How To Use Online Marketing For a Trade Show or Event
August 15, 2016
By: Greg Johnson, Managing Director at Skyline Exhibits Utah
While there are still a few, very specific times where you will utilize direct mail, the vast majority of trade show marketing strategies have gone digital. In today’s business culture, having an online presence and knowing how to reach customers online isn’t optional; it’s a necessity. If you want to ensure a successful event, be sure your online marketing strategies are up to par by following these tips.
#1 – LIST YOUR SHOW ON YOUR WEBSITE HOMEPAGE
This means you’ll need a place for dynamic content somewhere on your homepage; ideal locations are on a banner, badge or sidebar and always above the fold (in the area visible when you open a page without having to scroll down). Prominently displaying your attendance at an upcoming show captures customers and prospects who may have missed your direct marketing message, and, may capture prospects that you weren’t even aware of.
#2 – ENSURE YOUR SITE SPEED IS ADEQUATE
This is important any time of year; not just before an event. Think about this: Google can return 500,000 search results in under half a second. Today’s internet users expect speed. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 40% of users abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
#3 – PROMOTE YOUR EVENT ON A LANDING PAGE OR YOUR BLOG
Consider a blog when you simply want to inform your customers about the basics of the event: when, where, how to find you, what to expect when they stop by. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider creating a dedicated landing page for the event or trade show with multimedia and maybe even an on-page form as part of a pre-show contest.
#4 – INVITE CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS
But use a different message! Set up two campaigns in your email marketing software and send different messages to current and prospective customers. In your message, be sure to include all the basics of the event plus a teaser about some sort of incentive or giveaway you have planned.
#5 – AS PART OF #3 OR #4, CONSIDER INCLUDING A PRE-QUALIFYING QUESTIONNAIRE WITH AN INCENTIVE TO ANSWER IT
This allows you to segment clients and prospects so that you are prepared with “what pitch” to use when you meet them at the show. This also saves you valuable time pre-qualifying visitors at the show.
#6 – HAVE PDF/DIGITAL VERSIONS OF YOUR MARKETING MATERIAL AVAILABLE
Back to preferences in our digital age, some show-goers get downright mad if you try to offer them (gasp!) printed material. While it’s true that plenty of people still prefer printed collateral, and the industry tends to influence this as well, having high-quality digital versions ensures everyone is happy. QR codes are an easy way to send prospects directly to your marketing material; you can even have multiple codes that go to specific documents to satisfy different types of inquiries. You can have large codes printed as part of your booth display, or print them on anything from a business card to a stress ball.
#7 – SEND A PERSONAL THANK YOU EMAIL POST-SHOW
This doesn’t require a lot of explanation other than the personal part. Take the time to recall your conversation with the customer or prospect and write a follow-up email that both thanks them and sets the stage for additional sales dialogue.
#8 – VIRTUAL POST-SHOW PRESENCE
During the show, you can Tweet or even Livestream from Facebook. Using social media is a valuable tool for alerting show attendees to what’s going on in your booth right then, and the media can be used to create a virtual post-show presence to post on your site or blog for people who missed the show. Additional media from your staff, such as them walking the show and interacting with visitors, can also be included in the round up.
A trade show marketing firm can give you more tips for online marketing, and can help you come up with specific strategies for pre- and post-show digital communication to customers and prospects.Using Promotions & Social Media to Get More Trade Show Visitors
While social media has changed how to do trade show promotions, it has not changed the strong need to use promotions to boost your booth traffic. With attendees only spending quality time at about 5% of exhibits, exhibitors still need to excel at promotions in order to get those valuable visitors to move out of the aisle and into their booth.
This book contains 28 articles, half geared to trade show promotions, and half about integrating social media with your trade show program. Use the ideas in this book to get more brand awareness, attendees, leads, and sales from trade shows.
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