Trade shows are back baby and we’re here to tell you about how to maximize your presence to make the most of your investment and time.
Trade shows are a fantastic way to get out and market your product or services and make one-on-one in person connections with your key audiences. Not only that but they also provide a tremendous opportunity to gather valuable insights to inform future products and marketing efforts, and of course, are a great way to capture a ton of content that can be used in marketing efforts throughout the year.
Our team recently had the opportunity to attend two recent trade shows with our client, Malco Products, SBC. As one of the nation’s leading tool manufacturers for the building trades, we teamed up with Malco’s marketing team to help launch and promote new products at both the AHR Expo (the “World’s Largest Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Show”) in Atlanta, GA and the International Roofing Expo in Dallas, TX. While each of these shows targeted a slightly different audience and segment, each presented a unique opportunity to showcase what sets Malco apart from its competition in the space, drive product interest and sales and raise visibility of the Malco brand.
So how do you make the most of trade shows when it comes to marketing and PR? Here are three tips and takeaways from our recent events that you can use at an upcoming trade show or event:
Tip 1: It’s All About the Content
As a company that sells tools, it’s no surprise that one of the most powerful marketing tactics for the company is to demonstrate its products on-site to attendees. This not only showcases the product’s benefits and features in action, but it also provides an opportunity to gather on-the-spot content that can be used both in real-time and after the show to promote a product or service.
Our team was busy capturing photos, videos and shooting Facebook Live videos to build awareness of Malco’s presence at the show and to also generate excitement and awareness for these products to key audiences who were not at the show—all of which we’ll be using in marketing materials for months to come.
Bellmont Partners Best Practice: Plan ahead to make sure to have a dedicated team member on site who can focus on capturing social content at the show, as this sometimes can get lost or overlooked in the business of working the booth. Create a shot list of photos and videos you want to take before the show, but also be on the lookout for those moments to capture and tell good stories. Get a good mix of the offering, the people and the show itself. Then think about how you can use every piece of content in social media posts, YouTube videos, blogs, ads and emails to maximize your efforts!
Tip 2: Connect with Influencers
When it comes to working with influencers, it’s all about building relationships and establishing mutually valuable partnerships—and what better way to do that then in person! Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to meet influencers from across the country and to authentically connect with them. By personally inviting influencers to your trade show booth, giving them one-on-one time with key executives, and showing them your product in action, you’re investing time into building a deeper connection with these critical marketing partners.
Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere any time soon. So, if it is not part of your strategy, you might want to reconsider shifting to prioritize building genuine relationships that can garner heartfelt recommendations. Having a strong relationship with these partners is crucial for your influencer marketing strategy. Plus—as an extra bonus—by connecting with these folks at the show, it’s a great way for them to gather and share valuable content from your booth with their fans. A win-win!
Bellmont Partners Best Practice: Research the influencers in your industry before attending and send a message to see if they’ll be attending the show and if they’d be interested in getting an exclusive look at your product, or better yet, a one-on-one conversation with a key executive. Be sure to send a follow up thank you note! And never expect an influencer to work for free – they’re building a brand too!
Tip 3: Find Creative Ways to Encourage Social Sharing
While capturing and sharing your own content from a trade show is great, having others share your content is even better!
To help booth visitors share images and content from the Malco , we helped Malco create an interactive photo wall designed to engage attendees and encourage social sharing. One of the walls of Malco’s trade show booth encouraged visitors to take a photo and post it on social media, tagging the company, to be entered for the chance to win a larger prize. Plus, everyone who snapped a pic also got instant gratification with a smaller tool prize right in the booth. We also provided partners and staff with sample posts to share across their own networks to get the word out.
Bellmont Partners Best Practice: Embrace user-generated content (UGC) as a way to amplify your trade show impact. Consider all the partners you have who can share to their networks and create unique and engaging experiences at the booth to encourage attendees to get in on the social action.
Trade shows are the perfect way to hear first-hand from your customers about how they use your products and services and to gather content for marketing collateral. And while these conversations may happen at the show, it is essential to extend the life of your trade show beyond the actual venue. Maximize your impact by sending out post-show letters, implementing a digital ad campaign targeted at attendees and use the content, insights and stories heard on the show floor on your social channels including social posts, blogs and newsletters. Don’t forget to share internally! No matter what you plan to do, be sure to map out a plan to make your trade show presence a success, long after the doors close.
Interested in learning how to maximize your trade show presence? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.