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Amy Post
by Amy Post
on March 7, 2016

Although inbound marketing has caused a dramatic shift in the way most businesses do marketing today, one more traditional marketing method remains – and is gaining – in its popularity, and that’s the trade show. Over 27-million people walk into the doors of a trade show hoping to get a first-hand look and maybe even some pricing information from companies that can help them with seemingly anything from events like Inbound, ConEx, and Dreamforce, trade show marketing obviously has some serious staying power.

But how do you effectively market to your trade show attendees in today’s inbound-driven environment? First, you avoid these 5 common trade show marketing mistakes:

1. Ignoring Pre-Show Marketing

Event goers already know what booths they’ll be stopping at before they leave to attend a trade show. Maybe you’re on that list already – which is great. But, maybe you aren’t. Reaching out in advance increases the likelihood. Use a series of workflow emails to encourage attendance at your booth and promote your giveaways.

2. Too Much Clutter

You might think the more products or displays that you bring to the show the more likely you are to get people to take notice of your booth. That’s simply not the case. So. instead of packing the exhibit full of everything you offer, instead, limit your focus to one or two key elements. Leave some empty space so the attendee’s attention goes right where you want it to.

3. Not Taking Advantage of Data

Marketing in mass to a registration list without further segmentation is a mistake all too many companies make both before and after a trade show. Each attendee fills out the registration form where it asks a few key questions that provide detail for more specialized targeting. Use that data to craft your customized pre and post contact efforts. Some segmentation suggestions might include:

  • By Date: Offering a discount information for the early registrations
  • Company: If there’s a large number of attendee’s from a certain company, maybe it’s worth the effort to customize contact efforts to that specific organization.
  • Demographics: If a large group is coming from the same location, maybe offer a special giveaway for anyone who stops by and identifies they are from that location.

Further segmented marketing works in this case by creating relevant messaging for the reader which will result in higher conversions.

4. Unprepared Booth Staff

Nothing is worse than when a potential customer walks into a booth but leaves feeling like they know more about the company than the person who was “selling” it to them. Don’t send a team of new interns to work your booth as part of your trade show marketing plan, pack it full of some of your most knowledgeable and best sales and product professionals who understand your organization best.

5. Failure in the Follow-Up

The trade show itself isn’t where all the deals are won – or lost. The follow-up process is equally as important to gaining a positive ROI as your activities while you are there. A timely and targeted response to event-goers not only showcases that you are a service-focused organization, but it allows you to identify many of the other products or services you may not have been promoting at the show. (Remember that whole ‘eliminate the clutter’ thing we talked about earlier? Here’s where you can show off your other services.)

How to Generate Leads with a Trade Show Marketing Plan

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