Travelling to a trade show or conference is not cheap. Besides marketing materials, the cost of a booth, travel for at least a few associates, and travel expenses, you are taking a few days off from actually doing your job. If you are going to make all of these sacrifices, you will most certainly want to know for sure that you won’t be wasting your time. Here are 3 easy ways to make sure you make more money than you spend the next time your company attends an event.
Hopefully you are already tracking the source of every lead your company receives. If you aren’t, there are a few other problems with your marketing efforts (but that is another problem for another article). This includes any business cards that people give you. Use an app like Google Goggles to add each business card into your smartphone’s address book and don’t forget to tag each contact with information like where you met that person and a little about your conversation.
Events are often crowded and noisy. Every exhibitor is scrambling for the attention of a limited audience. If you want attendees to notice your booth, offer them a tangible reason to stop by. Send out a direct mailer and an email campaign prior to the show. Encourage attendees to take advantage of a sale, an exclusive product, or even a unique piece of swag. Baking cookies or handing out free candy might get you some foot traffic but just like any marketing effort, you want people to stop by your booth who are the most likely to want your product or service. Don’t resort to cheap tricks.
There are a nearly unlimited number of ways to use social networks to increase your brand’s footprint at a show. The event you are attending should be using a hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Make sure you send out posts and Tweets using that hashtag to let everyone at the event know what your booth is offering. You should also have a hashtag for anyone who stops by your booth to use. Also, don’t forget to have QR codes and NFC tags for smartphone users. Any pre-show material you send out should definitely include links to your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. A strong social media presence will help you follow up on leads, interact with attendees (even when they aren’t at your booth), and ultimately increase the return on the investment you made to attend your next show.