- Posted by Semaphore
- On 23/08/2017
BY STAFF WRITER:
Trade shows are a great way to establish brand visibility and credibility. It can also help you generate awareness of a new product, do competitive research, expand your professional network, and meet a large number of prospects face-to-face in a short period of time.
But it can get pretty expensive to book the space, develop the stand, travel to the event, and spend time on the exhibition floor. How can PR help marketing managers make the most of publicity for lead generation? Here are some quick ideas:
1. Get onto the media’s radar
Journalists often attend major trade shows to get an industry update, spot the latest trends and see exciting new products. Identify the journalists you want to speak to at least a month in advance and reach out to them.
- Pitch media a great thought leadership topic and offer to meet up.
- Invite key media to a private dinner with senior management to build relationships and share the business story in a relaxed, informal setting.
- Leave some press kits in the press room and keep more handy on USB drives.
- Issue a press release on a new product, as long as the magnitude of activity at the event won’t drown out your big news.
- Also, find out if there’s a “new-products pavilion” where you can pay-to-display.
2. It takes a village
Talk to everyone everywhere, especially at sessions your prospects would attend. Befriend the organisers and your booth neighbours. Tell them what you’re looking for be it, customers, investors or publicity. If they know, they may drive those people to your booth. And invite key contacts well in advance of the event.
- Do a direct mailer to key prospects, partners and advisors you’d like to meet, and encourage them to stop by your booth. An invite with a gift/ promotional product draws more people than those with redeemable coupons or no gift at all.
- Ask key influencers if you can interview them for an in-house publication, which will make then take note of you. Keep the topic loose as you’ll want them to speak on their expertise. Then share the Q&A in your publication and on social media.
3. Create unique content on-site
Take full advantage of social media to share what is happening at the event and extend your brand’s reach beyond the trade show’s doors.
- Before the event, offer delegates a sneak peek of what you will be showcasing.
- At the event, actively post on what is happening, using the trade show’s hashtag. Also, think of a memorable #hashtag to create a buzz around your booth and encourage feedback from visitors. Include it on display material so everyone sees it.
- Aggregate interesting content from others at the event.
- Share behind-the-scenes images and video of what is happening at your booth.
- Tweet to guests that have stopped by your booth with a simple thanks or nice to meet you to keep the conversation going after they walk away.
- Highlight those that won a game or raffle at your booth to strengthen connections and get other attendees excited about stopping by.
- Afterwards, use social media for event-recaps with lots of visuals.
4. Take the pulse of the people
It’s critical to reach as many prospects as possible. Ask people: What brings you here today, what are you looking for, what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen at the show? This will quickly tell you if they’re serious or just browsing. It will also give you great market research.
- Arm your team with iPads and have them ask visitors stopping by your booth questions about your business or an industry issue. For example, what do you think is the most significant way vendors are falling short in X industry? Encourage participation through a raffle with a big prize.
- Ask visitors similar questions on a video camera, and encourage them to look out for the share of the video on social media within 24-hours
- Keep a record of all the answers for your company’s market intelligence. After the show, analyse the results and release them on your social media channels as well as share the results with your industry’s journalists.
5. Make your stand a must-visit stop
Sometimes, speaker slots are only part of big sponsorships, competition is too fierce to secure a thought leadership slot, or your topic is too niche for inclusion. If you have a great-looking stand, demo video, and pay-off line, pull people to your booth instead.
- Do a brand activation that’s fun, engaging, and memorable. A competition around your core message/ brand values could add excitement and reinforce your value proposition.
- Take a large booth and host mini-events with special information sessions for 10+ guests at a time to create your own speaker platform. Instead of collecting business cards, rent a badge scanner. It makes this process a lot more efficient and streamlines the follow-up, as you don’t have to rely on memory.
Lastly, track your lead-generation and sales for the next few months to determine the event’s ROI. For tips on how to set simple, quantifiable, actionable goals and appropriate metrics, follow trade show marketing expert Peter Symonds at @DisplayWizard.