One of the most common mistakes businesses make in thinking about marketing is to view individual initiatives as “either/or” opportunities. We talk a lot about trade show marketing here at Display America, but we know that an effective marketing plan goes beyond trade shows and events. In fact, it considers how a variety of marketing initiatives can work together to increase brand awareness and attract more business.
Read on to learn how your trade shows and events can and should work together with other marketing initiatives, including social media, your website, and printed materials.
Social Media and Trade Show Marketing
Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or some other network, social media marketing is a powerful way to reach your target audience. Plus, it’s cost-effective—accounts are free to create and advertisements are typically inexpensive to run. However, social media accounts really only work to your advantage as you grow your online following organically. Fortunately, events are a great way to do that.
Use your next trade show or event as an opportunity to increase your online following. The best ideas are ones that not only direct visitors back to your social media accounts but encourage their followers to discover and follow you as well. For example, use a photo booth, photo competition, or photo scavenger hunt to get visitors to your booth to post pictures of your display for a chance to win a prize. Remind them to tag your company profile or use your company’s hashtag to ensure their followers can find you easily. You can also use your own social media accounts to expand your online presence. When you gather information from booth visitors, ask for their social media accounts or handles.
As you share photos, testimonials, or videos of your display online, tag the people featured in your posts. After the event, connect with those you’ve met online by following, liking, and commenting on their content.
Of course, the advantages work both ways, as social media is also a powerful tool to maximize your ROI at any one event. See if your next trade show has a unique hashtag, for example, then use it before and during the event to make it easier for other attendees to learn about your display and your brand. If you aren’t sure what to post, photos and videos that provide a sneak peek of the brand experience you’ve created are always a great idea. Invite your own followers and their friends to connect with you face to face by creating a Facebook event to spread the word and build excitement around an upcoming trade show. Are you inviting a guest speaker to share as part of your brand experience? Be sure to interact with them on Twitter to reach their followers as well.
Websites and Trade Show Marketing
In many cases, your website is the front door of your organization. Whether a new prospect meets you at a trade show or finds you in a list of search engine results, they’ll often use your website to decide whether or not they want to do business with you.
Ensure your website and trade show marketing initiatives work together by providing an online experience that’s a continuation of the great brand experience visitors had with you in person. One way to ensure this is a seamless transition and reduce the likelihood of new prospects drop off after visiting your website is to create a special landing page for the event.
For many brands, an online blog is a key component of their website marketing strategy. Blogs help you engage with customers and prospects and boost your SEO, and events provide a great deal of material for quality blog posts. Before the event, write posts announcing your theme, introducing your guest speaker, or creating buzz for a special giveaway or competition you’ll host at the event.
After an event is over, plan posts that recap the event. If you meet someone who is particularly excited about your product or service, ask if you can share their story in your blog with a testimonial or case study. When used wisely, your website and trade show marketing initiatives lead prospects to one another and, ultimately, to you as their preferred solution.
While websites and social media are powerful marketing tools in a digital age, they’ll never be able to completely replace the unique face-to-face encounter that an event provides. Similarly, printed materials will always remain part of a well-rounded marketing strategy, no matter how advanced technology becomes. We may be in a digital age, but many leading brands continue to use direct mail or postcard marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy—because they know it still works. Use these “old school” methods to improve the ROI of your next event and vice versa. Before a trade show or event, a direct mail campaign is a great way to spread the word and invite people to experience your brand in person. After the event is over, send out another round of postcards to follow up or share special offers to the prospects you’ve met.
Business cards and flyers are further examples of printed materials that will never go out of style. Remember to keep your branding consistent across these materials and your trade show, and both initiatives will work together to promote brand awareness and build trust with potential customers.
Designing a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
Does your trade show marketing serve as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy? Do you want to learn more about using trade shows and events to strengthen your other marketing initiatives? Our trade show specialists can help you ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing strategy—not just your next event. Contact us today to learn more.