Attending events – trade shows, industry gatherings, conferences, and community events – provides a very effective way to build your brand and drive new sales. The key is choosing the right events to attend in order to get the best return on investment.
Of many different types of business events, trade show marketing probably provides the biggest bang for your buck. Studies have shown that 75% of the people who go to trade shows know who and what they want to see. If your product or service aligns with their interests, these events provide a tailor-made audience for your brand and your business. Depending on the size of the event, this could put you in front of hundreds or even thousands of potential buyers.
The challenge with trade show marketing events is that they tend to be full of competitors. To maximize results, your business needs to stand out from the crowd.
Achieving success with trade show marketing starts long before the actual date of the event. First, study the demographics of the event’s attendees to make sure they align with those of your target audience. In addition to customers and prospective customers, also look for “influencers,” people who could refer business to you or put you in touch with vendors and other companies that could benefit your business.
Next, have a clear business purpose for attending the event. This may include several tangible goals, such as generating leads and making sales or introducing a new product. It can also include less tangible goals that are harder to measure, such as building your brand or developing new relationships. Everything you do in regards to the event should relate back to your main purpose for being there. From an ROI standpoint, it helps set a budget and stick to it. It can be easy to overspend when planning a trade show marketing event.
Most importantly, let people know well in advance that your company will be at the event. This can include:
- Writing blogs that talk about the value of attending the event
- Putting reminders to attend the event on your web site home page
- Mentioning breakout sessions you will attend
- Personally inviting prospects and customers to meet you at the event
Another great tool is using social media to talk about what your company will be featuring at the event. This is especially effective if you are launching a new product or holding live product demonstrations.
At the event
Regardless of the type of event, you want your business to stand out from the crowd. At trade shows, business banners, colorful signs, and other types of displays are one of the best ways to make that happen.
Plant the seed with banners. Strategically placed business banners can capture attention before people even enter the venue. Use colorful designs. Keep the content to a minimum. Make the text large and easy to read. If you have a booth, be sure to include your booth number and location.
Place reminders throughout the venue. Business events tend to have a lot of booths, seminars, displays, and networking events for attendees to visit. Placing signs in different places throughout the venue will remind people to stop by your booth. Be sure to use high-quality printing and graphics to attract attention.
Have an open and inviting booth. Whether you rent a custom booth or build your own, have a booth that is both visually appealing and welcoming to attendees. Allow plenty of room for visitors to move about; don’t make them feel trapped once inside your booth. Having product videos running on a screen is another good way to capture attention. Also, make sure every visitor walks away with at least one item of swag that has your company name or logo on it.
If the event is smaller, see if you can set up a table as a place to interact with people. Place a large easel with your company name and logo next to it to call attention to your presence at the event.
Business banners and other marketing tools
One advantage of trade show marketing is the many ways to use traditional marketing tools to good effect before and during the event. These include:
- Posters. They work well for announcing upcoming events and for attracting attention during them. Focus on one short message and keep the text to a minimum. Be sure to include your business name and logo.
- Banners. When you want to make a bold statement, business banners are the best tool due to their size, materials, and flexibility. They can be mounted on a stand or hung from walls and ceilings. The durable materials allow you to use them again and again if you keep your messaging evergreen.
- Foam boards. These lightweight marketing tools are good to place around the venue for directing people to your booth. They can be mounted on an easel or used as a standalone sign.
- Flyers. Well-done flyers make great handouts – at your booth and as you wander the event. Include an offer related to the event to give people a reason to visit your booth.
- Brochures. Brochures also make good handouts, although it is better to distribute them at your booth. It tells your story to people who don’t have time to stop and ask questions and makes the stop at your booth worthwhile.
- Postcards. These cost-effective marketing tools can be used as coupons during the event and as a thank-you card to follow up with new contacts after the event.
- Branded clothing. Custom shirts with your logo imprinted on them give your team a professional look. They also promote your business wherever you go, including at the event.
7 strategies for a successful business event
Keep the following strategies in mind during and after the event:
- Stay focused. Stick to your goals for the event. Avoid doing things that might dilute your marketing message.
- Be recognizable. Have a distinctive brand logo and plaster it all over the venue. Put it on every piece of swag you give away.
- Actively seek attention. Business events are not a time to be passive. Act as a publicist and ambassador for your business.
- Be different. Event booth and display materials tend to follow trends in terms of design and styles. Don’t imitate others; find your own path.
- Get noticed. Serve as the featured speaker at a seminar or workshop. If that isn’t an option, sit on a panel of speakers.
- Be customer centric. The best marketing is a delighted customer. Be willing to go the extra mile and take actions your competitors might not. Delighted customers will tell others about your business.
- Create a follow-up strategy for after the event. Have a plan in place for following up with everyone who visited your booth and anyone you’ve made contact with at the event. Don’t try to sell, except to those who expressed a strong interest in buying your product. Instead, send an email thanking them for visiting your booth.
When you need colorful business banners and other marketing materials to help your company stand out at your next business event, Printivity can help. We offer great service, fast turnaround, quality print products, and easy online ordering.