Trade Show Marketing: What to Do Before, During, and After

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In the past year, almost 40% of companies increased their trade show budget. That’s resources devoted to trade show marketing, prospect outreach, and follow-up. The reason so many are upping their trade show investments is based on a simple fact: higher and more powerful ROI. The average face-to-face meeting costs upwards of $260 while a trade show prospect meeting is around $140. And each of those meetings are high impact, with almost 85% of trade show attendees saying they have buying authority.

Lower cost and higher impact meetings are just what you’re looking for with your development team. So how do you take advantage of the trade show’s development power? Follow these three critical steps.

1. Reach out BEFORE

The first element is pre-event outreach. Get a list of attendees from online searches, checking in with previous years’ attendees, and scanning social media. Once you know who will be there, segment lists to create targeted outreach groups (i.e., by location proximity, lost opportunities, or company size).

In your outreach, use a multi-pronged approach. Contact prospects by email, phone, and direct messaging on social. Feel out what mode works best for each prospect and adapt your strategy. Start reaching out months ahead and stay connected with a steady drip of communication coming up to the weeks and days before the event.

Your goal is to set up an in-person, face-to-face meeting during the trade show. Make it easy on prospects: offer specific dates and times to meet or share a link to select specific meeting times on your calendar. Include content with info on your business so they have a touchpoint to discover more about you and your operations.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to only one-on-one contact. Spread the news that you and your business are attending on social media. Send periodic posts using the trade show hashtag and re-post content from the event’s social media to get the word out.

2. Make a connection DURING

Just because you’ve set meetings before the trade show doesn’t mean you can slack on outreach during the event. There are dozens of prospecting opportunities you have yet to discover! Bring a variety of strategic content to distribute to those you encounter. This content should speak to different stages in the buyer’s journey so you can distribute the right pieces to those at different stages in the process.

You also need a way to capture leads at the event. Collect business cards for a free lunch or use a laptop or tablet to host a survey entering participants in a gift card giveaway. Though you don’t need to link your methods to winning something, it does help increase participation.

And, as you did before the event, keep posting on social media during the action. Use the event hashtag to quote speakers, show photos of your booth, or comment on aspects of the event. The more you engage on social, the higher likelihood you have of attracting those outside your current outreach sphere.

3. Follow up AFTER

Timely, consistent follow-up is the last essential piece of your trade show development work. Send a customized, friendly note 24-48 hours after the event and follow up at an appropriate cadence. Continue to provide relevant content to move prospects along in the sales journey and differentiate messaging based on your segmentation.

Be sure to follow-up with attendees and non-attendees alike. Send out photos and videos of the event to increase email open rates – everyone loves to see something they participated in or get an inside look at what they missed.

Get the Most Out of Your Development Campaigns with NuGrowth Solutions

Trade show and event outreach is one of the four Tactic Groups employed here at NuGrowth Solutions. With our Tactic Groups, we help our clients generate impressive results with proven segmentation, call cadence, and other outreach methods. Thanks to these targeted methods, our clients see improved contact and meeting rates, which translate to deals closed after.

Our development Tactic Groups have been shown to more than double contact and meeting rates as compared to industry standards. Find out more: get in touch with our simple contact form or give us a call at 614.304.3917.

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