Building Buzz For Your Upcoming Trade Show
These days, you have more options than ever before when it comes to letting people know about your upcoming trade show appearances. Effective pre-show marketing and promotion can do a lot to drive the best leads to your trade show booth, allowing it to truly be a brand ambassador as it reaches out directly to some of your most promising potential partners.
This pre-show advertising is incredibly important – the pre-show interest you generate will do a lot to increase your expo displays’ effectiveness.
Random foot traffic from the convention floor often make for flaky leads at best. The leads you want the most are the ones who’ve come to the exposition planning to see you!
Pre-Show Promotion Brings Leads To Your Trade Show Displays
You have a wide variety of promotional outlets to choose from when building your pre-show marketing campaign. The key is to use a variety, and pick the ones which are most likely to be experienced by your target demographic. (You have created client persona’s, right?)
Radio: Radio is one of the mainstays of trade show marketing, and that’s unlikely to change. You’re likely to catch a lot of businesspeople during their morning commutes, or tuning in during a busy workday. Plus, advertising rates are the lowest of all broadcast media, and quite affordable for nearly any business.
Don’t forget 21st century radio either! Check with SiriusXM and some of the major Internet radio sites, such as Pandora and Last.fm. They similarly have very affordable rates, and can offer precision-targeted delivery to boot.
When dealing with local stations, you might also inquire into whether they’re interested in a cross-promotion. Radio stations love any excuse to have a day out, so if you can find a good fit, finding a good “hook” and inviting a local station to partner with you in your trade show booth can bring a lot of exposure that you might not otherwise see.
Direct Mail: Direct mail isn’t dead, and it’s still effective when the goal is simply getting the word out. A flier campaign on an area is inexpensive and brings a lot of exposure, as well as potentially catching the eye of a lot of interested parties.
Try a mix of bulk direct mail, as well as the occasional hand-crafted mailer to some of your best leads in that area. In the electronic age, an item in the mail that’s clearly been put together by hand can be one of the most impressive promotions of all. Include a coupon for a exclusive give-away or special deal for those that bring them to your display stand.
E-Mail: Your E-mail lists should receive at least a couple letters during the weeks leading up to your trade show appearance. Try to personalize the emails as much as possible. Like with direct mail, the personal touch stands out and impresses. It may be worth the extra time writing individual E-mails precisely because of the extra level of personal connection they can generate.
When constructing a promotional E-mail, think about both the subject line and the first sentence. It’s becoming standard for mobile readers to show the first line of an email, so think about how to have something extra-catchy immediately after the subject. You’re more likely to get seen or, at least, flagged for reading later on.
Telephone: Save your telephone calls for those you’ve already done business with. Sales calls remain pretty universally intrusive, even if they are for something like a trade show appearance. For your MVCs, they’re a good way to catch up and let them know about your upcoming displays. For everyone else, it’s probably not a good idea. Use other methods.
Blogging: Chronicle the run-up to every trade show appearance you make. Honestly! Blog about the process as a way to keep people up-to-speed without seeming too pushy about it. Issues like picking a venue, deciding on a design, choosing which products to show… this is all great material for your company blog.
Don’t forget pictures and videos when you’re blogging, especially when you get to the build phase. That sort of material is great for sharing since, if you’re using your blog to promote your exposition booths, you’ll also be using…
Social Media: Like with emails, a couple social media announcements directly regarding your trade show appearance are fine, just don’t overdo it. Twitter should be mostly saved for the show itself; since, in general, you don’t talk about anything more than a few days in the future on Twitter.
Try using LinkedIn and\or Facebook for feedback prior to the show. Getting your connections’ opinions on things like booth design or products showcased can be a great way of finding the right direction for your trade show booth. It keeps them involved and interested, and gives you direct market research.
Don’t forget to also share out those videos and photos via your social networks too! If you’ve got photographs of your previous appearances, consider tossing some of them into the mix too. It gives people a good idea what to expect.
Mix & Match For Best Results
The best pre-trade show awareness campaigns are built out of several different media. Look at the options you’ll have in the city of your next exposition appearance, and see what your possibilities are. A mixture of different formats will maximize your chances of being seen by your target group, as well as raising awareness among the public as well.
Combine a great run-up campaign with a great trade show appearance, and you’ll quickly see the rewards through increased leads and sales.