How to Build and Execute an Effective Trade Show Marketing Strategy

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Trade Show Marketing Strategy

Over 60% of marketers use trade shows to capture fresh leads. Another 80% generate sales through event marketing. Meanwhile, 52% of business leaders say events drive a higher ROI than other channels. Read on to know more on how to build and execute an effective trade show marketing strategy.

If you’re planning an upcoming trade show, great! About 50% of event planners start planning six to 12 months in advance, though. Are you already marketing your upcoming trade show?

If not, here are the 10 trade show marketing tips you need! With these tips, you can build a buzz for your event, then draw in more attendees.

Ready to start marketing? Get going with these 10 easy trade show marketing ideas today!

1. Establish Your Goals

Before you develop your trade show marketing strategy, you need to set your goals. Otherwise, you’ll fail to use the right tactics to accomplish those goals.

Establishing goals from the very beginning will keep your entire marketing team on the same page.

Set goals for your marketing team. Make sure they’re:

  • Specific 
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Results-Driven
  • Timely

Separate your goals into two categories. You’ll want to set goals for planning the event as well as the trade show itself.

On the marketing side, you might want to:

  • Generate awareness
  • Increase the number of attendees
  • Establish your credibility
  • Research the attendees and speakers
  • Prepare a list of questions you’ll need to answer

For the event, you might want to increase product sales or encourage sign-ups. Maybe you want to establish your credibility as a thought leader in the industry.

Set a key performance indicator (KPI) for each goal. That way, you can track your progress. If you’re not meeting your KPIs, you’ll know to adjust your strategy.

Once you determine your goals, make a list of everything you need to accomplish those goals. For example, you might decide you need engaging collateral to build credibility. Maybe you want to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to build awareness.

Either way, you can create a plan for using the rest of these trade show marketing tips. 

2. Research Your Audience

In order to develop a strong marketing strategy, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. A broad message might not appeal to your customers. Instead, use personalization to better appeal to a specific group.

About 84% of people want to be treated like a person, not a number. Another 74% get frustrated when content doesn’t appeal to their interests.

In fact, 33% of consumers will abandon a business because personalization is lacking. 

To personalize your marketing strategy, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. Determine your audience based on:

  • Pain points
  • Age
  • Buying behaviors
  • Interests
  • Hobbies
  • Location
  • Education
  • Household income
  • Marital status
  • Career
  • Language

Establish a buyer persona for each group. Then, determine where those customers spend their time. How do they speak, too?

Use the information you gather to personalize your trade show marketing strategy.

3. Establish a Budget

Before you rush to start bringing collateral, take a moment to consider your budget. How much can you spend on marketing? How much will you spend on the event itself?

Break your overall budget into categories. For example, you can have a separate budget for digital marketing versus print materials. 

4. Check Out the Competition

Did one of your competitors host a similar trade show recently? Try to learn what you can about their event. What marketing strategies helped them draw in an audience?

Which tactics seemed to fall flat?

You can learn from their mistakes. Make sure to look at trade shows that appealed to your target audience. 

5. Mobile Optimize Offerings

Attendees probably won’t want to carry a lot of physical pamphlets, business cards, and brochures around. Instead, make life easier for them. Optimize your offerings for their mobile devices.

You can send them an email during the event or post QR codes around the trade show. Direct customers to your website and urge them to complete a specific action.

Don’t forget to create a mobile website for your trade show, too. Your mobile website can boost admissions. 

You can also create an event page on your website and social media. Create a page that’s dedicated only to the event. Then, make sure it’s optimized for smaller screens.

Take the time to improve the user experience as well. Otherwise, people will leave without signing up for the event. For example, make sure the page loads quickly on every device.

Add an interesting, attention-grabbing description, along with the necessary details. Then, add a vibrant “Register” button to boost admissions. 

6. Set a Call to Action

Make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is compelling and concise. Create a landing page on your website dedicated solely to that CTA. 

For example, do you want attendees to sign up for a meeting with your sales team?

You can also create a page for contest entries or newsletter sign-ups. Then, feature the same CTA on your collateral to create a cohesive experience. 

7. Prepare Collateral

Create branded collateral for the event, including:

  • An email marketing campaign
  • Social media posts
  • Samples
  • Giveaways
  • Business cards
  • Display boards
  • Brochures
  • Banners

Make sure to create mobile versions as well.

8. Stay Social

Use social media as part of your trade show marketing strategy as well. Social media can help you engage potential attendees. They can tell others about your upcoming event, too.

Create polls, animations, infographics, and other fun posts in the weeks before the trade show.

Use live videos to answer questions and leverage the fear of missing out.

9. Send a Press Release

Adding a press release to your trade show marketing strategy can boost awareness as well.

Choose trade associations and industry publications that are relevant to your niche.

10. Prepare a Post Mortem

Once the event is over, review the results. Did you accomplish your goals? Consider the ROI from your trade show marketing strategy as well.

Was your marketing strategy a worthwhile investment?

You can use this data to make more informed decisions for your next event. 

Make It Memorable: 10 Tips for Effective Trade Show Marketing

Boost awareness for your upcoming trade show! With these 10 effective trade show marketing tips, you can build a buzz for your event. Then, you can sign-up more attendees than ever before!

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Explore our latest guides today to get started.

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