Reinvent Your Trade Shows with 5 Inbound Marketing Tips

If you have ever been involved in trade show marketing or planning, you know that it takes many months to prepare for this major event. You can maximize your time and efforts byimplementing inbound marketing techniques into your pre-show prep and post-show follow-up.

  1. Set Goals

Think of the big upcoming trade show like any other marketing campaign you launch, and set specific goals you want to achieve. Besides the “looser” goals of spreading brand awareness and raising your company profile, you can set more precise goals such as an increase in the number of leads or new email subscribers. Look at your current status, determine where you would like to be, and set goals around achieving that.

Most importantly, be sure that you have systems in place that can measure these numbers and analyze the metrics. If you are not tracking, you are not succeeding.

  1. Create a Call to Action…

As with any inbound campaign, you want a CTA. In this case, you want a call to action that can be integrated into all of your collateral—signage, booth graphics, handouts, emails, and more—before and throughout the show. It can be any number of things such, subscribe to our newsletter, join our Facebook group, or download an e-book. Regardless of the offer, keeping the CTA consistent on all materials will help you measure success.

“CTAs should direct people to landing pages, where you can collect visitors’ contact information in exchange for a valuable marketing offer. In that sense, an effective CTA results in more leads and conversions.” (HubSpot). Remember, trade shows are hectic, so you want a CTA that can and will entice people to click even after the show hoopla has died down.

  1. …And Link it to a Specific Landing Page

You guys are smart, so by now you know the importance of dedicated landing pages in inbound marketing campaigns. Well, the trade show circuit is no different. Create a landing page that is specially targeted to trade show attendees and interested parties. Not only does this give them a dedicated place to go, but it also gives you more opportunity to track who is visiting the page and what their interests are. Include one or two questions that are directly related to the event itself: Did you attend session XYZ about Amazing Service #1? If you missed it, would like information on Amazing Service #2?

  1. Keep the Buzz Going

As mentioned above, keeping the buzz going throughout and after the event is just as important as building the excitement before the show. A three-pronged approach—before, during, and after—will ensure you have continuous interest and excitement. The more creative you are with your CTA and landing page, the more leads you will generate. And those are leads you want to nurture once you get back to the office. Too often companies return from trade shows with a stack of business cards that go to waste when they wait too long to reach out and don’t use buyer personas to cultivate targeted content.

  1. Be Web- and Mobile-Friendly

Besides a stack of handouts, what do all trade show attendees always have with them? Their cell phone! And they are always using it, so take advantage of this by including web links, QR codes, and even hashtags on your collateral. And, of course, be consistent with your messaging and CTA.

Pinpoint your target audience and use personas to create customized marketing. If you are at a high-tech conference chock-full of millennials, video content (at your booth and as part of your campaign) is a must! However, if you are at an insurance seminar where the average attendee is 55 plus, you will want paper handouts along with digital content.

Although we live in a digital world, some people still prefer paper handouts, so always have them available, just kick them up by linking them to online content. Since trade shows can be hectic, many people won’t look at information or tchotchkes until later in the quiet of their hotel room or office—use those CTAs to get them to your landing page. And, you MUST make sure your landing pages and web content are mobile-compatible!

Because inbound marketing practices are flexible, you can—and should—be using them in all aspects of your business. They are perfect for injecting some much-needed excitement into your standard trade show planning and marketing. For more information on how to use inbound marketing to take your sales to the next level, request a consultation.

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