Exhibiting at a trade show is intense. In the span of a few days (or hours!) you have to create a temporary storefront, artfully display your wares, and engage those who stop by in a meaningful way. You can’t do it alone. You can’t afford to send your entire staff to the show. But you can leverage the internet and mobile technology to help.
Before the Show
1 – Promote Your Booth on the Trade Show Website
Most attendees will try to plan their visit to the show. They will do this by visiting the show’s website and/or using an online or mobile planning tool. What is your presence in those places? Consider purchasing a featured listing so that your company is listed at the top of applicable searches.
2 – Promote Your Booth on YOUR Website
And don’t ignore your own website! Prominently place the show’s logo and your booth number there to let your site’s visitors know you’ll be exhibiting. Blog posts giving the inside scoop on your planning process also raise interest and make attendees feel more connected.
Don’t forget to use your social media accounts to raise interest and take some time now to make sure your website content is fresh and appealing.
At the Show
3 – Use QR Codes to Handle All the Many Visitors
If you’ve done a good job promoting your booth, you won’t be able to personally speak with everyone who stops by. Make sure your booth gives attendees the power to attain the information they seek. QR Codes are a great for this. At each product display in your booth, include a QR code that your guests can scan. The QR code may take them to a product spec sheet, or to a video of your product in action.
(note – SMS is a great alternative to QR Codes)
4 – Create Mobile Landing Pages on Your Website
You could also have a QR Code that points to the landing page on your corporate website where attendees can sign up for your newsletter. Just remember, if you direct visitors to your website during the show, they are likely to be accessing it from a smart phone or other mobile device. Make sure your web site has mobile-friendly formatting. And be sure to let your social media followers in on the action with frequent news from your booth.
5 – Use Available Technology to Capture Leads
Ensuring your visitors can get information from you is only half the battle. How will you get contact information from them? Many trade shows offer mobile applications you can use to collect sales leads not only in your booth, but in the shuttle bus or at the hotel bar.
If no official sales lead retrieval is offered, consider using a mobile app to scan business cards. Card Munch, for example, let’s you take a picture of a business card. Then it parses the information and stores it in your phone’s contacts.
After the Show
6 – Blog about Your Time at the Trade Show
It’s hard to stay motivated after an exhausting trade show, but making it fun makes it easier to endure. Now is the time to brag about your presence at the show. A post-show re-cap blog post is a great way to share your success with customers and prospects who couldn’t make it to the show.
Post pictures and video from your booth and from other show events in which you participated. Share the good times you had!
When exhibiting at a trade show it’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on right in front of you for the few days the show is open. Using the web and social media, you can expand your presence not just beyond your booth, but beyond the event!
What unique things are you doing with your trade show marketing? Let me know in the comments below.
Siobhan Connellan, Senior Manager of Exhibitor Operations, Experient
For over 18 years, Siobhan Connellan has developed and delivered a wide array of lead retrieval products to exhibitors at over 200 of the largest trade shows in the country. She is currently the Senior Manager of Exhibitor Operations for Experient, the nation’s leading source for integrated meeting and event services.
Her mission is to develop products and services that integrate exhibiting companies’ marketing efforts across events, social media, and traditional media. Siobhan’s current efforts include capitalizing on mobile technology to facilitate exhibitors’ efforts to collect sales leads at trade shows and events.
She is a regular presenter to large and small groups regarding exhibit marketing, sales lead capture, and follow-up.