MORE THAN 6 IDEAS FOR EFFECTIVE PRE-TRADE SHOW PROMOTION
With trade shows, you need to adapt Ben Franklin’s mentality regarding preparedness. He said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And so it is with trade show promotion. If you wait until show week to let everyone know that you are going to be at a trade show, you are way too late! Astute marketing and trade show exhibit managers will work together in advance to maximize opportunities to get people into their booths while at the show. This will take advanced planning and coordinated promotion efforts. Many expert show timelines recommend that pre-show promotion start 3-6 months prior to the actual show dates.
For a number of great ideas on how to do this, check out the article entitled UNLOCK TRADE SHOW SUCCESS: Engage With Coordinated Pre-Show Promotion. Pre-show promotion can include simple things like using the show-provided free show passes as a mailer, adding stickers on invoices and any printed literature that gets sent out, and even cost free things like adding show info and an invite into the signatures of every email your company sends. Don’t underestimate the power of the free aspects of social media and getting the word out to your clients and potential customers through the virtual grapevine! Leading up to a show, you can use your social media to create hashtags, post teasers, show discounts, and even create contests that incorporate trade show booth attendance.
There are also paid efforts such as direct mail, magazine advertisements, web page headers, advertisements on websites and via social media post boosts; these need to be weighed carefully for anticipated effectiveness and expected ROI.
Building the hype prior to any show is a must. But each company will have their own optimal mix depending on business type, show, and budget. Just like any marketing effort, options are endless and will require planning, coordination and an approved budget.
The earlier the start you can get on promotion, the better your return on investment will be as trade shows are not stand alone events; they are a part to the whole big picture of your company’s marketing & branding efforts.
Don’t let the proverbial tree fall in the forest alone – make sure you have a big crowd there to hear it …and see it! Plan ahead and promote, promote, promote well in advance!
Want to see where your company stacks up with pre-show promotion? Check out this Exhibitor On-Line article!
Check our Trade Show Season Smarts series next week for advice on qualifying trade show leads.