Trade shows are obviously an essential part of B2B product marketing. They’re an excellent opportunity to create quality leads and spread brand awareness. Also, if you’re spending more than $50,000 to exhibit on a 10×10 booth, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of this event. However, how do you stand out at an already cluttered event?
You need to create goals within the marketing department months prior to the conference. Besides new leads and brand awareness, do you want to increase your social media followers, blog subscribers, organic traffic?
Once these goals are set, there needs to be an all-encompassing plan in order to accomplish the goals. For instance, if the goal is to achieve more subscribers to your blogs or white paper downloads, highlight these factors on your brochures with a web friendly code and have your staffers make sure to bring the topic up in conversations.
Many people automatically think about booth design, loud colors, and matching outfits for the staffers. Which, yes, are important. However, I believe who you decide to man your booth is more important than the aesthetics.
I like to implement a web-like organization with my staffers. Instead of having 2-3 people huddled near your booth waiting to talk to people who walk nearby, employ a few extra people and have them be an extension of your booth. They don’t need to stray too far from the booth, but adding an extra 15 or so feet will allow you to cast a larger net and get more people interested in your booth. Make sure they are friendly, engaging people who don’t seem like slimy salesman. However, don’t use “booth babes” either.
I personally don’t put much stock in generic swag – pens, magnets, mouse pads, USB drives, etc. However, I do like the giveaways which require business cards to enter. Sure, the leads will be lower quality. But, for the price of an iPad (~$500), the ROI will be in your favor every time.
Nearly every company will have a demo, either on a TV and/or on several tablets. Where many companies fail is when they “demo brag” – simply list their features and show what the product can do. To be successful, you need to tell a story. What problem does this solve? How is it solving this? Why should a company choose your tool over a competitor? How will your tool make their lives easier?
These questions much be constantly answered throughout the demo and constantly on the top of your staffers’ minds.
Your leads need to be organized. Simple.
When first reaching out to them, you need to go back and refer to your goals. If your goal was to have more registrants to a specific white paper, provide the link in your first contact. Every company will likely send a thank you/follow-up email shortly after the event. Your challenge is to entice them to open the email and react to the call-to-action.