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The 8 Trade Show Marketing Tips You Need to Know

Last updated: 01-23-2020

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The 8 Trade Show Marketing Tips You Need to Know

Spring conference season is winding down and that means you get to recharge for a bit over summer while you get ready for the fall conference season in September. In this article, we’ve summarized the eight vital trade show marketing tips you need to know to rock your MSP event marketing. Use these lessons to make sure you are well positioned to close off 2017 with a bang!

8 Trade Show Marketing Tips That Will Get Your Company Noticed

1. Be Concise with Your Booth Messaging

For example, marketing messaging like “Cloud Services You Can Count On” doesn’t tell event attendees a whole lot about what makes you unique, who your services are targeted towards and most importantly, the type of cloud services you offer. 

Here is an example of an event banner for one of our clients, MBS Secure. The banner uses specific language like ‘multi-location experts’ and conveys key messages that resonate with its target buyers, giving event attendees who walk by the booth a good indication of what MBS Secure specializes in and what benefits the company offers. 

Don’t hand everyone at the show a massive folder of information (you can have some on hand for qualified leads) and keep your marketing materials short. We like postcard size but recommend any size smaller than 8” x 5”.

It’s more important to have a good conversation with fewer leads and start building relationships than it is to hand out information to everyone at the show. The materials should be a takeaway to remember to get in touch with you after the whirlwind of the event dies down. If your booth is descriptive enough and people are curious they can still pick up a postcard and potentially contact you.

Giveaways might seem like an obvious inclusion on a list of trade show marketing tips, but the items needed to be chosen with care.

Socks, stickers, phone chargers, beer koozies, keychains, pens, chapstick, the list of underwhelming promotional items goes on — and most of these swag items end up in the garbage. Consumables can still be popular and may get people standing around your booth a little longer, but you’re going to have to try a little harder than putting out a bowl of mints.

If you are going to invest in a giveaway, take the time to think about what makes your brand unique and how your promotional item can help bring your brand to life and make you memorable to event attendees.

One of our favorite attention-grabbing ideas is renting a coffee bar and a barista that is inside your booth so you can serve custom lattes, flat whites. This will give you the opportunity to engage in conversation with event attendees while they wait for their drink. After all, who doesn’t love coffee?

Another really neat idea is hiring a caricature artist. Because who doesn’t want their likeness drawn by a professional, right? Similar to the coffee bar, as people line up to get their caricature, you have the perfect opportunity to speak with them. Ask them about their business. You’ll have their full attention as they’re not going to lose their spot in line just to avoid talking to you. 

4. Make a Point with Demos or Games to Show your Strengths

I once designed a trade show booth for a company selling wireless strain sensors for heavy machinery, so we attached one of the sensors to the back of an aluminum paddle and had people test their strength by trying to bend the paddle, which caused the sensor to pick up the amount of strain being put on the metal and transmitted the data to the proprietary software.

The software was being shown on a monitor and recording the scores on a leaderboard. The whole thing cost a couple thousand in supplies, programming, and a TV to give away to the winner and it brought in hundreds of leads. If you have a creative way to show data, tech specs, etc., do it. It’s way more engaging than gimmicky giveaways and long-winded marketing materials.

If you have access to a list of attendees before the show, add them to your CRM system and make that CRM system accessible at the show via tablet or smartphone so that you can make notes about who you talked to and what you talked about. If it’s really busy and you don’t have time to take notes, make sure you’re taking business cards or scanning badges.

Who you put on your front lines at the event is critical. Don’t staff your booth with anyone who doesn’t know your product or service thoroughly and isn’t confident answering any questions that may get thrown their way. Not only do people hate it when you can’t answer their questions, they’ll judge your business on the quality of your event representatives.

7. Send Emails Before, During and After the Show

Number seven in the list of trade show marketing tips is to engage with event attendees via email.

Text-based emails work best. Image dense, highly formatted HTML emails will likely not get read or will look ugly because people are unlikely to click the “show images” button on dozens of emails from trade show vendors. This is especially important for the email sent during the show that will most likely be viewed on a smartphone.

Below is an example of an effective pre-event email that our client, Data Resolution sent out to a list of its customers about an upcoming conference. The email introduces the event, inviting recipients to attend, and shares the company’s booth number to encourage readers to come by and say hi.

After the event, Data Resolution sent out a post-event email to keep the momentum from the conference going. Data Resolution used the opportunity to reiterate its value proposition and encouraged recipients to get in touch with them directly to learn more.

8. Have a Follow-up Plan in Place Before You Get to the Show

Know what you’re outreach looks like after the show. Personal contact to leads you spoke with and automated outreach for leads that were at the show and may have seen you, but you didn’t have a conversation with. Now is when you deliver the detailed information, in digital form.

The Most Successful Trade Show Marketing Strategies Start With a Plan

Whether you use one or eight of these trade show marketing tips, whatever you do, don’t show up to the party unprepared. Successful trade show marketing strategies carefully think through pre-, during and post-event attendee experiences to ensure that every touchpoint is utilized and there is a seamless brand experience for event attendees. This will help you to stand out and be remembered.

Let us help you devise a trade show strategy plan that will maximize your event ROI. At Total Product Marketing, we specialize in marketing for technology and cloud companies that help you generate demand and connect with your buyers. Contact us today for help making your next event a success.


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