Trade shows are a great way to expand your customer base. The key to success at a trade show is strategic marketing before, during and after the event. There are several tools to market your brand, but most of them require a sizeable investment. However, word of mouth is an effective marketing tool that comes free of cost but has the potential to either boost your revenue significantly or alienate future prospects, depending on the experience you create for your visitors.
Here are a few ways you can utilize word of mouth to make your trade show event a great success.
- Marketing Plans Before the Trade Show
Studies suggest that most trade show visitors decide well in advance which of the exhibit booths they want to visit. This means it’s very important to reach out to your potential customers before the event by promoting your business on various social media platforms.
- Share the highlights of your event on your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Create fun stories around all the activities that are going to take place in your trade show booth during the event, be it a new product launch, product demonstration, panel discussion, guest appearances or contests.
- Spend on advertising your event on each of these social media platforms.
- Select your premium product or service and upload a professional video on your YouTube channel.
- If you have a special guest from the industry or a celebrity participating in your panel discussion at the event, share it on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Create a unique hashtag for your company event and use it across all relevant tweets that you post.
- Send out press releases, newsletters, direct mailers to your potential customers.
Your main target should be to generate curiosity and interest before the event. Counting on word of mouth depends on how effectively you can reach out to your target audience.
- Marketing Plans During the Trade Show
This is the most important phase of shaping your trade show success story. If the trade show attendees don’t have a positive experience at your booth, then you’ll run the risk of bad word of mouth about your brand both during and after the event. This can affect your business reputation and you’ll lose prospects in your upcoming events. Here are some ways to make your show time a hit with attendees.
- Hire professional photographers and videographers to cover all activities in your trade show booth. Shoot interviews with booth staff, and your attendees. Get pictures of your attendees (with their consent) when they interact with your products and booth staffs. This can make them feel important. You can use the photographs and the videos on your social media pages and website during the event.
- Appoint booth staff or an employee to go live on Facebook and post live Tweets. This will keep your prospects informed about the activities and they can visit your booth.
- Reward your attendees for sharing your exhibit displays and product demonstrations on social media. You can give out freebies, gift cards, giveaways or promotional codes.
- Make your product demos, booth theme, and trade show displays unique and appealing. Give a reason to your attendees for sharing information about your booth and products with their friends.
- Marketing Plans After the Trade Show
A lot of exhibitors ignore the importance of after-show promotions that focus on retaining the attendees’ interest and attention. They’re important to make your event memorable long after it’s over.
- Contact the attendees and ask about their experiences and suggestions regarding your exhibit booth. Ask them to rate you on your Facebook page and write reviews on your website.
- Send flyers, brochures, DVDs of your exclusive product demos, gift cards, etc. to their addresses as a token of gratitude for visiting your booth and sharing your exhibit activities on social media.
Follow these tips and make your own marketing strategies according to your business goals and objectives. Remember to cater to your target prospects. You can easily draw a crowd to your booth but your success is measured only by the number of qualified leads you generate from that crowd. Plan your word of mouth marketing strategies accordingly so that you just don’t end up pulling irrelevant traffic.