Marketers are always looking for the next online strategy to enhance their marketing efforts, but there’s more to moving the needle than just digital tactics. Direct and in-person marketing can have incredible business benefits.
According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, the overwhelming majority (80%) of marketers believe live events are critical to their company’s success (1). There’s a prevailing misconception that every marketing initiative can be executed online, but building personal relationships with customers can prove a major differentiator — and trade shows are great opportunities to connect with your target audience.
If you’re new to this world, you might not be aware of the trade show marketing best practices you should be following to maximize your impact before, during, and after each event. These tips will help you attract people to your booth, make a great first impression, and successfully follow up with leads after the event is over.
Capture Your Audience’s Attention at Every Step of the Way
Each and every interaction with each and every attendee is important — whether they’re a potential lead, existing client, or possible new partner — which is why you need to make a good impression that will capture and hold your audience’s attention before, during, and after an event.
Trade shows are a great way to connect with your audience, but you need to focus on promoting each event through a variety of tactics to ensure a good turnout. Developing and implementing multi-channel campaigns for each event might seem overwhelming — especially if you’re attending more than one trade show in a given timeframe — but the right marketing automation platform (such as Act-On) can make the process of building landing pages, automating email programs, and promoting your event on social media efficient and effortless.
Once you’ve got a captive in-person audience, you need to grab and hold their attention. Invest in clean, crisp, eye-catching booth materials, stock up on useful and memorable swag (more on that here), and make sure your team is enthusiastic and ready to answer questions and interact with your visitors.
Send Your Best Personnel to Each Trade Show
Your trade show success will ultimately depend on your employees’ efforts. Today, merely sending a couple sales reps isn’t going to cut it. Consumers are savvier than ever and will resist blatant attempts at being sold — regardless of how great your products or services are.
So, along with your sales personnel, send one or more team members who are skilled at making people feel at ease and receptive to your messaging. Customer success personnel are usually great candidates because they’re inherently skilled at nurturing prospects and love working with people.
Sending the right people to staff your trade show booth will help you stand out from other exhibitors and help you create lasting connections with awesome prospects.
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Don’t Forget to Follow Up After the Event
Once the show is over, your representatives must be proactive about following up with new contacts to let them know you appreciate their valuable time and their willingness to interact with your brand. This will open the door for you to nurture those relationships and educate new leads about your offerings.
To ensure strong follow up, lead data is paramount. Capturing this data in-person can happen in several ways — including lead retrieval systems, badge scanners, and lists provided by the promoter or association.
Regardless of how you collect data, it needs to be relevant and accurate. Using an email verification service like NeverBounce on your signup forms will guarantee you’re getting legitimate data at the point of entry. Further, uploading a full list of all the visitor data you acquired at the show will help ensure your event-triggered email marketing efforts reach their intended inboxes, allowing your customer success representatives to continue the conversation in the digital realm.