Even though the world has gone digital, some things simply can’t be replicated on the web (yet, that is), which is among one of the main reasons why trade shows are still as popular as they were thirty years ago. Getting the chance to interact with brands, vendors, and service providers face-to-face is one of the major benefits for attendees.
However, getting those attendees to stop by your booth, engage with your brand, and ultimately convert, can be difficult even for the savviest of trade show exhibitors. This is where having a unique customer experience, engaging booth design, and excellent brand reps all come into play (to hopefully create an optimal customer experience).
If you’re looking for tips on how to improve your brand’s trade show performance, as well as information on how to increase foot traffic, look no further. Below we cover why your brand isn’t performing as well as it could be, and exactly how to fix that.
Pre-Show Engagement Strategies
One of the most common mistakes made by brands across countless verticals is the fact that they’re not promoting their upcoming trade shows. How do you expect your booth to perform well if nobody even knows where it is? Or, if they don’t even know that your brand is attending a show?
This problem can easily be fixed by employing some basic customer engagement strategies prior to the start of the show (ideally a few months before it starts). Email marketing should be the primary driver here, along with social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) being the secondary focus.
One email is the absolute bare minimum, however, your brand should really be sending multiple emails in the build-up to the show. One email per week, and then increase that frequency to two times per week, as the show’s start date looms closer. Adding strong CTAs (call-to-actions) within the email, as well as teasing some potential new products/service debuts will really add some incentive to visit your booth.
Social media should be approached with care. Many brands make the mistake of treating social media like traditional media – it’s not. Social is a constantly-evolving form of media. Platforms are always changing, demographics are being altered, etc.
This means that your brand needs to know exactly where your target customers engage on social. That is the location where you should place most of your social emphasis. For example, if you’re in B2B software sales, you need to be targeting LinkedIn. If you’re in B2C fashion, Instagram and Pinterest would be good starts.
How to Drive Traffic and Build Engagement During the Show
Employing some basic pre-show strategy is one thing, but what about making sure your booth actually performs during the show? Are there any simple strategies that can be used to increase traffic, drive more sales, and provide a better UX?
Luckily, there are several ways to achieve a more engaging trade show exhibit. One of the main ones would be to focus on providing strong multimedia experiences via sound, video, and visual components. Video is an especially important traffic driver.
From a visual perspective, making sure that your booth has a high-quality display is essential. Using a 20 x 20 trade show exhibit, for example, would allow your brand to draw potential leads in (while providing an engaging visual experience).
Media and visuals are important, but equally as important (if not more so – especially in this decade) is making your booth interactive and personalized. People expect experiences to be personalized nowadays, they also expect brands to deliver them some level of interactivity. If your brand is able to make its booth interactive, it has a much higher chance of increasing its leads/customer base.
Keeping it Going Post-Show
Most businesses make the mistake of thinking that their work is finished after the show is done. However, this couldn’t be any further from the case, because this is the moment when you need to go back to your pre-show strategies (i.e. email and social) and employ them again (this time focusing on show attendees/people who interacted with your booth).
Lead generation is an obvious focus of most brands doing trade shows, but what are you doing with those leads when the show is finished? Are you emailing them after the show, thanking them for engaging with your brand? Are you segmenting your leads into different lists so that you can effectively remarket to them?
These are all important questions to consider after the show is done. Remember, this is when a large portion of the work needs to be done.