Let’s start with a brief history lesson.
The world’s first recognized trade show is the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was held in England. The international event provided people from all around the world an opportunity to connect and engage with one another while they experienced a variety of innovative products that would change the future.
Since then, trade shows have been considered the best face-to-face marketing platform – and will continue to be so. For this reason, the way you market your trade show appearance can mean the success or failure of your event – and impact the reputation of your brand.
So here are a few tips that will help ensure you properly market your trade show appearance.
1. Plan Ahead
Planning seems like a no-brainer. But a lack of good planning is often why trade show appearances fail. When you start making costly decisions without really thinking about what you are doing AND why you are doing it, then all you’re really doing is just paying for a disaster.
When the success of your product and the reputation of your brand depends on your trade show event, why risk it with poor planning?
Plan early and plan right. First, you want to define your objective and your audience. You should also consider whether your trade show will be in-person, virtual, or a hybrid event. Your objectives, design elements and overall marketing strategy will depend on the type of event.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve from the trade show. Do you want to improve your relationship with existing partners, generate new leads, or do a mixture of things? Be specific. 100 new emails, five pre-scheduled meetings, three new deals, and so on. After the event is over, you’re going to measure the success of your trade show appearance based on these numbers.
Once you figure out what you want to achieve from the trade show and who will be attending, then you can begin thinking about how the design of your trade show appearance will stand out from the rest.
2. Create An Engaging Experience
Your trade show appearance should reflect the value of your product and your brand, but it should also be inviting, engaging and memorable. It’s not just a booth or a display. It’s an experience.
Keep it simple and stay organized. Incorporate high-impact visual elements without being overwhelming. There should be at least one large graphic (your company name and logo) that can be recognized from a distance through a crowd of wandering and curious trade show attendees. Any assets and other items should be organized and kept in a designated space. If your event is virtual or hybrid, make sure your appearance translates well on screen.
Provide knowledge and entertainment. A lounge, photo booth and workstation zones are great ways to welcome people into your booth. But it may not be relevant to your product and brand. And it may not be that memorable, either. Including the latest digital technologies in your trade show can prove beneficial because it provides an engaging experience where you can simultaneously educate. Augmented reality and virtual reality games offer an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression. Similarly, if you’re not taking advantage of 3D product renderings then you’re not doing the most for your product. 3D product renderings highlight the features and advantages of your product, especially when photographs and videos can’t quite do it justice. They are an essential part of any trade show appearance.
Once you have a detailed plan and a one-of-a-kind design, then you can start spreading the word.
3. Use Messenger Pigeons
No, not really.
However, it would be a fun marketing strategy that would be sure to catch a lot of attention. But it’s more comical than practical. The important thing is to let people know about your event. If no one knows about your trade show appearance, then guess what? No one will attend.
Create buzz. Use a marketing strategy that includes social media platforms, email campaigns and a landing page. Be creative.
Take an old-school approach. Don’t limit yourself to just using the internet to spread your message. Place posters around your office to inform employees and visitors. Have your sales team verbally invite clients. Do what it takes to get who you want to attend your trade show.
Much like a messenger pigeon, deliver your invitation directly to the people that matter, whether it’s a current client, a potential customer, a reporter, or anyone else.
5. Follow Through & Follow up
From beginning to end, a successful trade show appearance relies on a marketing strategy with good planning, creativity and exceptional execution. Start with a detailed plan, create an engaging design for your display and then tell the people that matter most about your trade show event. Follow up with your current and potential clients, measure the success of your event, learn from the things that worked (and the things that didn’t) and then start getting ready for your next trade show appearance!
If you’re gearing up for your next trade show event and need some help, get in touch with DeanHouston+!