7 Spot On Trade Show Marketing Myths

Myths are everywhere.

From mythical creatures like unicorns or mermaids, lightning never strikes in the same place twice, dogs’ mouths are cleaner than our mouths – but that’s not they type of myths were talking about. Today we’re debunking a few of the most common trade show marketing myths, with a few compelling stats to back them up. Brace yourself, because it’s about to get real. 

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Questions To Ask When It’s Your Trade Show Off Season

Here’s the typical scenario: trade show season begins and you invest in two or three trade shows or marketing events because you expect to see a return on your investment. You prepare, attend, gather leads – then you’re back at the office with that “high on life” attitude ready to follow up on those precious leads and convert them into new business.

But workflow and life gets in the way.  And instead you come home, check emails, look at the work piling up on your desk and play catch-up. Unfortunately this often ends in business-as-usual mode and an unwelcome back to reality wondering where all your motivation went.

We hear about this all the time.

But how do you change this vicious cycle that could be hurting your trade show investment? Well, quite simply you have to make the time. Here’s a few tips on how to maintain the positive momentum and take advantage of your hard work after the shows wrap for the season.

Ask yourself “why, how and who”

Why am I participating in trade shows? Great question, right – but do you have an answer? Deciding to participate in a particular trade show is the easy part; it’s figuring out why you chose that show thats most important. You could be looking for a way to build brand awareness, or increase distribution of your new products. It could also be that you would like to focus on client relations as a way to nurture the face-to-face relationship. Nail down your WHY and determine a clear initiative that aligns with your business strategy to move it forward.

How am I going to measure attendance? Counting leads is the first step to measuring your success at the end of a show, but try and find a way to measure attendance before the show as well. Consider this – it’s like placing an ad on Facebook, choosing how many people to target then going back to see how many people you actually reached. You need to understand your return on investment to insure you marketing efforts are working for you. Just ask and you shall receive! Ask the show organizer to give you numbers based on last years attendance to help you decide whether a particular show is even worth attending.

Who am I targeting at the show? You might be exhibiting at a high traffic, well marketed trade show, but have you figured out how to actually get them to visit your booth? Some of you might get stuck on the number of people that visited your tradeshow booth instead of measuring their legit interest in your products or services. Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Don’t settle for 300 basic leads when you could have 50 well-qualified leads. By singling out the type of clients you want, you can plan your presentation more effectively reel them in – hook, line and sinker!

 

Bottom line: The show does not end when you get home. It’s so important to take the time to reflect on your current trade show season and put your newfound knowledge to work for your company. And the best time to do this is NOW – before you’re routine tasks suck you in again and before you realize you have to be in full-on trade show season mode…again.

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8 Tech Savvy Ways to Spend Your Remaining Trade Show Budget

So you’ve made all the necessary purchases for a successful trade show season, but you’ve come in under budget (and your boss is high fiving you). This is great, however if the money isn’t spent it may not generate great returns on your investment. We have some seriously savvy ideas to help spend your remaining budget wisely to benefit your current and future trade show efforts.

We understand, having money left to spend can feel too good to be true. Maybe you just saved a huge chunk by reusing last seasons’ trade show display, or you saved on other big ticket items and just have some extra cash to spend. It doesn’t matter how you got it, here are some smart ways to spend your remaining trade show budget dollars wisely.

#1 – Up your game with audience engagement.
Audience engagement apps add another level of interactivity to your trade show. And before you look away, we don’t mean adding just any app – there’s some great tools out there you should be utilizing. The app industry offers easy to use web-based live sharing and Q&A solutions to engage attendees before, during or after the show. They might also allow followers to watch live presentations, ask questions, answer polls, make digital notes, live tweet & much more. By capturing what’s really going on in your attendees’ minds, you can use the data to help you target the right audience for future trade shows. If you’re not sure it’s the best fit for your company just start small and adjust from there. Review your engagement the first time you use the app to make sure it will work for your needs.

#2  – Social walls = real time engagement.
Imagine how neat it would be collecting social media posts from your attendees in real time and displaying them right on a monitor mounted to your trade show display for everyone to see. Try selecting a specific hashtag pertaining to your show and have attendees post using that hashtag. Or simply ask attendees to “tag” you in a photo. You could make a game of it and use this as a contest to win your giveaway. Let’s be real here — who doesn’t love seeing their post show up on a big screen!

#3 – Create a trade show landing page.
Having a dedicated landing page added to your existing website to showcase your trade show schedule, locations, agendas and speakers — this would be helpful to attendees, right? The main purpose is to send potential attendees to your website to help you spark interest and encourage social media sharing.  Of course there are OK landing pages and there are amazing landing pages. Make sure your message is clear and to the point. Also graphics are huge so hiring a graphic designer might not be a bad idea since you’ll want to make sure all of your dedicated trade show landing pages are fully on brand.

#4 – Let’s…chatbot?!
For those unfamiliar with the term, a chatbot is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via audio or text. Adding a chat feature to your website to answer pre-tradeshow questions may take some of the burden off your support team.  And don’t worry, your pre-populated answers don’t have to sound robotic either. You can make it sound just as natural as having a live human on the other end. But you want to know the best part? Chatbots work for you 24/7 and are pretty darn cost effective.

#5 – Retargeting is your friend.
Quite possibly one of the best tools for converting your landing page visitors into attendees. We know you’ve seen it – you go to a website and a “pop-up” appears for you to sign up. This has been around for a while but just now becoming more popular in order to run specific campaigns to increase conversions. Now you might be wondering how this actually works…well, think of your trade show landing page as a “shopping cart”. Typically you’re asked to register when shopping at most online stores so you can save your information for next time. Well, there’s a slight problem with this. Most people won’t register on the first visit, but it’s crucial to your conversion numbers. Just make sure your registration page is clear on your intent and it will be a easier decision to sign up. Lastly, maybe spend a little money to set up a specific retargeting campaign engaging with people that visited but didn’t sign up. Sometimes a little nudge is all it takes.

#6 – Create Pre-Show Teaser Videos.
Video is considered the most effective way to promote anything these days, even your trade show to boost attendance. Utilizing video before and after your trade show could help not only generate awareness to your brand but also boost attendance to your trade show.  However, professional video production can become quite costly and the cheaper options may not look as professional as you would like. So how do you meet in the middle? Try merging existing footage with still photos to create a short video to display social media or your trade show landing page. Try testing out different online tools to combine elements into bite-size video snippets in no time at all.

#7 – Consider adding a Mobile Charging Station.
We’re sure you’ve witnessed this before – someone wandering around cell phone and charging cord in hand in a desperate search of an outlet. How would you like to be the one to swoop in and save the day! Trade show attendees rely on their cell phones, tablets and other devices to check emails, answer voicemail, post to social media or chat with coworkers. Adding a mobile charging station to your existing trade show booth will certainly be something attendees will not stop talking about! Genius, right?!

#8 – Boost your WiFi.
Rather than shelling out a crazy amount of money to the venue, and sacrificing your first born just to get decent bandwidth, consider adding a portable internet hotspot to your trade show booth. It’s so crazy how these small modules can make all our internet fears disappear and for a decent price. You’ll finally put an end to that “sorry I’m at a trade show and the Wifi is so slow I can’t even load Facebook” feeling.

So maybe you still have a little money leftover?

This could also be spent on promoting your brand or products on social media. A little bit of money spent on SEO targeted content across platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram  or Facebook could also work wonders.