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Everything You Need to Know About Marketing for a Trade Show

Introduction

Even after two years of disruptions, postponements, and cancellations due to the pandemic, B2C and B2B marketers still consider in-person events to be one of their most successful marketing methods, and for good reason. Every year, trade shows pull together businesses from the same industry and attract hundreds, if not thousands, of participants at each event.

A successful trade show is a hotspot for both networking and innovation, presenting a powerful opportunity for exhibitors to improve brand recognition and generate valuable leads. However, a solid marketing plan and a comprehensive timeline spanning the initial planning stages to the post-event follow-up are essential for these things to happen.

While many elements of trade show marketing have remained mostly unchanged for many years, the post-pandemic world presents some new problems, as well as new opportunities. It looks like virtual event formats are here to stay, and as such, it is critical that your marketing strategy caters for this.

What is trade show marketing?
The process of displaying and advertising your products and services at an industry-specific event, often referred to as a trade show, is known as trade show marketing.

Trade shows are intended to help businesses develop brand awareness, therefore attending one as an exhibitor will provide you with a lot of publicity and a whole new audience. You’ll also get the chance to network with other professionals in your industry as well as potential clients, learn about what your competitors are up to, and gain insight into bigger trends, goods, and services affecting your business.

Assume you operate a manufacturing company and wish to exhibit at your industry’s annual trade show. To make the most of trade show marketing, set up a stand at the event that promotes your company’s successes, innovations, and new products. You can man the stand yourself with the help of a few of your employees, attracting trade show attendees who are intrigued as to what you’re providing.

This increased visibility is really what makes trade show marketing and marketing so important. You have a great opportunity to engage with people who are really interested in your business operations, products, and services. It’s also a great place to network and communicate with individuals in your industry.

Why should you go to trade shows?

As a business owner, you may be wondering as to whether presenting your services and products at a trade show is a worthwhile investment. On the surface, it may appear to be an expensive distraction that will take you away from your work for a few days.

A successful trade show visit may achieve much more for your brand and your business than you think.

There are many benefits you can enjoy from a trade show:

Be seen by your audience

Being visible is a key aspect of brand awareness. People will remember you if they hear your name, see your face, and learn about your business. You want to position yourself as being a viable solution to a particular problem.

If a consumer has an issue in the future, you and your brand ought to be the first that comes to mind for resolving that issue.

You will be strengthening your role as a go-to business by people seeing you at a trade show. Face-to-face engagement can be extremely beneficial to your business and it makes you memorable.

Hear what your customers are saying

While the bulk of trade show visitors is professionals in your field, buyers interested in your services and products are also likely to attend. 

Conversations with potential consumers will provide you with feedback on your product or service as well as insight into what visitors are thinking. You can discover what pleases them, and what improvements they want to see.

See what your competition is up to 

Trade shows are somewhat like a covert spy assignment, providing you with unparalleled access to your competition. 

You can discover more about the products or services on offer by walking around the trade show floor and visiting each stand. This can help you decide whether you’re on par with your competitors or if you need to step up your game.

Aside from scouting the competition, you may find a possible business partner in a competitor, particularly if your business strategy complements theirs.

Connect with the right people 

At a trade show, you’ll encounter vendors and competitors, as well as current and potential customers. All of these ties have the potential to make a significant difference to your business.

You won’t have to spend company time looking for the right people. The relevant people are all assembled at the trade show, eager to mingle, keen to exchange their ideas, and to showcase their expertise. 

People’s defences will be down, allowing you a greater chance of being heard and interacting.

Generate leads

Keep in mind that everyone on the trade fair floor is a potential lead. You’ll have a lot of success if you know how to generate leads during a trade fair correctly. 

People want to interact with one another, locate the best firms for their requirements, and expand their businesses. People will gravitate towards you if you align with their strategy.

Marketing tips to guarantee your success at a trade show

The best way to prepare for a trade show is to have a solid marketing strategy. This approach is more straightforward than you may think.

Seasoned exhibitors are well aware that trade show marketing begins way before the doors open for the first day. They begin by identifying and asking potential clients to visit them on the trade show floor, where they can engage with them directly in person.

Outline your goals

You must have some attainable and achievable goals in place before you go to a trade show. These goals need to be realistic, measurable, and specific to the trade show.

Many people typically attend a trade show to:

  • Boost company sales
  • Meet other vendors
  • Collate emails for your direct mailing list
  • Give out business cards
  • Generate hot leads

Your first trade show may need you to do a bit of guesswork, but you need to be realistic when you are putting your strategy and overall goals together, so you aren’t disappointed.

Instead of aiming for 500 new leads, perhaps start with 100. With practice, you’ll become more adept at focusing on achievable goals.

Make sure you’re prepared

Attending a trade show before you’re ready may cause more harm than good. This is true on so many levels; your company may not be ready yet, or you don’t have the necessary supplies or products for the trade show. Don’t forget the necessities if you’re setting up a stand or a table.

  • Branded displays to show your company message
  • Business cards
  • Free goodies
  • Demo products
  • Brochures and leaflets
  • Ways that people can connect with you

Don’t worry if you’re already stressed as there is help available for you out there. Companies like Showplace can help you bring your exhibition ideas to life with a bespoke exhibition stand to perfectly showcase your company.

Your first trade show is your opportunity to learn, and even if it doesn’t all quite go to plan, there are plenty of opportunities to learn valuable lessons that will make you better equipped for the next one.

Here are some of the best trade show marketing methods for first-time exhibitors:

Before the show: 

  • Send the trade show organisers invitations featuring your unique content. Profitable exhibitors recognise the value of customisation in their messaging.
  • Advertise your attendance at the trade show via trade journals, emails, direct mailers and phone calls, as well as your website and existing marketing channels.
  • To generate interest, use social media. You can use LinkedIn and Twitter to disseminate show details, Facebook to send updates to groups of friends, and other social networking platforms to generate a buzz.

During the show: 

  • Use venue announcements to keep prospective customers up to date on what’s going on in your booth. You must convince them that coming to your stand is worthwhile.
  • Use tech. Exhibition stands that have the wow factor will definitely get people talking, which will make them remember you once it is all over.
  • Give your customers a reason to remember you. Whether that’s an order book, notepad, ballpoint pen, or some other kind of promotional material, you should always have items with your company contact details on to take with them.

After the show

  • Following up. This is one of the most significant trade show marketing methods, yet it is frequently overlooked. Once you’ve gathered your show leads and selected your “hot” prospects, make personal calls to them within three days to create relationships and solidify the sale.
  • Other leads should also be contacted within three days. A simple “thank you” message can go a long way. This can be done through emails and social media platforms in order to stay in touch with individuals.
  • You can even send a “sorry, we missed you” message to people who were unable to attend the presentation. This is a time to look into different ways to promote your product, such as one-on-one presentations.

Participating in trade exhibitions allows businesses to broaden their reach and enhance their exposure to a larger market. They display, present, educate, network, and collect names in order to establish a highly targeted consumer database and market their products in the future.

After all, trade fairs provide the biggest market opportunities for exhibitors and they will continue to benefit from them even after the show has ended. 

Summary

When the trade show comes to an end, you will have collected a plethora of data from potential leads, so it’s important to properly follow up with them. Send a friendly email or contact them directly within a few days to help your visitors remember you and your business, as well as the reason they approached you.

Trade shows are an excellent way to meet the right people, generate new leads, and grow your business. Understanding how to promote your business effectively is just as important as your preparation for the show in the weeks and days before it.

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