A marketer’s guide to trade shows

A marketer’s guide to trade shows

Words: Belinda Connolly 
 
Whether you’re an exhibitor showcasing your products or services, or a rep attending an event, trade shows are a great way to get your brand in front of potential leads and connect on a personal level with customers. With thousands of exhibitions and trade shows in Australia attracting more than some 9.3 million visitors annually, these industry-specific events are not only good for businesses and the wider economy, but perfect for networking, too. 

Here’s how to get the most out of your next trade event or exhibition.

Why are trade shows so important?

Simple answer: they attract high quality leads who are keen to learn about innovative solutions – regardless of the industry. Around 92 percent of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products at shows, so these events are where you are going to find buyers for your brand. 

And with another survey revealing that 81 percent of trade show attendees have buying authority it makes sense to have a presence at industry shows and conferences. 

Exhibiting at a trade show? What to know

There’s more to exhibiting than booking a booth and rocking up in a branded T-shirt. You may have a hall of high-quality leads looking for a product, but you are also likely competing for audience attention alongside your industry competitors.  

With the average attendee spending 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits it pays to invest in an interesting and engaging booth that makes you stand out. 

Here’s what to do in the lead-up: 

  • In the months and weeks before the event, hone your event marketing strategy and define your objectives. Are you hoping for increased brand awareness, lead generation, or product launches? Aligning your goals to your event activities will ensure a cohesive and impactful event. 
  • Plan an eye-catching booth that represents your brand and includes interactive elements such as hands-on product demonstrations, as well as engaging visuals.  
  • Order pull-up banners, business cards and other promotional materials. Branded tote bags allow your booth visitors to become walking ads for your business! 
  • Consider some out-of-the-box elements for your booth to help make it memorable. Virtual reality (VR) is an increasingly popular activation that will immediately set you apart from other exhibitors. This is especially valuable for companies operating in fields like healthcare, manufacturing, or construction, where showcasing solutions in their real-world environments may not be feasible at a conference. 
  • Ensure your staff are fully prepared to conduct product demonstrations that leave a lasting impression. Ensure staff are confident speaking to people and are up to speed with all the innovations of your products.  
  • Create a spreadsheet for staff to update on the day with the details of leads. Having names, titles, company name, email addresses and information on any specific queries will make following up much easier after the event. 
  • Organise a team member to be responsible for capturing photos and videos for social media. This includes footage of the event that you can use for live and post-event coverage, but also getting some images and B-roll footage that you can use as evergreen content.  

During the event

  • Talk your products or services up and encourage questions and discussions. The event is the chance to show off your brand, engage potential customers, and gain valuable insights from people in your industry. Trade show attendees want to see product demonstrations and learn about your offering, so don’t be shy.  
  • Be active on social media to amplify your presence by sharing photos, videos, and live streams, while actively participating in event-related online conversations to increase visibility and reinforce your position as an industry authority. Make sure to use event hashtags and tag organisers in any social coverage to maximise your content reach. It’s also worth setting aside some time throughout the day to check in on your social channels and engage with your audience, as this will keep up the momentum – and may lead to more leads.  
  • Prioritise collecting high-quality leads and feedback from attendees. This information will not only aid in nurturing potential customers, it will also inform and refine your future event strategies. 
  • Capitalise on networking opportunities by attending any after-show events or discussion panels. These more relaxed and informal settings often foster valuable connections and allow for deeper conversations. Attendees are typically more open to engaging in meaningful dialogue, making it an ideal time to strengthen existing relationships and forge new business partnerships. 

What to do after a trade show

After the event, send personalised follow-up emails to potential leads as soon as possible, addressing their specific interests and needs. Analyse the feedback you received and implement it to refine your products, services and event strategies. 

Share event highlights and success stories on social media, showcasing your brand’s expertise and reinforcing the connections you’ve made. This will keep your business top-of-mind with your target audience. 

Unsure of how to create a marketing strategy that allows your brand to shine at trade shows? Give us a call – we are a full-service digital marketing agency helping businesses elevate their presence at industry events.  

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