A trade show is a great place for hardware and building products brands to show off their products and network with peers and prospective buyers. But if you think your trade show booth is where all of the action happens, you’d be wrong. Successful trade show marketing requires planning and hard work before, during, and after the show. Here are some action items to get the best results from your next trade show.
Engaging with Prospects Before a Trade Show
To engage prospective buyers before you even step foot in the convention center, you need to do the following:
1. Have a Plan
When it comes to having a successful trade show, the secret ingredient is PLANNING, PLANNING, PLANNING. One thing you need to create beforehand is a solid promotional plan that will make seeing you completely irresistible to prospective buyers and get them in the trade show doors.
2. Target Your Digital Advertising
Who is the ideal customer that you would like to see at your booth at the trade show? Through digital advertising, you can create a profile of that person’s demographics, buying habits, and more. Knowing who this person is you’re trying to reach can help you target them with digital ads, ensuring that the perfect person knows exactly where you can be found during the show.
3. Have a Great Booth
If you’re planning on a display booth at the show, don’t just haphazardly throw one together. A great booth can equal great contacts ready to do business with you. When creating your booth, make sure you:
- Have a theme that fits the event or the products or services you offer. Offer special trade show pricing, or develop unique messaging to briefly tell show attendees what your business is.
- Have your company’s name prominently displayed in a way that doesn’t mess with the aesthetics of your booth.
- Make yourself easy to find. After all, you’re the living, breathing expert in what you do. Make sure people don’t have to search for you.
- Make product or service information easy to find. Not every prospective contact would appreciate a conversation with you or your staffers. Make sure you have a way to get the information to people in a variety of ways.
4. Invite Contacts and Customers to Meet in Person
A simple email to your current customers and contacts can encourage them to meet you in person at the trade show. Most trade shows release a map of the venue before the show, so include the map when you contact them to ensure they know exactly where they can find you before they get overwhelmed by the crowd.
5. Make a Plan of Who You Would Like to Meet
In an ideal world, you would be able to meet with everyone on the floor to tell them how you could partner with them. However, trade show hours are limited, so you need to be strategic in who you commit to meeting in person. When reaching out, make sure to schedule an exact time to meet with anyone who expresses interest in speaking with you. This simple action helps them plan their day, ensures they’ll be at your booth, and shows them that you’re committed to meeting with them.
Engaging With Prospects at a Trade Show
Chances are there are be visitors to your booth who have no knowledge of your business and what you can do for them. Even if you didn’t invite them, don’t let them leave without knowing who you are and how you can solve a problem they have.
Think of every trade show attendee as a prospect, and engage them with these tips:
1. Have Some Good Swag
It’s universal: Everyone loves free stuff. Offer some practical and usable swag as a way to entice prospects to your booth. They will come for the goodies, and chances are they will stay for the pitch.
2. Have an Elevator Pitch Ready to Go
Be prepared with your elevator pitch, but also know how you can easily personalize it for the person standing before you. This shows the prospect that you have a clear purpose for being there, and your purpose aligns with their pain point.
3. Use Geo-Targeted Advertising
One of the many ways digital advertising can help you at a trade show is through geo-targeted advertising. By targeting the venue location and nearby landmarks in your advertising, your business can capture active devices nearby and make sure your advertisements are being displayed to them while they’re at the show.
4. Identify “Good Fit” Brands or Products
If you’re not presenting at the trade show but simply attending, take time to walk around the venue and find other brands and products that compliment your own.
5. Get All The Information
Make sure to finish every transaction with a prospect by knowing exactly how you can contact them for further discussion or to seal the deal. You can collect the business cards of prospects or go high-tech by capturing their information in a CRM app like HubSpot.
Re-engaging With Prospects After a Trade Show
Even though the anticipation and the energy of the trade show are over, your work isn’t done. You have one more chance to re-engage some of the prospects you were able to meet at the show. You can do this with these tips:
1. Target Your Digital Ads to Your Audience
Many trade shows offer their attendee list to presenters. Use this list for digital ad re-targeting to the people who actually attended the show. Also, use the list of contacts you collected during the trade show to display digital ads. This time, however, your ads offer the additional information you gave them at the show to help them make their buying decision.
2. Follow Up with an Email
Remember all of the contact information you collected at the trade show before saying goodbye? Time to put that to use and send a personal follow-up email to those prospects to remind them about their meeting and that you’d love to talk further about how you can help them.
Finally, if you’re attending a trade show but you don’t have a booth or display, remember to follow the rules. Everyone has a role at a trade show. Presenters are there to sell at their booths and attendees are there to buy and inquire. Make sure you’re not spending time as an attendee selling your own company instead.
If you’re looking for a creative marketing strategy for your next industry trade show, Heinzeroth Marketing Group can help. With our focus in the DIY consumer, hardware and building products space, our team understands how to reach your ideal audience with expert marketing and communication strategies. Contact us to discuss your next trade show campaign.