Everyone is anxious to return to in-person events—and for the regular routines of pre-pandemic life. For industries like ours, that includes trade shows because they provide a unique opportunity to interact with our market.
This year, TPM is back at Long Beach (and offers a sort of pre-show, TPMTech.) The supply chain and logistics community will come together again to see their partners face to face and take in arguably the best educational content of any maritime or shipping event, anywhere.
If you are exhibiting, it’s a big investment. So, as a marketer, you have a lot you may need to accomplish… which can include goals such as generating new leads and deepening relationships, building brand awareness on a big stage, or perhaps launching a new product.
The Work You Do Before and After the Show Determine Your ROI
Everything marketing should have a measurable ROI, and a trade show like TPM is no exception. So, taking steps to ensure you are prepared is vital. Achieving success starts well before the event itself.
One of the most important steps prior to any show is leveraging the power of your email database of industry professionals. An email campaign is an effective, low-cost way to drive traffic to your booth. However, instead of blasting the same email to everyone on your list, you want to give thought to specifically who you email and what the purpose of each email should be.
You want to craft and optimize emails that suit specific segments of your list. Here are some ideas:
Last year’s attendees. This list assumes you’re keeping track of who attended each previous year. Tell them you miss them and invite them back. Many shows publish past attendee lists on their site.
Targeted prospects. The trade show may be relevant to only a portion of your list, so only send an email targeting that segment. Use specific keywords and give them a reason to respond to you.
Current local customers. This list is best suited to current clients who live close to the trade show venue. A personalized email letting the customer know you would like the chance to meet face to face can be very effective.
Your entire list. This goes against the idea of being targeted… but sometimes a little humble-brag and being seen isn’t the worst approach.
PRO-TIP: Successful trade show exhibitors understand they need to compete to get the attention of attendees. Data from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) shows that 76% of trade show attendees use pre-show information to schedule an agenda.
Building brand awareness with a successful email campaign is a crucial first step to maximizing your trade show ROI.
Trade Show Follow-Up
Your work isn’t done when you dismantle your booth. Now you need to nurture the leads you found there since getting someone’s business card doesn’t guarantee instant engagement.
Try to follow these initial steps with your leads.
Develop A Campaign to Nurture Leads. Your leads are at the top of the sales funnel, and there’s a good chance very few of them are ready for a sales conversation. An excellent first step is a personal email reminding them how you got their name to warm things back up. Consider developing an email campaign that will lead them to an eventual sale since early pressure could cost you the lead.
Make Personal Connections. Everyone on your team should connect with people they spoke with during the trade show. This could be by email or LinkedIn. The goal is to build individual relationships with people, not companies.
Trade shows are an excellent way to market your brand and sell your product. But like many things, you only get back what you put into it. Smart companies maximize ROI by realizing the value of pre- and post-show marketing.