• Jill Marber

Marketing for a Trade Show

You have a booth and a theme. Maybe you even got your team matching shirts and some nifty giveaways. You should be set for your next trade show, right? Unfortunately, marketing your business associated with a conference or a trade show doesn’t begin on the first day of the convention. It begins weeks, sometimes months, ahead of time. And, it doesn’t end when the show is over either. Your business can bank on social media posts and press releases for weeks to come. You paid to be a part of the show, so make the most of it.

As soon as you send in that vendor check and start planning your booth, you need to think about making the most of your marketing efforts. If you are going to a bigger show, there will be dozens, maybe hundreds, of booths. How do you make sure the right people stop by your booth? How do make sure they stay at your booth longer than your competitors? The trick is to get them excited about your exhibit before the show even starts.

Think about what will get the attendees excited about your display. Is it a quirky or even large-ticket giveaway? An educational demonstration? The unveiling of a new product? Something entertaining or maybe even celebrity appearance? Whatever it is, talk about it. Most shows will offer mailing lists for sale to their exhibitors. Send emails, blogs, mailers, newsletters, you name it. And of course, use social media. Let people know which booth you will be in and what they can expect. Let people know far and wide that they do not want to miss out on this opportunity to win something big, find out about the latest gadget, and meet a famous person all at the same time!

During the show, marketing continues in between greeting and meeting all of these attendees. But, there are tricks you can do to connect with customers that couldn’t make the show, or gather more attention from others that didn’t see your previous efforts. Stay connected and post on social media your interactions with people, guest speakers, meetings with clients, and anything that will gather attention. Use live streaming to make users feel like they are there with you, and create excitement even if they couldn’t attend. Whatever you do, make it fun and stand by your branding guidelines.

Now the show is over. That was exhausting, right? I’m sure you are glad it is over and now you can get back to business. Sorry, not so fast…there is more marketing opportunity to be had. Post-show marketing can produce some of the most valuable feedback available. Of course, you will follow up with your leads, but sending out a thank you email to everyone that came by will show you appreciate their time. Create some press releases that detail your experiences and post them to social media as well, and post any remaining photos.

Conferences are important to the growth of your company. The more you make of them, the faster you will be a return on your investment.