Are trade shows still relevant in a modern-day marketing world?

With the proliferation of digital marketing tactics such as geo-targeting and artificial intelligence you may be tempted to reallocate your trade show budget to new media.

But don’t jump the gun on draining your events budget just yet! While you can use tools and tactics to connect with audiences virtually, nothing replaces the power of face-to-face communication to build rapport. But the two, are not mutually exclusive.

Tradeshows are a significant undertaking from the planning, creation of marketing materials, staffing of the stall, travel to the set-up and pack down. To maximise success and make that trade show investment return real value, introduce your brand virtually in the lead up to the event, and always follow through with post-event activity particularly if your goal is to network, generate sales and build long-term customer relationships.

Let people know you’re attending

  • Introduce your brand, products and services
  • Reconnect with prospects
  • Social media, EDMs, you may even consider being an exhibition sponsor

Build your database

Yes, we are talking about what you should be doing before and after the trade show to generate sales but we want to make sure you’re covering the ground work at the show. This means, recording contact details, business names and products of interest. You may do this through incentives such as competitions, raffles, discount offerings or snatching up as many business cards as humanly possible – choose whatever method you like to ensure you can follow up afterwards.

Lead Conversion: pick up the phone and pick it up quickly

Lead conversion: pick up the phone and pick it up quickly

Call your leads within a week following the trade show, your competitors are doing the same so don’t waste any time with your follow ups. Avoid generic greetings and tailor your approach to each individual because the more personable you are, the more likely you are to build a relationship and convert the lead. If possible, have the trade show staff conduct follow-up calls, this can help build on their initial conversation, particularly if your team can remember specifics about that interaction. After the initial follow-up has been conducted, they can be diverted to other members of your sales team if necessary.

Customer relationship management (CRM) and electronic direct mail (EDM)

Patience and persistence

It’s unlikely that one phone call will generate thousands of dollars in sales revenue. Customer relationship management (CRM) and electronic direct mail (EDM) will help with those slow-burn potential clients, if you keep popping up in their inbox you’ll be at the top of their mind when they do make a purchasing decision. Maintain the relationship by consistently offering value, whether it be through information, networking or timely offers of discounts.

Do you think your business is ready for your first trade show? Get started by learning how to design an effective display.