Trade shows are one of the best places to connect with potential customers face-to-face, but making those connections means capturing the attention of attendees in new and creative ways. How can you make sure that you’re connecting with as many prospects as possible and getting the positive return on investment that you expect from trade shows? The most successful exhibitors don’t leave anything to chance, and that means strategizing beforehand about the best ways to engage prospects before, during, and after trade show events.
Pre-Trade Show Engagement
Exhibitors who run engagement campaigns one to two months before trade shows can increase their attendance by up to 50%, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. While your competitors will likely be using social media and email marketing to announce their attendance, a multi-channel strategy that features direct mail is a more optimal approach. Using direct mail to generate pre-show awareness is less common and it results in much higher retention rates.
We all want to be a VIP, and sending out personalized printed invitations before trade show events will get people excited about your exhibit. Unlike digital mail, printed VIP invitations use the sense of touch to promote engagement. You can enhance your invitations with textured paper or custom shapes, perhaps even a Shape-Cut envelope to engage your audience in a way that digital mailers never could.
Create Inviting Spaces
What are the biggest pain points at a typical trade show? Tired feet, drained smartphone batteries, and lack of cell signal are some of the most common. Find a way to solve those issues and you’ll have people lining up at your booth. If you have the space, put out some couches and ottomans, and open up a free Wi-Fi hotspot. You’ll be amazed at how quickly people will start sitting down to relax and put their feet up. Sponsored cell phone charging stations are another great opportunity for branding.
Games and Selfie Opportunities
Give people the opportunity to let loose. Games and selfie opportunities will attract attendees who want to have a little fun. With a little strategy, they can present you with a great opportunity for engagement, as well. Just like the charging stations we mentioned earlier, photo booths and selfie backdrops can turn into branding opportunities with the help of a few well-placed logos. For more ideas on how to setup selfie booths and selfie backdrops, check out this video.
Motion creates emotion. When planning the design of your trade show booth, we recommend using shapes, ceiling graphics, and pop offs to catch the eye. Visualize the trade show in the eyes of the attendees. Hundreds of non-descript booths fill the room, but one stands out with bright colors and entertaining signage. Which booth do you think attendees are going to visit first?
Intriguing Follow Ups
Just because the trade show is over doesn’t mean your work is done. You might be thrilled about your new leads, but research shows that follow ups with prospects post trade shows and expos is often lacking. Sort leads according to their potential, and then reach out to your most serious prospects by phone to begin cultivating a two-way relationship. Reach out to second tier prospects with a catchy mailer or email that reinforces your sales message. Invitations to participate in webinars and links to articles about your industry will give you an opportunity to stay in contact with the prospect until he or she is ready to convert.
Contact us to learn even more about how to engage with prospects before, during, and after trade shows.