Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Throat Lozenge, Comfortable Shoes, and Trade Shows

As I pack my throat lozenge and comfortable shoes for another week of trade show duty, I keep asking myself is the trade show still important to my (your) companies marketing efforts? I'm still undecided on that question but here are 6 ways to get more return on your trade show investment through use of digital marketing media.

1. Create a landing page and a unique URL

Why send people to if you could send them to Attendees at a trade show are there for a specific topic, so information most relevant to this show’s audience should be compiled for them. Create a page on your site with that information, a unique URL and an email capture form to convert those visitors into leads. 

2. Replace the printed brochure with a branded USB drive

How many brochures can a person carry around at a trade show? Eventually they wind up in the garbage. Abandon the brochure and bring along a box of branded jump drives with useful company resources on them. Include a white paper pdf on a related topic that includes links to the appropriate pages on your site. Jump drives fit in pockets, and at the very least can be reused by your visitors. The same can’t be said for printed brochures.

3. Collect email addresses!

Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to collect email addresses and plug them into the appropriate database. That database may be a CRM system, email marketing software or some combination of the two. Be sure that the email addresses get plugged into the segmented lists so you can market specifically to this group in the future as well. This trade show is the first step in a sometimes so don’t miss here.

4. Follow up on LinkedIn

If you know their name and company you can find them on LinkedIn after the show. Connect, send a simple “nice to meet you message” and follow their company to learn some more. Even if they might not be the right person to talk with at their company, you’ve at least created a potential inroad to the right person. 

5. Ask to write a guest blog post on the trade show website

Here’s a request trade show organizers probably don’t receive too often. Reach out and ask them if you could write a guest post on their site. Provide useful information for the upcoming show’s audience and you’ve gained free publicity. Tell the organizer that you’ll promote the post on LinkedIn and other social channels, which will only drive more traffic to their site. And then do it. Win, win.

6. Use the appropriate Twitter hashtag while you’re there

At bigger trade shows, common hashtags often emerge on Twitter that are specifically related to that show. In other words, attendees add a topic identifier to their Tweets that essentially says “this tweet has to do with this trade show”.  If you’re a Twitter user, look for those hashtags and participate in the conversation. You may open doors to new connections and potential leads. If you’re not a Twitter user, become a Twitter user.

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