Why You Need to Start Marketing Your Trade Show Booth LONG Before The Show!
Attending a trade show requires a huge investment – from the trade show booth to travel to staff time. You literally don’t want to waste a minute of valuable networking time.
Here are 6 ways to start marketing your trade show booth before you leave for the show, so you can hit the ground running.
1. Be an Early Adopter
By signing up as early as possible, you have the longest lead time for participating in pre-show activity. This will allow you to save on registration, secure prime booth space, budget for an attention-getting booth, train your staff, and most importantly – leverage your participation by allowing you to start early networking.
2. Engage on Social Networks
Start chatting it up on social media. Does your show have an online discussion group? Make sure to join so that you can learn more about the attendees and make virtual connections that you can solidify once you arrive. Follow the show on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so that you can see others who are actively reaching out prior to the show.
3. Then, Promote Yourself
Once you have become established on the show’s social pages, start linking to your own content. Promote your trade show booth plans on all your social accounts to offer a glimpse of what you have in store, preview any special events you’ll be holding, or perhaps a show special. Consider making a video of your trade show booth preparation to upload to YouTube and share. Find out if there’s a designated hashtag and use it to tweet before the show.
4. Become Part of the Show
Don’t just be at the show, be IN the show. Find out the requirements for being a speaker or a panel participant. There’s no better way to establish yourself as an expert in the field. Too late for this year? No problem! Ask to be on the list for next year and follow the guidelines for submitting topics and information to be considered.
5. Reach out to Journalists and Bloggers who will be Attending the Show
Determine if you can obtain a list of registered reporters and bloggers. If not, assemble your own list from past contacts and research who covers your industry. Several weeks prior to the show, contact them with information on your booth and any announcements you’ll be making. Schedule interviews in advance, since they are usually swamped by the time you arrive.
Setting appointments – or at least making contact — in advance greatly increases your chances to meet with potential business partners. If you aren’t able to make definite plans, keep in touch with them and seek them out during the show.
6. Reach out to Other Attendees
Trade shows are sometimes the only time you have the opportunity to meet with customers and engage prospects. Make sure they are looking for you!
Reach out with a dedicated marketing campaign to create excitement around your trade show booth. Set appointments in advance with key contacts and prospects so you are included on their itinerary before they get swept up in show craziness. Interact on social media networks to create a level of virtual engagement that can turn a cold visit into a warm one.
Get a head start on improving your bottom line by taking time to cultivate your trade show booth marketing and outreach long before you enter the exhibit hall. It will pay off in enhanced relationships and increased sales – and isn’t that why you attend the trade show in the first place?
What are some ways you market your trade show booth prior to the event? How have they paid off?
Charles Dugan is the owner of American Image Displays, a family owned trade show design company that just celebrated their 30th year in business. He’s attended so many trade shows he often feels like he lives in one, but somehow also finds time for the Seahawks and classic rock. A computer nerd from the dark ages, he’s now focused on social media marketing (@Am_Img_Displays) and their new Personal Shopper program for trade show shoppers.