOT make it tit-for-tat. If you invite bloggers to your trade displays, make it clear that they are under no obligation to do anything at all. Internet writers value their independence and get very leery if someone asks them to “sell out.” You have to guarantee them their freedom, even if they hate your products and want to trash them. (This is why looking for bloggers who already match your philosophies is a good idea.)
- Make it fun. Now, just because it’s not pay-to-play, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some wining and dining. That’s still part of the game. It just has to be done with the understanding that they’re not under any obligations.
- They need something out of it. Bloggers are looking out for their own careers. The best plans for involving bloggers in trade show events give something back to them, such as new web content that can be added to their portfolios.
If you can get a few key influential online thinkers to your trade show displays, you’ll get plenty of publicity out of it. If you invite the right ones, it will likely be good publicity to boot. So, look to integrate bloggers and social media into your press\media outreach strategies, and you’ll be keeping your trade show displays current for the coming year!