A well-planned, well-executed trade show taps into every aspect of marketing. Make sure yours does, too.
Diving into the world of trade shows can be daunting. Even if you're a trade show vet with a portable booth that packs down to two rolling cases, do your trade shows drive your success? Or do you attend because attending is what you do every year? We're here to help you get the most out of each and every trade show. Let us help you avoid some common mistakes with trade show marketing.
Your trade show booth is the first thing attendees are going to notice at the show. It's your first impression, and you don't need a big booth to make a big impression. First, think about the layout: is it welcoming? Does it give people an easy way to enter the booth? Pop-up banners are great, but not if they form a wall to keep people out.
Then there's design. This is not the time to give a detailed accounting of the full breadth of your organization's services on the back wall of your booth. Now's the time for direct, clear, simple messaging. The details can come later, after one of the many, many people who stop at your booth says "Tell me more about what you do." A thoughtfully designed booth will intrigue and welcome people. At a trade show, nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.
Brochures. Catalogs. Cut sheets. What are you going to hand to people after you chat them up, to help them remember the details of your organization? To help them remember your brand, and the charming experience they had with it? You might already have these materials, or you might be making some specific to the trade show. Either way, how are you going to get them into people's hands? A pile on a table that will last 3 minutes before it's shuffled like 52 pickup? A reserved pile that you hand out individually? That's very orderly but probably misses anyone who notices your (well-designed) booth and wants to grab a tri-fold on their way to lunch.
We'll help create a solid process that maintains the excellence and reputation of your brand, but also gets information to your potential customers.
Another great way to draw a crowd? Giving away things people want. What makes sense as a giveaway can vary a lot by the industry and demographics of your show, but we'll help you choose something people will want, and will want to hang on to.
Tradeshow Marketing and Advertising
Whew. That's a lot of stuff, but you're all set now, right? The booth is designed, your strategic pop-ups created and arranged, marketing collateral is ready to be dispersed, and some killer merch that will make a lasting impression. Time to hit the show floor (where you have definitely ordered the padding to go under the carpet) and let them flock to you, right?
You know where this is going.
Long before you start setting up your booth, you need to set up your audience. Promote your appearance at the trade show with a smart marketing campaign. Whether it's a purely digital through social media, your website, and digital ads, or a clever direct-mail campaign, perhaps taking advantage of variable data printing, or a mixture of both, you can let the world—and the trade show attendees and exhibitors—know that you're going to be there. A smart teaser campaign in advance can set your booth up to be the center of attention at the show.
You don't have to buy the inside covers of the trade show catalog or be a flagship sponsor, but some smart spending here can pay off. It might not have to be spending, either—maybe your organization can trade services for sponsorship billing, or ad space. Just make sure that your message is part of a cohesive whole that works with your brand, your booth, what's in the booth, and with the pre-show marketing you did.
You can also involve social media with your day-of marketing: live-streaming from your booth can get your trade show message to a wider audience, and offer some accessibility to people who can't be at the show. Some behind-the-scenes footage adds an element of exclusivity, as well.
When you've packed it all up and gone home, have a plan for reaching out. You want to be back in front of the same audience you targeted before the show, but now you need to add in everyone you met during the show, too. Your message at this point might be a little different depending on your audience and where they are in your sales funnel, but the overall theme should be consistent with everything you did leading up to and during the trade show.
The Good News
If you're still with us, you might be exhausted just from reading all of this. A one-day trade show certainly expanded quickly! But if you want to get the full impact you can from your trade shows, you have to leverage them at every point, getting in touch with your audience multiple times, in multiple formats, via multiple media.
The good news is that SOULO can help you with every step. We have all of the capabilities listed above, and more, in-house, where we can make sure your brand and message are delivered exactly how you want them to appear.
Make your next trade show a huge success. Contact us and we'll show you how Ideas. Create. Results.