Digital marketing and trade shows are two powerful marketing strategies that are not often combined.
Why is this? Trade shows typically involve a physical presence and face-to-face connections. Businesses attend trade shows to physically place themselves in front of new leads. Generally, a lot of work is put into attending, setting up, and running a trade show booth and all the attention is given to making the show happen.
Thinking big picture, after all that work, how does a business retain the attention of the leads and get them to come back to their business after they’ve returned to their lives?
Digital marketing! When used intentionally, digital mediums provide excellent opportunities to engage with new leads before, during, and after a trade show.
Digital Marketing Before a Trade Show
Get social with the show and start getting your brand out there and generate interest before the show. Find the Facebook page, or event, for the trade show and share it on your business Facebook page. Post links, articles and details about the show on the business Linkedin page. Share information about the show, offer free ticket opportunities, announce which booth your business will be at, etc. The goal is to drive awareness and get more people to attend.
Send a sequence of emails in the weeks prior to the show encouraging contacts to attend. Tell them how to find your business’s booth at the show, share coupons or discounts to the show, and provide useful nuggets of information. Use this as an opportunity to connect with your current leads.
Put a banner on the website, or dedicate a section of the homepage to upcoming events and notifications. Keep that area updated with details about the show and a link back to the show page where they can register.
Digital Marketing During The Trade Show
Encourage engagement from attendees visiting your booth. Set up a giveaway, or a special prize, where they are entered to win or get the prize by showing they liked your Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram pages right there at the show. “Check-in” on the business page while at the show, sharing photos of the booth. Do a live video when the booth is set up and the show is going on and invite viewers to engage or join you at the show.
This is understandably the most important digital marketing aspect of the show, as collecting emails is a requirement for being able to follow up with new leads. But, the trick is to keep it simple. Utilize any tools provided by the show to collect lead information and emails quickly and efficiently. There are often apps to scan badges. Be proactive and upfront about when new leads can expect to be contacted by your business after the show.
Having a video running somewhere in the booth is an excellent tactic to bring in attendees who would rather watch from afar. There are always people who can’t help but watch a video, even if they aren’t in a position to stop by the booth at that moment. Curate the video to include digital material that portrays the business message without sound, and include a few call to actions so onlookers have a reason to come to the booth.
Digital Marketing After The Trade Show
Be sure to follow up with all new leads asap after the show. Consider even emailing them that evening after the show is over. Over the next few weeks, they will undoubtedly be inundated with businesses reaching out after the show, so the trick is to make sure to get in early and continue to drip over the next several weeks. Try to personalize the emails as much as possible.
Get back onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin and share highlights and photos from the show. Thank everyone who came by to say hello. Announce the winners of the giveaway, if applicable, or highlight the winners if they were announced at the show.
This tactic capitalizes on the bump in traffic the website and social media accounts have received from the show. The trick is to have campaigns set up prior to the show so they are collecting visitors for the audiences. Then, right after the show, turn the campaigns on across Google Display, Facebook and Linkedin to show ads to all the website traffic and social media visitors over the next few weeks.
Digital marketing is an excellent way to spread awareness and connect with leads before, during and after the trade show! The better attended the show is, the better success all businesses will have, including your business. Take advantage of any creative material the trade show has to offer and use it to share away! Trade shows are about connections. Those connections can start happening before the show opens its doors and, through digital marketing, can continue long after the trade show is wrapped up.