Trade shows and conferences are a popular way for businesses to market their products, services and brand. They allow you to connect and interact with attendees by showcasing promotional items, new products or services and host giveaways with the goal of turning leads into customers. Nothing can compete with the opportunity to turn a lead into a customer by interacting face-to-face with your audience. More importantly, statistics show that 91 percent of attendees say trade shows have an influence on their buying decisions. Trade shows are an enormous investment and planning for one could take months. Once you’ve decided on a trade show to attend and have booked your booth space, you’ll want to get the word out as early as possible so that attendees can plan on visiting you.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can promote your business before the show. Here are four digital marketing tactics to help your business succeed:
Before the show, create a dedicated landing page with a unique URL that announces your attendance and includes detailed information about the event, such as its location, date and time and a link to the event’s official website. This page should allow leads, prospects and customers to download company and product information, and if you plan on presenting or hosting any special events or giveaways, include this on the page as well. Finally, consider adding a form that will allow attendees to reserve a specific time to meet with your team during the show. Share this page with your followers on social media to spread the word.
If you’re not already using social media to market your business, then you are seriously missing out. According to reports, more than three billion people in the world use social media—and many of them are using it to engage directly with brands. Social media marketing is a fast and effective way to reach current and potential customers.
If you already have active social media accounts, use these to let your followers know that you plan to be exhibiting at a trade show and when. Most conferences and events have their own official hashtag. Find out what the official hashtag is for the trade show you plan to attend and include it in every relevant post you share. If the trade show you are attending has its own social media accounts, follow those to stay-up-to-date and potentially gain some of your own followers as well. After the event, use social media to connect with attendees and thank them for visiting your booth.
Display ads—also known as banner ads—are a type of online paid advertising. They are usually a specially designed graphic with a logo or relevant copy and are used to advertise a business across the Internet on various websites. They differ from text ads, SEO, pay-per-click and other paid search advertisements in that they are not found in search results. In order for display ads to be the most effective, they should be strategically targeted to your audience. Two different ways this can be accomplished successfully include:
- Targeted Ads—To get the most out of your spending budget, you should focus on targeting the most relevant audience for your business. You can create your display ads with specific criteria to reach people who are interested in products or services similar to the ones you offer. You can also choose to show your ads to customers in a certain demographic, market or zip code. If you can and have the budget for it, try purchasing ad space on the trade show website.
- Remarketing—Also called “retargeting,” remarketing is a form of digital advertising that allows you to display your ads to anyone who has previously visited your website—the people who have purchased or are most likely to purchase from you—and create messages specifically for them. It’s such an effective tool because it focuses on people who already have an interest in your brand.
Much like a billboard sign, your display ads should be visually eye-catching and readable, with a clear message for your audience. Purchase space on a website where your banner ad will be the most visible. When designing your ad, make sure it matches your trade show display and includes your company’s logo.
Email marketing is an effective platform for connecting with your audience. It allows you to create a personalized message for your customers and prospects to let them know that you’ll be exhibiting and what they can expect. Before the day of the trade show, use email campaigns to send regular updates to your contacts with information about the event and where they can find you, and provide them with you and your team’s contact information. You can also use email to offer your contacts a chance to schedule an appointment with you during the show, and afterward, reach out to customers and leads to thank them for visiting your booth.
There are many different ways you can market your business—both online and offline. Nowadays, many businesses focus only on digital advertising tactics. The four strategies listed above are a great way to start spreading the word before your next big trade show event. However, by incorporating online marketing and traditional marketing tools—such as custom banners and displays for your booth—into your strategy, you’ll be able to make the most out of your marketing campaign. With your next big event right around the corner, be ready to start off strong by using some of the tactics listed above!