A Complete Guide to Trade Show Marketing Strategies

trade show marketing

As the average business is set to spend around $75,000 this year on digital marketing, there are lots of other marketing strategies to consider. When you’re headed out to a trade show, marketing means a lot of different types of strategies. Marketing at a trade show will require talking to people, giving presentations, and running your booth.

Here is everything to know about how to turn your next trade show into a marketing goldmine.

1. Make a Plan

Your team should start thinking about how you’re going to market yourselves at your next trade show as soon as you sign up. Since you know months in advance where you’re be exhibiting, you can start coming up with unique ideas to help you target the audience attending.

Rather than leave your marketing plan for the week before or, worse, the plane ride to the event, spend time thinking about how you want to reach out to people. You’ll have a pretty good idea who else will be at the event in advance. Look at your competitors to see what they’re doing so that you can find a way to stand out.

You should have a strategic process for every single tradeshow. You should start by getting people excited about your presence at the trade show. Give out promos to give people a reason to visit your section.

Make sure you’re offering something special. Well-made, attractive swag will get people lining up to get their own.

Plan out every element of your trade show presence so that they all work toward helping you meet your goals and company objectives. Have a metric for how you want to measure success and pivot to turn every interaction toward that metric.

2. Sign Up To Speak

While it’s great to have a booth at the next trade show you’re attending, you can cement your authority by signing up as a speaker. When you share your ideas on how to become successful in your industry, you give newcomers the opportunity to learn from your experience. You also let your competitors know that they had better keep up with you.

A platform to speak from gives you the ability to tell your story and why your business is unique. You also get to talk about some of the great features that your products and services provided.

Speaking to a self-selected audience means that you should target your speech.

Don’t just provide a sales pitch to talk about why people should buy your products. You could be convincing the top people in your field to apply for positions with your company. You could also be giving people ideas on how they could find ways to work with you.

Every trade show has its own method for finding speakers. See if there’s an online application or a specific person you should email if you want to speak. In absence of that, reach out via social media and see if they have openings.

There are always gaps in schedules that need to be filled. If you contact organizers early enough, you could get a prime spot of your choosing.

3. Make Design a Priority

No matter what kinds of products and services you provide, your booth, your promo materials, and your products all rely on design. People will react to what they see first and then decide whether or not to find out more.

Start by designing a booth that draws people in. Create a layout that’s inviting and will make it easy to engage.

You need to make a powerful visual impact, so consider backlit signs, screens, or large colorful posters. You only have a few seconds to attract people, so don’t hold back. People walking by should be able to figure out what you’re about and whether or not it applies to them immediately.

Make sure the staff that’s working your booth is also always on message. They need to have some kind of shirt or uniform signifying their relationship to your brand. They should also be using language that you find important to your business.

With crowds of people squeezing by for hour after hour, their eyes will glaze over without something to really stand out. Make your brand prominent with strong marketing materials. Make sure it’s consistent with how they’ve seen your brand in the past.

Above all, you need great swag. Your giveaways need to be clever, attractive, and useful.

Hats and shirts will just end up as rags or beach gear. Small tech items, problem-solving tools, and items like phone chargers will become staples of their daily life. When they see your brand over and over, you’ll be the first name that comes to mind when looking for products and services like yours.

4. Follow up Matters

When all is said and done, you want to be left with more than some dinged up signage and a few products sold. You need to be able to follow up with the people who you’ve spoken to.

Every time you talk to someone at your booth, ask for a business card. Otherwise, you can ask them if they want to sign up with your email list. Get contact information so that you can turn those interactions into leads.

The sooner you contact them, the better they’ll remember you.

However, don’t assume that everyone you spoke to is a lead. Some people are curious. Others might be competitors who are surveying the field.

Take some time to figure out which contacts were leads and how to nurture those leads for the future.

Trade Show Marketing Takes Finesse

In order to master the art of trade show marketing, you need to start by signing up for some. It will cost money to set up these exhibits and fly people around the country but it will be worthwhile just to be seen at these events. Ask colleagues or look at social media posts from competitors to find out which trade shows matter for you.

For more tips on how to make the most out of trade shows, contact us today