Why You Need Trade Shows In Your Marketing Strategy
Why do you need trade shows in your marketing strategy? In fact, why might trade shows be the most important part of your marketing strategy?
Well, it’s really simple, and answered by one more question – what is the biggest benefit of interacting with attendees at trade shows? The answer is relationships.
Selling is all about relationships. That hasn’t changed in centuries, if ever. Relationships are just as essential to effective marketing in today’s world as they were thousands of years ago. There’s simply no other place where you can get face-to-face with your prospects on a more concentrated basis than in the trade show exhibit hall.
So how and why can you take advantage of the remarkable opportunity trade shows provide to create relationships? Here are five reasons for you to consider trade shows in your marketing strategy.
1) You’re Establishing A Connection
When your sales staff is cold calling, who are they creating relationships with? In most cases, they’re only getting as far as a receptionist, secretary or assistant. It’s their job to keep your people from getting through to the boss. Those aren’t the relationships you want to foster.
If you’re a new player in an industry, it’s hard to generate any buzz about your company or products at all. And in every situation, you’re dealing with all your competitors trying to do the same thing: get through to a decision maker.
However, if trade shows are in your marketing strategy, then when you’re in that trade show exhibit, you’ll be actually meeting face-to-face with the people you can’t get a hold of on the phone!
The trade show setting is ideal for building rapport with your prospects. Why? Because they can put a name and face together with a product that potentially solves a problem they have. They’re not just dealing with another voice on the phone. You’re creating relationships that will last long after the show is over. And that’s especially true during that all-important period of follow up.
2) You Educate Your Customers
Trade shows are a wonderful opportunity. They bring people together who all have a need for certain products or services (those that you provide). In the trade show exhibit hall, you’re given the gift of time. Time to interact with prospects that are offering you their undivided attention. It’s your chance to educate them in a way that’s unique to event marketing.
Think about it: you run an ad in a trade magazine, and it gets glanced at by some of the readers. Your press release gets skimmed by editors, and garners even less attention from readers. That situation doesn’t exist on the show floor.
Your target audience is right in front of you, waiting for you to explain your product. You can also educate them about what makes that product (or your company) the ideal choice for them.
3) You’re Getting A Better Return On Your Investment
If you’ve got salespeople out in the field trying to make a sale, there are significant costs associated with that activity. And no sane marketing person wants to throw money at a process that doesn’t get a sufficient ROI.
Even sales campaigns using traditional advertising have costs that offer only cyclical returns. In other words, the customers only show up when you’re running the ads or sending out the sales literature.
But if you have trade shows in your marketing strategy, then a trade show exhibit offers the potential for the highest ROI of all. Why? First, you’re certain to reach your target market (assuming you pick the right shows). And prospects from that market are eating out of your hand when they spend time in your trade show booth. At least half of show attendees plan to purchase something they see on the show floor within the twelve months following the event. This has been proven by many surveys.
4) You’re Making More Sales
Trade show exhibiting is unique in another way. It allows you to market and sell in the same square footage. Usually, marketing is seen as a first step (directing potential customers to your website, store or call center). However, on the show floor, you can quickly turn someone you’re marketing to into a customer.
What I mean is, the “sales funnel” from first exposure to the purchase is much shorter at trade shows. So if you have trade shows in your marketing strategy, you’re able to accomplish this right there at the show, the result is more sales.
And don’t overlook what you walk away from a trade show with. You’ve got business cards or lead forms from other prospective customers. Effective follow can turn these people into customers. And that results in more sales from trade show marketing.
5) You Generate Leads
When your sales staff is cold calling, you have limited information about each prospect. You’re essentially making your pitch in a vacuum. The inevitable results are a lot of calls that don’t generate business. And other marketing efforts (like emails, brochures and catalogs) don’t create any activity, either.
When you’re selling in your trade show booth, a large percentage of the attendees are prospects for what you sell. And you’re meeting with them face-to-face. In fact, they’re coming to you! So placing trade shows in your marketing strategy offers an enormous advantage today. Why? Because shows are more and more vertical these days. Pick your shows correctly, and you’ll have a virtual guarantee of connecting with your target audience.
There’s one more important consideration in trade show marketing: your exhibit. A well-designed trade show booth can attract attention, tell your story and help you be a more effective exhibitor. From a pop-up portable to a modular trade show exhibit, American Image Displays can be the secret weapon in your marketing strategy. To learn more, call us at (800) 676-EXPO or email [email protected].