You’ve spent time and money preparing for a trade show exhibit that is sure to create a lasting impression and blow people away. What can’t be overlooked, however, is ensuring that you’ve done everything in your power to direct as many eyeballs to your booth as possible once the big day arrives.
Your pre-show marketing budget may be limited, but stretching those dollars effectively can help create buzz, draw traffic, maximize leads, and earn you a positive return on investment. You want to make sure that your target market is well aware of your presence and what you have in store for them.
The majority of attendees already have an idea of the brands and booths they want to visit before even setting foot on the trade show floor, while many exhibitors fail to invest in any kind of pre-show marketing.
Pre-show planning is crucial and has a serious impact on the ROI of trade shows. The more you put in towards your goal-setting strategy ahead of time, the more you’ll be maximizing the entire experience for both you and your guests. Let’s explore how to do just that.
Craft a goal-oriented timeline
Update your website and build an event-specific landing page that will excite and educate. This is where you can drive all your promotions, provide video clips of previous events, and post regularly about what visitors can expect as you set the tone for the messaging of what you want your event to say about your brand. Begin promoting your participation through your site and social media as soon as you book the date.
Determine your goals for the event. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Launch a new product? Build relationships? Coming up with ways to achieve those goals, such as increasing booth traffic or maximizing attendance at a presentation, will set the course for you to plan the focus of your marketing campaign. Ensure that your goals are crystal clear to the entire time, and keep your execution and target audience laser-focused.
2 months before the show: Send out an initial save-the-date notice. Hone in on a theme and include the city and venue. Let people know who will be staffing the booth.
1 to 2 months before the show: Pique interest with a short teaser video of any new products you plan to roll out and invite attendees to your calendar of events. Allow them to sign up for a private demo or consultation. Provide a short clip that recaps the previous year’s event. If it’s your first time exhibiting at a particular show, recap another show with the same target audience. Let everyone know your booth number and where to find you.
2 to 3 weeks before the show: Remind people of any promotional deadlines and eligibility requirements. Reach out to contacts to make sure they include you when planning their schedules and allow them to book one-on-one time with you during the event.
2 to 3 days before the show: Send out one last email encouraging people to visit. Remind them of your booth number. Personally reach out to those who have booked appointments and let them know that you’re looking forward to meeting them at the event.
Day of the show: Let everyone know that it’s the big day! Update your social media platforms with images of your staff traveling to the show or setting up the booth. Follow the show hashtag and use it to connect with other attendees. Send out automated thank-you texts and emails whenever an attendee’s badge is scanned.
The more specific the goals, the better, as they represent the kind of success you want to achieve. They’ll help your team stay focused and will give you the opportunity to reflect on goals throughout the process.
Go direct through mail
Direct mail is far from a thing of the past. Sending out save-the-date postcards – especially those that come printed in unique shapes and designs – are a fun, low-cost way to ensure that your brand or product is ingrained in people’s minds well before the show even begins. Plant a memory in their heads through eye-catching imagery that uses the same color, theme, or artwork, unifying both your marketing efforts and the show itself to help attendees recognize and locate you during a busy event.
Entice with simplicity and brevity and don’t overwhelm them with text. Include:
- Name and date of the show
- Your booth number
- A catchy headline that captures your main sales message
- A few key features of your product/brand
- Contact information (phone, email, website URL, and social media handles)
- A free offer, raffle ticket or mystery discount that’s redeemable in person on the day of the event.
Giveaways can include themed t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and other prizes that will direct people to your booth.
You can also allocate your print budget on ads in trade publications or in literature to be distributed by the event host.
Explore the phygital
Blend the physical with the digital and find creative ways to attract attendees through merging old school with the new. Enhance your visitors’ offline trade show experience with online engagement that will result in organically growing your audience. Allow attendees to interact with your brand through social media, and invite feedback and questions from followers to create a conversation around your product and your role at the show.
Post teasers about prize giveaways and show raffles while adding live video clips and encouraging visitors to click through and learn more about what’s happening at the show. Market the entire venue as an exciting place to see and be seen.
Make sure that all of your marketing tactics are consistent with each other, your brand, and your presence at the event.
Interested in taking your next trade show booth to the next level? Patriot Exhibit Services can help you every step of the way from installation to dismantle with a wide range of audio and visual rentals to storage and transportation.
Contact us today!