Trade shows are an essential element of B2B marketing success. However, there’s more to a successful trade show than just showing up and walking around. In fact, most of a company’s success at a trade show begins well in advance of the show’s opening day. Here are 5 pre-show tips to help you get the most out of your trade show marketing efforts.
Identify a few key trade shows to prioritize
Trade shows require a fairly substantial investment to attend. Aside from the admission fees, a company must also account for travel, booth, asset, and even food and lodging expenses for employees. Therefore, most companies should choose one to three trade shows to prioritize for the year. Some helpful questions to ask yourself during this process are:
- Which trade shows tend to draw the most attendees?
- Which trade shows are most relevant to our company’s offerings?
- Which trade shows are my target audiences most likely to attend?
- What resources do we have available for our trade show efforts?
Prepare messaging in advance
Once you determine which trade shows to attend, determine what your company’s overall message for each trade show will be. Bring in people from different teams to help create the message, as this will make the message well-rounded and more appealing to a wider audience. After your team determines the overall message for the show, begin rehearsing the message delivery. Role play and ask each other questions that attendees are likely to ask to help your trade show team better demonstrate your company’s professionalism and expertise.
Leverage attendee lists for outreach
Many trade show websites publish and update attendee lists throughout the pre-show registration period. A couple months before the trade show, be sure to look at the attendee list to identify targets to meet and highlight a few key prospects to prioritize meeting with during the exhibition. Additionally, if appropriate, identify a few key media members and industry analysts to reach out to as well. Since these attendee lists will often include the targets’ name and contact information, your company can use the information to build trade show email outreach lists.
Make sure to check the attendee list every couple of weeks leading up to the trade show for any changes in prospect attendance or new attendees who may be worth reaching out to.
Use the pre-show period to reach out to prospects
Leverage email outreach to pre-schedule trade show prospect meetings. Email outreach is an effective trade show marketing tactic because it generates multiple touchpoints with prospects to prompt them to schedule meetings with the company. Build an organized email workflow that illustrates the “path” of the outreach will provide a blueprint to guide your team’s outreach efforts. This will also communicate the schedule and message of each outreach email, and prompt prospects to schedule meetings with systematic, organized email communications.
To supplement email outreach efforts, publish press releases and social media posts about your company’s upcoming trade show attendance to keep followers up to date and reach additional prospects who may want to meet during the trade show.
Create a customized landing page for trade show prospects
A customized landing page for trade show attendees will help your company’s messaging be much more impactful. Having a landing page with messaging adapted to the trade show’s theme will appeal to the trade show attendees and provide more appealing education, as well as better information retention, for the prospects your company meets at the show. In addition, providing an exclusive offer just for the trade show’s attendees (e.g. free consultation, 14-day no-risk trial) will help your company’s message and offerings remain top of mind and encourage trade show leads to contact your company to learn more about your unique offerings.
Knowing how to prepare and properly execute trade show marketing tactics can help you maximize your returns on trade show investments. For more, check out Alethea Saccoccia’s blog post on best practices to achieve trade show success.