Sure, your booth looks great. Your tradeshow staff is tip-top, trained and raring to go. The next step in your overall tradeshow marketing plan is to get people to come to your booth WANTING to do business with you. You want them lined up when the doors open each day, raring to hoof it to YOUR booth for something special.
Don’t leave it to chance. A modest investment in time, energy and dollars will pay off. In your pre-show planning, determine your show objectives and shape your promotions accordingly.
Here are some ideas for promotions that should inspire you to put pre-show marketing on to your ‘must do’ list.
- “Missing glove” promotion: one of the older ways of getting people to come to your booth is to send them one glove,
and ask them to come to the booth to get a matching glove for the other hand. You could use a key and lock, travel coffee mugs/lids, etc. The incentive is to get your visitor to make a point of coming by your booth to get the missing item.
- Direct Mailer: Target your own house list, last year’s show attendees; who ever you think might benefit from being able to do business with you. Create a postcard or other mailer and send out a few weeks before the show.
- E-mail: Remind your newsletter list (you do have a newsletter, right?) about the show. Mention any incentives you have in place for show attendees.
- Online on your own website: put mentions of the show on the front page and other relevent pages on your company website.
- Newsletter: whether you have an e-mail or snail mail newsletter, be sure to mention to your recipients that you’re going to be at the show.
- Online on the show website. By becoming a show sponsor, you’ll get your company branded consistently on the show website. Make sure your banner ads mention the booth number and any promotion you’ll be doing at the show.
- Radio – if appropriate (for a consumer show, for instance), radio advertising can bring people to the show. ALWAYS have a call to action in your radio ads: ‘come to booth XX to register to win a blank,’ etc.
- TV – same with Radio.
- Social Media: Twitter: for your social media marketing, the goal is to bring people to your booth and create awareness about your company and products. Tweet out about specific prizes, offers, products, etc.
- Social Media: Facebook page. On your company Facebook page, set aside a special area to let people know about your show appearance and any special events, offers, products, etc. that might be of interest.
- Social Media: LinkedIn mentions. Post show updates in your status box, and get your sales people and other show attendees to do the same. YOu can also join a related group and pose a question about a specific problem or challenge in your industry. Include a link to your tradeshow landing page online, or minisite if you’re created one.
- Create small stickers with your booth #, date, city, etc. Put it on all correspondence that goes out to clients or prospects: invoices, letters, packages, etc.
- Send out map of show floor with your booth highlighted. Mention any freebies you’re giving away, or new products your launching.
- Limited time incentive: first 50 people at the booth get a free prize.
- Target CEO’s with a ‘dimensional’ mailed package. For instance, as a SendOutCards member, I can easily send cookies, brownies, gourmet foods, books, DVDs. This will get the attention of the target! Personalize the message with a special invitation to come by the booth and learn about your products or services.
- Fax-blast reminders to business that you already have a relationship with (fax marketing has various restrictions, so make sure you are following those rules).
- Have your sales people drop off invitations in person.
- Starting about 5 – 6 weeks before the show, have your sales team start making appointments at the trade show.
- Your PR department should be making arrangements with key media players and outlets to make sure they know of new products, new features on older products, etc. Anything that gives you a bit of a hook to get airtime or mentions in the media.
- Send a coupon for a free gift that your prospect can pick up at your booth.
- Create a ‘show appointment’ book, and book appointments with your key customers or prospects. As part of your confirmation, send a copy of the book page to your clients with the appointment hand-written in.
- Have all of your sales reps and anyone else that regularly communicates with clients and prospect via email to add a show mention (with booth and show location and date) to their e-mail signature file.
- Create a mini-site where all of your show-related documents would reside. Have a special password-protected area for your employees and ‘premium’ clients where they can find contact info for all your tradeshow staff, staff schedule, and other pertinent information. Mention the site in all your outgoing correspondence (remember the sticker? put the URL on it!)