Trade shows used to be a staple of every sales person’s annual routine.
For years, it might be the only opportunity your staff would get to see people face to face. It was one time per year, that you were guaranteed to see decision makers in person without hunting them down and it was a great time to plant seeds with the people you needed to talk to the most to get your ideas in their heads. It was also the only opportunity those decision makers had to see competitors’ side by side, and it gave them a chance to not only weigh product options but decide which companies they would like to do business with.
Then, along came the internet.
Now, comparison shopping is easier than ever. Sure, there are some products that need to be touched or seen in person to truly evaluate, but in many cases, you can gather all the information you need to make decisions right on your computer. As for business relationships, you have many ways to communicate, from social media to Skype and other conference options, so the necessity of a face to face meeting is in many cases obsolete. Digital marketing finally replaced the trade show, and in due time, trade shows will fall to the wayside like so many dinosaur concepts before them.
A 2018 article published by Spingo tells a different story.
There is still value in attending and exhibiting at trade shows. The cost of a face to face meeting at a trade show is about $142 on average. The average cost of a face to face meeting at a client’s office? $259. And 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended. So, there is value in being in attendance.
There is a downside, however, as just 6% of marketers believe that their company has conversion success at trade shows. Only 34% of all trade show attendees said that they were satisfied with the trade show experience.
So how can you have more conversion success and make sure that you are catching those decision makers at the right time so that you can get their business? You must merge the old with the new, and digital marketing can make that happen!
Here are some tips to using digital marketing strategies to make the most out of your trade show visits:
1. Use email strategies to reach out to attendees so they know you are coming.
Be creative. Make a short video that shows your enthusiasm for the show. Make sure they know what booth you will be in and include a map, so they know where to find you. Give some teasers about your new products or services. Give them a compelling reason to pay you a visit.
2. Promote a giveaway.
What’s the easiest way to get someone to come see you at a trade show? Give them something cool. People love trinkets, so if you can come up with something creative to give away in your booth, you’ve got a good shot of getting people to come visit. But make sure you are getting something in exchange. Make sure that when they come you are scanning a badge or getting all their contact info so that you can follow up.
3. Use text messages throughout the event to keep attendees updated as to what you’ll be doing.
If you can send attendees an SMS message, they are more likely to check that on event day than an email. Remind them about your both, let them know when you are doing a drawing or contest, and keep the appraised of things like when you’ll be debuting your new line or product.
4. Follow Up.
Use those emails to send follow up messages once everyone has gone home. To increase engagement, run a follow-up contest that is unique for people that you met at the show, just so they know that your commitment with them is going to run past the time that you are physically in front of them at the show.
5. Think outside the box.
Brilliant advice, right? Sounds simple, but many people forget just how vast the idea of digital marketing is. Find out what you can get for sponsoring the event. Remember that every smart board, screen and digital surface from your hotel room, to your shuttle across town to those that appear in the event space are up for sale. Video marketing can be a great way to capitalize on that space. Where can you advertise digitally to increase your visibility at the show? Would it make more sense to do a random billboard in your hometown, or spend that money on a digital ad at a trade show geared towards decision makers in your industry? Remember that with things like geo-fencing and location targeting through Google Ads, you can control who is seeing your message, and target the right people rather than wasting money on ads that are too generic for success.
Company 119 has experience in helping companies make the most out of their trade show budget. Contact us today and let us help you plan your attack for your next industry event. Digital marketing with Company 119 will help your company reach customers in new and innovative ways, and help you be effective when you take your sales strategy out of the office.