Trade show marketing plays a vital role in gaining an audience for your event, but are you sure you have every corner covered?

What’s Your Trade Show Marketing Campaign Missing?

Trade show marketing plays a vital role in gaining an audience for your event, but are you sure you have every corner covered?

Marketing strategies can always use a little bit of tweaking to improve, and here are a few tips that might help you do so.

1. Enter the digital age
First thing you'll want to do with your marketing strategy is pivot to a digital presence—embrace the internet. Every marketer should have multiple means of spreading information:

  • Blog
  • Social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat)
  • Newsletters
  • Mobile apps (Periscope, event apps)

These four mediums are vital for passing along information, generating interest in your event and cultivating a following. Every marketing campaign should be focused on promoting brand awareness, and digital content is an excellent and affordable way to improve it. Take a look at this tweet from the 2016 NACDS Total Store Expo:

There are a couple of factors working for the show organizer right now with this shared photo:

  • Influential people sharing photos and information about your event.
  • Attendees shown in the photo.
  • A glimpse into what the trade expo will look like.
  • Trending hashtag.
  • Brand recognition.

All of these work in harmony to create a culture for your trade show—but it couldn't have happened if you were still sending out flyers and printed newsletters.

2. Don't make people search for your content
As a rule of thumb, don't expect people to search past the first page for your information. This is why search engine optimization is so important for marketing your trade show. Prospective attendees won't find your content—it should find them.

Event Manager Blog reported that some simple tips for improving SEO off the bat are to make better use of your headers and anchor text. Since search engines run on algorithms, your content's headers or subtitles should be using the <"h1"> code. Bolding the text or making it a larger font size won't do anything to help your search rankings.

Anchor text is a section of the blog that is hyperlinked to a URL. In the past, many companies would go with the cliché, "Contact us here," and link to their contact page. This is outdated—search engines want something original. For example, the next time you're writing an article about how to efficiently tackle complex trade show installations, try linking to the substance of the solution.

These practices should translate to your social media, as well. Hashtags should be something related to your event, easy to remember and simple enough to understand that anyone could figure out what it's referring to. According to Event Farm, nearly half of all marketers have a difficult time using social media effectively. While part of that is just a learning curve, the other part can be largely attributed to navigating it. Spend time on social media understanding what keywords will drive traffic to your Twitter or Facebook page.

Social media is key to a successful digital marketing campaign.Social media is key to a successful digital marketing campaign.

3. Live interaction
Once you have a well-oiled digital marketing campaign on your hands, it's time to put it to work. Research conducted by Wayin found 58 percent of marketers leverage their social media following to drum up traffic during events associated with their target campaign.

If your event isn't the top destination for professionals in its field quite yet, consider piggy-backing off one that is. You won't gain anything by not acknowledging the other trade show's existence, but you stand to pull followers in your direction if you do.

Your social media presence should try and take an authoritative view on everything in the industry. Consequently, sending out a tweet about another big event going on—and using that hashtag—will show new and old followers your commitment to providing them useful information.

This tactic can be extended to your own turf. Live tweet with or post pictures on Facebook during an event of attendees enjoying the experience. This will help you generate comments and likes, gain exposure on the social media landscape and show that your expo is more than just another trade show.

Implementing all of these tactics will drive up your following in no time, and contribute to the brand reputation. Results are best viewed through a long-term lens, so remember that just because you don't have 1,000 followers now, doesn't mean you won't the next time your trade show comes around.

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