As a manufacturer, trade shows are just a part of the business. The annual show probably creeps up on you each year and you wonder what your competition will bring to the table. You and your team scramble to get your booth ready and head to a show that you aren't [always] convinced produces ROI for your company.
If this sounds too familiar, you aren't alone. The secret to any successful trade show event is preparation and planning. But have you tried prepping by utilizing trade show marketing? Try out these five content marketing tips and get the most out of each trade show this year!
1. CONNECT SOCIALLY
The first step is to reach out to the organization hosting the trade show and request a list of attendees. It's possible this information is only distributed to sponsors, which if you're able to sponsor, could also be a great option for your company. But if that isn't an option, and you don't have access to a list of attendees, try a few of these tactics:
Use the trade show's hashtag to find and connect with previous and upcoming attendees
Research industry thought leaders who typically attend or share info/resources with their audiences about upcoming opportunities (like trade shows, conferences, webinars, etc.) AND connect with them
Build rapport with each connection, express your excitement about the trade show, and invite them to meet you in person at the show
2. GENERATE BUZZ
Trade shows are known for having hundreds of companies present; so make sure you do something that makes it know that YOU are there. Generate some kind of buzz, whether it be large or small, that shares your passion for the trade show, industry, etc. Some ideas could include:
Create and distribute a press release to local media outlets announcing a new product/item you are bringing to the trade show
Update social media pages to include trade show info (profile pictures, cover photos, bio links, etc.)
Share your excitement about the trade show... we highly recommend video (check out this live video example), blogs, infographics, or creating other types of content!
3. CREATE A PLAN OF ATTACK
What is your plan BEFORE you're at the trade show? How will you market your people, services, and brand in a way that generates leads? Back in the day, Benjamin Franklin said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." We couldn't agree more. So, how will you prepare for the next manufacturing trade show?
Try out these ideas:
Use email marketing to invite your cold and warm leads
Organize and promote a social media scavenger hunt that will begin at the show
While some booths will have prize wheels, free candy, and business card drawings - there is SO much more you can do to attract, convert, and close leads right at your booth. We recommend using step 3 in order to use step 4 the best you can. If you prep correctly, you could spend your time at the booth meeting with warm leads vs. cold leads.
5. FOLLOW-UP WITH LEADS
Do you know how you plan to follow-up with trade show attendees? What have you done in the past and how has it performed? Some ideas could include:
The goal is to keep you and your company at the attendee's top of mind awareness. How can you be memorable not only at the trade show but afterward as well? The key is to first make them remember you...and second to find a way [like using content marketing] to nurture those them through the sales funnel.
Moral of the story: If you're already going to be at the trade show each year, you might as well take advantage of it! There's so much that trade show marketing can do for manufacturers in order to make them stand out and capture the leads that walk by their booth on show day. Everything begins [and ends] with marketing, even for industrial manufacturers.
I have a passion for communicating, coffee, and creating meaningful relationships. Each and everyday I make it my mission to chase one of my many curiosities and tackle it head on (usually with a dirty chai latte in hand).