Most people put a lot of focus on the start date of their Trade Show.
They mark it big on their calendar and circle it in red, but the days and weeks leading up to the show are just as important and arguably more important.
Yes, there are a ton of items to cross off your checklist before that big day comes but I am pleading with you to also focus on some of those most important and over-looked items to draw in as many visitors to your booth as possible once the doors do open.
Simply calling the show and reserving your booth space won’t give you nearly the desired results as taking a proactive approach before the show.
It’s really just half the battle. You paid for the space, now let’s optimize it’s potential.
Make a list of marketing tasks to being starting 2-3 months before the show.
These may include:
#1- Pre-Show Email Sequence
An Email sequence that talks to prospective attendees letting them know you will be at the show with your booth number and exciting news to share about new products, new personnel, etc.
Make sure to make the announcement rich with valuable information that will entice people to make a trip over to your booth.
If you use Gmail, you can use an extension called MixMax among others that do a stellar job of creating well-timed email sequences to your most valuable contacts letting them know you’ll be exhibiting at the show and where to find you.
If you are already familiar with another email sending service, check and see if they offer sequence functionality. This string of emails each building on the last can be a productive way of spreading the word.
#2- Mail Postcards to your High Value List
Mail Postcards with your Exhibitor announcement to current customers and other high-value contacts. Whether you purchase the list of attendees from the show or have a list of your own, send out 1, 2, or 3 postcards similar to the email sequence with your booth information and how they can find you.
You can use printers such as Uprinting, Moo, GotPrint or many others to easily create and send postcards directly to your list. Some offer a service where they will mail to your list for you for a small fee.
Heck, you might even get one of our postcards, here is a new batch being sent out:
Try to include an offer to entice them into your booth. I have seen where giving away hats (or other promotional products) with your logo on them can be a great attention driver.
#3- Add the Show and Your Booth Number in Your Email Signature
This one might seem small, but as you can imagine we work with mostly exhibitors and I am always impressed with the ones that add the show they will be attending along with their booth number in their email signature.
It’s a gentle reminder that they will be there and to stop by if you get the chance.
It takes all of 5 minutes and costs a whopping $0!
#4- Creating a Re-Targeting Campaign in Google Ads
If you are already using Google Ads (formerly Adwords) this one will be a cinch.
If not no worries, it doesn’t take much time and is well-worth the effort. Total set up time is about 15 minutes.
Here is a quick guide:
Step 1: Go into your Google Analytics and click on ‘Settings’ gear icon like this:
Step 2: Go to ‘Audience Definitions’ like this:
Step 3: Create a New Audience Name like “all visitors”. This can be which ever selection you want but in this example I am selecting all visitors to the site. You may wish to narrow this down to certain visitors of which you have MANY options.
Step 4: This is where you can create your audience based on the parameter you choose (it’s very powerful and you can read more online about this).
You can also select a ‘Membership Duration’. This is how long your site visitors will stay on the ‘audience’ list before they are automatically dropped off.
This is dependent on how far out into the future your show is, but try to set this up the sooner the better so your audience is larger + Google requires a certain number to be on the list before your ads will run for privacy reasons (It’s somewhere around 150 for re-targeting display ads).
Step 5: Save new ‘Audience Definition’. This will not only save your selection and name, but this is where you will want to associate it with a Google Ads account. If you don’t already have one you will need to first create one. If you do have one and it is already linked with your Google Analytics account, make sure to select it so that when you head over to your Google Ads Dashboard which I will show you next, it will appear.
Step 6: Head over to your Google Ads Dashboard and locate your audience. That’s it, you can now create a ‘Display Ad’ and select this list to begin re-targeting your website visitors leading up to your show.
This is a great way to stay in front of your audience and create awareness before your next show.
#5- You’ve Heard it a Million Times, but Yes… Social Media
Create a simple Social Media strategy leading up to your show. Find out the show’s hashtag that other attendee’s and exhibitor’s are following on Twitter and Instagram and create several posts a week with those hashtags that promote your brand and products.
It’s completely free, so why not. (except the time of course!)
Social Media works great for some industry’s and less-so for other industrys so take stock of what type of business you’re in when deciding on a social media strategy that works for you.
I hope this provides some helpful tools & insights to you as your next trade show comes barreling down.
Try to make the most of it leading up to the show and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results that you can bring with limited effort.
Have another strategy that has worked well for you? I’d love to hear it. Reach out below.