Trade shows are a great venue to showcase your company and highlight key products and offerings. It’s no surprise, then, that according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Content Marketing Survey, 56% of respondents find in-person events very valuable. It’s your chance to get in front of customers, prospects and key stakeholders, so it’s important to make the most of it! Here at Outlook Marketing, we have a lot of experience supporting our clients at events, both through in-booth activities and opportunities throughout the conference and trade show floor. From HIMSS to DesignCon to CES, we’ve learned the ins and outs over the years and know that effective preparation is the most important step to ensure you maximize your time and dollars. Below is the marketing checklist to follow.
- Get the media list. This is the Holy Grail. As an exhibitor, you have access to show perks, one being the attending media list. You will want to get this as soon as possible to make calls and send e-mails inviting key media contacts to meet with your company at the show.
The goal is to get the editors attention early and fast! You are one of many trying to get the same editor’s attention for your client. In addition, think about the usual suspects – media outlets you regularly work with for that client – and reach out to ask if they are attending. Remember: results, results, results! Media is a key measurement for trade show success.
- Take advantage of promotional opportunities. As an exhibitor there are usually a lot of FREE promotional opportunities to expose your client or business. Show dailies. Product news round-ups. Key publications will be writing pre-show coverage – get in ‘em!
- Lead with a charge: ensure your communication plan is in order. Get your e-mail campaign out early and continue post-show. Think about the customer contacts you have established. Send a note letting them know that you will be at the show with information on what you will highlight. Entice them to your booth. And remember post-show “thank you” e-mails. Let your contacts know you appreciate their time and make a good impression on all of those new leads you just made!
- Craft a strong message. Ideally, you’ll want to get your press release out a few weeks before the show, but that doesn’t always happen especially in the B2B space. Demos are still being flushed out. Tooling products are still in the works. Perfection is in the process and usually comes down to the wire. So you’ll want your press release to deliver a strong message. Be consistent with the marketing message you’ve distributed pre-show, but give your press release something different to stand on. If you can’t get your release out early, it is typical for many companies to send out a press release the first day of a trade show.
- Be Social. A strategic pre-, during and post-show social media campaign is a smart way to get noticed. Follow the influencers – editors, analysts, bloggers, etc. Post and tweet industry trends – show your audience you have your finger on the pulse. Highlight how your company is moving the needle and why they are an important player in a specific industry. Write a blog for your company’s blog site and then share via social. Start the digital conversation.
- Keep the momentum going. The post-show momentum is just as valuable as all that precedes it. You don’t want to lose the traction you have built. There are customers and prospects to follow-up with and thank. The market and industry are still churning out news and so should you. Think: post-show blog(s), continued social presence, post-show editorial round-ups – and continue to leverage the conversations you had with the editors that you met.
Author: Erin McMahon, Senior Account Manager, Outlook Marketing Services
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