In the inbound marketing system, marketers are interested in two separate, yet equally important goals: lead generation and increased revenue. This is a story about how trade shows can help.
In a recent blog post, we talked about how inbound marketing can be a more efficient, more affordable lead generation option than trade shows. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to give up trade shows altogether. If you do choose to continue to attend and exhibit at trade shows, you want to ensure that your presence - from your booth to your t-shirt - is integrated with your inbound marketing objectives and overall strategy.
Here's how you can do it and make the captain AND the DA proud:
Make a Positive ID
You can't possibly attend every trade show that is tangentially related to your business. Not only would the logistics be a major hurdle, the expenses would add up quickly. Instead, do like Briscoe and Curtis and narrow down your suspects.
Only attend those shows that make fiscal sense, that minimize the time you have to spend away from your daily routine, and where you know your actual customers will be. More on that in a moment.
Collect the Evidence
Jack McCoy would never show up to arraignment without all his ducks in a row. The fact is that to make the most of your trade show experience, you have to prepare well in advance and we don't mean booking hotel rooms. Every trade show you attend should have a marketing plan that extends both before and after the show.
Some ideas for trade show marketing include:
- A series of social posts letting your contacts know you will attend
- Blogs covering details of the show
- Automated email workflows to show attendees
- Custom landing page designs for the trade show
- Personalized follow-up emails
You also want to be sure to research who exactly is going to be in attendance. And expecting someone to drop by your booth is like expecting the suspect to walk right in and confess -- you're going to need to do a little interrogation first. That doesn't mean badgering the prospect you want to meet, but it does mean setting up a time to talk to them well before the day of the show.
Get the Jury on Your Side
One mistake a lot of defense attorneys make is underestimating Jack McCoy.
One mistake many trade show attendees make is overestimating their ability to make new contacts at a trade show. Instead, use this time to get the jury (e.g., the people you already know, your contacts, prospects, and customers) on your side. Plan a time to meet with them over coffee or ask them to stop by your booth. Nurturing these relationships is the best way to get a lot of value out of your trade show experience.
There wasn't a closing argument that Abbie Carmichael couldn't take a bite out of. Channel her ferocity to make the most of your tradeshow engagements.
Speaking engagements - from keynotes to educational presentations - can be a great way to save some money on a trade show booth while still getting a lot of the benefits of attending. Consider arranging speaking engagements for yourself or your team to show off your knowledge and establish your company's thought leadership.
Wrap Things Up
At the end of the episode - that is, at the end of the day - it's important to assess just how successful you were.
You won't get to toss back a scotch with Adam Schiff, but you can sit down with your team and evaluate the quality of the leads you managed to generate to determine whether you got your money's worth out of your attendance.
And just for fun: