Hey, I’m heading to Outdoor Retailer in early August. Salt Lake City hosts this fun and engaging national show twice a year: one for winter market (think skiing!) and once for the summer market (boating, hiking, bicycling and more!). Thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees take over the Salt Palace Convention Center the first week or so of August.
…and I’ll be there doing some tradeshow booth performance tests. You know, a look at how companies are using their tradeshow booths to live up to the promise of gathering leads, attendee engagement and delivering a brand message.
The following is a guest article from Jennifer Callahan of Fathom:
It can come as a directive from the top, but most likely it’s Sales or Marketing trying to squeeze company budgets to allow a team to exhibit at a tradeshow. So if you’re part of a team trying to get dollars approved to set up a tradeshow booth but are facing increasing pressure to prove that it’s worth not only the money, but the time away from the office, you need to read on.
No matter which industry you’re in, you have likely seen budget restraints over the past five years. Proving a Return on Investment for Sales and Marketing is more important than ever. So how do you maximize ROI for your upcoming tradeshow?
First, it’s never too early to plan. Following are just a few items you should begin working on now:
– Press Release: A crucial part of your pre-show marketing. Tell people what booth number you’ll be at and what they can expect from your team. Will you have new product demos? Free assessments? Make it easy for reporters from trade mags to meet with you by stating when and if you’re available to meet with the media.
– Your Website: On your home page you will want a noticeable call to action (perhaps with a discount code for attendees?) to incentivize anyone attending the show to stop by to check you out.
– Multiple Blog Posts: This is a no-brainer if you have plenty of time between now and the show. But don’t just do promos about your company. Write about what attendees can expect from the show and the types of events that have happened in the past. And when you return, write a wrap-up blog post.
– Use Video! If someone from your company is speaking at the event, or if you will be interviewing any notable people from your industry, make sure someone videotapes it. Place the video on your YouTube channel, along with a link to it in your blog, Twitter feed, Facebook posts, etc.
– Meet with Current and Prospective Customers: Schedule time to meet with your current customers at the booth. It’s not a bad idea to have prospective customers meet with your Sales or Marketing team at the same time. Oftentimes your current happy customers can be great ambassadors of your brand.
– Toss the Paper: Resist the urge to haul reams of paper documents for passing out at the booth. Get interested prospects’ business cards to email them everything they’re interested in, post-show. Chances are your documents will end up in hotel room trash cans, anyway. This runs into the next tip:
– Email, Email, Email: Nurture prospects with email post-show. It can start with company documents that explain more about products and services. And from there on out, it’s up to you to continue with marketing automation to further nurture those valuable leads.
While tradeshows may be dwindling in attendance in your industry, there is a way to turn attendees into customers in this digital world. It takes major planning and teamwork between Sales and Marketing. Download the whitepaper 21 (+2 Bonus) Tips to Maximize Your ROI to plenty more tips to make the most of your company’s marketing dollars.