When budgets are tight and decisions have to be made on what are the best ways to spend the years' marketing budget, making a decision on whether or not to attend/market at a tradeshow is always up for debate. To show or not to show, that is the question. Is that the best way to spend your company's money and find cost effective ways to market the upcoming show?
Traci Browne author of The Social Trade Show, writes on one of her recent posts:
Depending on what your goals are you may want to have a trade show exhibit at a national show or start with a regional or local show with a small table top displays. Regional and local shows tend to be much less expensive than national shows. A local show may cost only $500 to exhibit while a national show can run starting at $2500 for just the 10 square feet of space. If you are looking to expand your sales efforts beyond your regional area then, of course, the national show is for you. But if you don t have the resources to follow-up on leads across the country then as tempting as it is to go with the national show, you may be wasting your money.
You also want to make sure the attendees of the show match your demographic. If you know your sales team needs to call on senior level executives and middle management attends the show you are looking at, you may want to think twice. You need to decide if exposure to the decision influencers, not the decision makers, is worth the expenditure. Every show should provide you with audience demographics. It s important to find out if they use an outside auditing company for their data. You don t want to take the show management s marketing department s word for who is attending the show. What you may get is inflated numbers as well as inflated demographics. I usually recommend a company attend a show before exhibiting to get a lay of the land.
So the cost of acquiring your space has been decided upon. It's a big expense along with the cost of getting staff to the event, food and lodging. After that, marketing for the trade show is next on the list of priorities.
If you re marketing a trade show, social media sites allow you to reach people who would likely never hear your ads on TV, radio and other traditional medium. Not only is social media virtually unlimited when it comes to reaching the masses, this form of advertising is considerably cheaper than other forms of commercials. Here s how to get the most media bang for your trade show marketing buck.
Before the Trade Show
Image via Flickr by Franco Bouly
Of course, all of these social media sites are useful before, during and after the event, but here s where to put the maximum effort at each step along the way.
1. Set Up a Facebook Events Page
Over half the teenagers and adults in the U.S. have Facebook accounts. It s free to set up an events page on Facebook where everyone who Likes your page receives regular updates from you.
2. Send Out TwtVites
Like event invitations on Facebook, TwtVites are a powerful way to build interest in the event. Host retweet contests to add new followers and generate more buzz around the event.
Not only that, but your sales staff can be out there in the social media networks, connecting with people that would be potential customers and/or attendees. Besides the time invested in the employee working the social networks to connect with people, it is an incredibly low cost marketing channel. One of the best social media channels to find those people is Twitter:
Trade shows and expos build customer relationships, introduce potential new customers to your business and give your company a real face, along with names, which customers can relate to.
Twitter is literally a zero cost way to make your trade show appearance a resounding success.
Below are seven steps to take on Twitter to make your appearance everything it can be:
1. Announce Your Trade Show on TweVite
Tweet Invitation Photo via Shutterstock
A successful trade show display exhibit is like any other marketing campaign it s important to build interest before the event, during it and afterwards.
As soon as you book your booth, send out TweVites to your customers and let them know what booth you ll be in and what you re offering there.
2. Network With Others in the Show
Network Photo via Shutterstock
Don t just depend on TweVites to bring customers in. Take the extra step and begin networking with others involved in the trade show.
Be willing to get out interesting information on the other vendors and they ll think of you when someone comes by their booth or business in need of something you have to offer.
3. Host a Retweet Contest
Retweet Photo via Shutterstock
Offer a price or discount for the Twitter follower who retweets your posts about the trade show the most times.
Making those small actions can develop a growing group of targeted individuals who are now warm or hot prospects because of social media marketing. Giving your sales staff a better chance of closing a sale which results in a better ROI.