Covid-19 restrictions put a hold on trade shows for a couple of years but many industries are putting them back on the calendar.
Trade shows can be a great place to showcase what you do, reach new audiences and get some valuable face to face time with your customers. They can also provide opportunities to network with others in the industry.
But they can involve a lot of work, time away from the business and expense, so you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of them.
Will it deliver value?
Before you commit, think about what you want to achieve. The event should deliver value on two levels:
- Value for your audience – Ideally this is the beginning of new or stronger relationships. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what they will want to know. Make sure you demonstrate the compelling benefit you offer or problem you solve.
- Value for you – Will the event bring you new customers, help increase your sales, build brand awareness, successfully launch a new product etc?
What to do before, during and after the event
Before the event:
- Promote – Let people know you’ll be there via your social media pages, website or emails. Consider giving away some tickets.
- Use the hashtag – Most events will publish a hashtag to group the discussions. Use this in all your posts and tweets to reach a wider audience.
- Grow your audience – Some events have ‘thought leading’ speakers who already have a big following on their social pages. Connect with them online by sharing and engaging as your page.
- Get your marketing material ready – Expo stands, brochures, giveways etc. Aim for clear and compelling messaging that tells attendees why they should talk to you.
- How will you attract attendees? – Such as a free sample or trial, an environmental giveaway, a guide, or an entry into a competition.
- Prepare your sales spiel – Spend time with the team to practise your sales messages and run through a demo. If there is an app to scan attendees, make sure you have this ready to go before you arrive.
At the event:
- Get on your social channels – Events are great sources for posts and tweets. Share photos and video. Invite people to your booth to find out more, or collect your giveaway. Remember to include your booth number.
- Scan your attendees’ details – Without their details, you can’t follow up!
After the event:
- Follow up – get in touch with a friendly email with your new contacts as quickly as possible while you are top-of-mind.
- Use the event in your marketing – Connect with new contacts, write a blog about the themes or trends, post on your social channels, or create a newsletter.
- Analyse your results – Don’t forget to measure the return on investment so you know what to change or do more of next time.