Trade Show Booths NEED Digital Marketing!
So, let’s talk some more about digital marketing strategies for the upcoming months. Like we discussed in our recent article on the CEIR conference, digital marketing is going to be growing in importance for almost all trade show booths.
Some new numbers came out recently on the state of digital marketing buy-ins, and pretty much, they confirm that previous trends are still holding true. Digital marketing continues to grow, although at slightly reduced rates, and retailers continue to be the largest single force on the market.
To me, these reports paint a picture of a retail sector that’s struggling to utilize every dollar as best they can. Digital marketing is significantly less expensive than offline campaigns, while generally offering a broader reach and lower costs-per-impression. Money shifted into online marketing goes much further, in many ways.
With trade show booths and expo appearances still among your best PR opportunities, bringing in digital display elements is quickly becoming a necessity. The technological bar is low enough that virtually anyone can do it – it’s mostly just a matter of how quickly people realize the benefits.
Here’s a few things worth thinking about if you’re looking to integrate more digital marketing into your trade show booth strategies.
Digital Strategies To Consider As You Build Your Next Trade Show Campaign
- Engagement requires actual interaction.
Everyone wants engagement, since the best sort of buyer is an emotionally engaged buyer who outright likes you and says so.
But these days, we’re all getting bombarded with messages trying to get us to join some virtual club or rate someone in exchange for virtual points. And when everything is about goods-for-reviews, that’s not engagement. That’s barter.
Basically, everyday consumers cannot be nagged into supporting your company or product socially and meaning it. People know that their online opinion and profiles have value, and are somewhat discriminating in how they deploy them. To move the relationship past the point of simple monetary exchange, there needs to be some sort of other back-and-forth happening, one which is also directly beneficial to the consumer.
Trade show marketing tie-ins are a perfect way to show this off, since the show feeds off interactions to begin with. Look for ways to
take the live display and translate it to the online world. Hold online chat sessions concurrent with your trade show booth’s appearance. Livestream what you can. Look to bring the online crowd into the display however you can.
But look for ways to reward trade show guests -however you think they might enjoy being rewarded- for participating in online ventures. A lot of the time, just finding ways to indicate that you are listening and incorporating their suggestions will go a long way.
Otherwise, put a cherry on top of everything.
- Solicit True Testimonials
Positive word-of-mouth and sincere testimonials are still among the biggest influences on buyers today, at any level. Trade show booths are a fine time and place to show off how many happy customers you have, and digital methods create plenty of ways for them to tell you about it.
Microvideo sites like Vine and Tout are perfect for this, as well as Instagram and the bloggers. Make it easy for happy customers to be just a click or two away from saying something nice about you to the world. It’s a free way to build up material for promotional videos, and it gives people a fun way to interact a bit.
Just remember what we said above: The motivated and engaged customer doesn’t just have money on their mind, unless you really did just save them a whole lot of it. Look for ways to go above and beyond for them, and then politely ask them to quickly Tweet about how great their experience was with your product or service, or in your trade show booths.
Or any other interaction with your company, for that matter. People want to be treated like people by companies they do business with, and that’s one of the reasons that genuinetestimonials carry so much weight with buyers.
- Think Context
Context is becoming a hot topic, and is going to be shaping online marketing from here on out.
You may have just spent an afternoon slaving over a new graphic, or one sheet, or piece of copy… but when it first arrives in a lead’s inbox or News feed, it’s just one more piece of background noise competing for attention. Where the person is and what they’re doing at that moment have a lot of influence over how well a message is received – or if it’s received at all.
This is one of the reasons it’s becoming more important to have clear buyer personas and Universal Lead Definitions for your trade show planning. The better you know your customers’ and leads, the easier it will be to find times and places to send your message that will fit into their life at that time, rather than being a distraction.
IV. Build Bigger Databases (Sorry)
I know it’s not popular to talk about at the moment, but this bigger focus on the message’s recipient means finding out more information about them. When you’re moving into online marketing of your products and even your trade show booths, you should be doing a lot of segmenting to try to reach out to several groups at once.
Virtually any data you can collect and store is useful, but always be mindful that asking for too much info at one time is generally pretty creepy to someone in the process of accepting an offer. People are very willing to walk away from an online offer at any point before the final acceptance, if they are sufficiently spooked or annoyed.
Look at consumer data collection as a gradual process and, at first, focus on finding ways to gather it while doing things you’re already doing. Something as simple as someone taking notes on visitors in your trade show booths can give you a lot of valuable intelligence.
Then in turn, the data you gather on market preferences and customer profiles turn into the background information you need to add insight to your next exciting trade show booth design!
Rejoice, for there is good news in this uncertain new marketing sea that not enough people talk about: Even the most ill-advised, offensive, downright mindblowingly awful online marketing campaign is all but totally forgotten within a few months.
In this environment, you’re pretty much free to experiment and work with your leads, clients, and fans to find ways of interacting online that benefit everyone involved. Keep looking for new ways to reach out to them, or give them a surprise that’s both interactive and enjoyable. Try out different websites and services, and see how you can use them to take your trade show booths online.
Even if some ideas flop, no one will care as long as you apologize and quickly move on to something else.
Keep Adding Digital Strategies To Your Trade Show Booths As You Can
Right now, being a bit bold and genuinely different will pay off for marketing your trade show appearances online. The key, however, is always keeping your customer in mind. It’s a marketing world centered on personalization and added incentives, but that shouldn’t surprise folks in the trade show industry!