Yes, trade shows are a vital part of almost every organizations Marketing mix. 2020 saw the Trade show activity shrink by nearly 80%, so many organizations had to quickly discover new Marketing Strategy tactics to deploy to help generate leads, build brand awareness, or educate on new product developments. Here we will discuss how to quickly adapt to the lack of in-person events, with Digital Marketing Strategy adjustments.
Consider Hosting a Virtual Event:
Hosting an online virtual event can be a demanding and daunting task. However if done properly you can re-engage with your audience in a virtual setting that still enables your sales force a chance to network with accounts they’d normally see on the show floor. Webinars and virtual workshops can be a great way to build an audience, as well as stay engaged with an existing audience. Many platforms allow for a web-based virtual environment that foster higher levels of engagement. The key to hosting a virtual event is preparation and execution of content that will keep your audience’s attention for more than a few minutes. Some things to consider incorporating:
- Live break-out video or chat sessions with your in-house “experts”
- Consider a fun engaging game or contest area that attendees can enter. For example have a pre-recorded video of a bar tender showing how to mix a Mai-tai or other cocktail, hire a magician to show how to do a card or magic trick. Something fun that allows attendees to take a virtual break.
- Consider designing a virtual booth to showcase products
- If your product is large equipment that normally would be on a booth, consider rendering it in a 3D environment so users can manipulate and view it virtually.
- Pre-recording a keynote is recommended so you don’t have to deal with the potential setbacks that a Live-stream can have if you have bandwidth, or time-zone differences.
Follow up existing relationships or leads:
The lack of trade shows doesn’t mean there aren’t dormant leads from prior conferences out there. Consider a lead nurturing campaign to re-target prior conference or trade show attendees. Re-connect in new ways:
- Email marketing blasts to prior conference leads to keep them up to date.
- Follow up prior leads with a telemarketing call and email follow up
- Consider Geo-fencing, or retro-geofencing the venue where your last event was held. Targeting ads to those prior attendees on their mobile devices. New to Geofencing? Here’s a bit more info
- LinkedIn sponsored advertising. You can create a “look-alike” audience in LinkedIN to target similar prospects and buyers.
Re-visit your “bling” or give-aways to help redirect traffic to a landing page
Nearly every organization has branded giveaways, apparel, and gifts that they use as a branded reminder of a booth visit or sales call. Re-consider an active campaign that has you mailing these items with a specific call to action for a client or prospect. For example if you have a cyber-security product that you are trying to gain market share with, consider sending a wireless charger that says something like “let us help re-charge your cyber security policies”. Include educational material with the give-away that drives the prospect to a specific landing page you have created for that campaign. This allows you to measure results with google analytics or other Marketing automation platforms.
LinkedIN: Many organizations engage in paid promotional advertising on LinkedIN and other platforms. A great feature that is included in LinkedIn’s platform is something called a “look-alike” audience. You can create a “look-alike” audience in LinkedIN to target similar prospects and buyers. For example if you own a list of existing profiled prospects, you can upload this to LinkedIn and create a similar audience based on those profiles and metrics, and expand it. This can be done based on Role, Job Function, Geography, or all of the above.
Trade Associations: Consider expanding paid sponsorship or advertising within your own trade associations. The marketing dollars you may have spent on a trade show can be moved to your advertising budgets, allowing you to canvas more areas with paid sponsorships or advertising in publications or web.
With 85% of all marketing professionals in agreement (via a survey of over 500 Marketing professionals conducted by Exhibitor Magazine) that Trade shows and conferences are vital to their Marketing strategy, we know that shows will resume when it’s safe. In the meantime these minor adjustments to your overall strategy while you wait for the return of events, should enable you to stay engaged, generate more sales leads, and build your brand. For more information on how Apogee can help with your overall strategy, contact us.