Whether you’re a main sponsor, an exhibitor, or an attendee, considerable work goes into planning a trade show event. On top of that, trade shows don’t come cheap. To get the most out of a show, it’s important to integrate your digital marketing channels pre, during, and post event to build the largest amount of buzz possible.
Through various digital marketing channels such as email, social, video, and PPC, you can establish buzz to build awareness, generate quality leads among your target audience, and optimize your trade show investment.
Email is one of the most commonly used digital channels (96% check email at least on a weekly basis), presenting trade show marketers with an opportunity to spread the word to nearly all of their prospects and existing customers. Promoting your event through email can be done by simply sending out a newsletter prior to the event or sending a stand-alone email to highlight details. Details should include the event date and time, booth number, and any other relevant information regarding your company’s presence, including speaking slots, networking parties, etc.
Email can also be used as a follow-up tactic, allowing marketers to connect with prospects who may have offered their contact information. A simple “thank you” for attending could end up opening the door to further communication and a possible hot lead. You could also offer relevant content assets based on the specific show and/or nature of the leads.
Oftentimes, trade shows are huge events with hundreds or thousands of different brands within the same industry present. A great exhibition is only half the battle; creating buzz around your booth is equally important and this is where a tradeshow-specific pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign could be beneficial. Capitalizing on the spike in traffic during the time of the tradeshow or the days before presents an opportunity to get initial buzz around the event or your brand’s booth or presence.
Create a PPC ad including the name of the trade show, your brand, booth number, and a specific call to action to drive web traffic and visitors to your booth.
Much like email, social media is a great outlet to create awareness of your brand before a trade show. Social gives marketers an opportunity to post, tweet, or pin information about the upcoming event and connect with others who will be there.
Social media’s full potential can be realized during the event, especially through Twitter; in fact, hashtags can be a way to categorize tweets specific to the show, providing message visibility to any users following the hashtag. Any team members who are in attendance should also be active on social media, sharing photos, insights from sessions, and other information in real time to establish a constant stream of information throughout the event.
Creating a trade show-specific video can become an important tool during the event and can get you some great brand exposure. Our first experience with this came at the Forrester Customer Forum where our video was played on stage for the entire forum to see.
We took it a step further for DreamForce 2012, creating a song in honor of the event’s “Touch the Social Enterprise” theme to the tune of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Otherside.” Aside from standing alone as a catchy video on our YouTube channel, we incorporated the video into our physical presence at DreamForce.
Rather than asking attendees to drop business cards in the proverbial fish bowl, we devised some musically-inspired ways to participate—both physically and virtually via Twitter. Visitors could wear a badge that included a QR code with a landing page to the video; they were also urged to tweet using the DreamForce hashtag and a link to the video landing page. Prizes were given out some lucky participants and certainly encouraged visitors to engage in the event.
There are a number of digital marketing channels out there to help you create trade show buzz. Our list isn’t by any means exhaustive, but email, PPC, social, and video are four of the best tools to make sure you get the most out of your trade show investments, generate a big crowd around your booth, and become the talk of the event!