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Trade Show Marketing: How to Drive Attendees to Your Booth

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Trade Show Marketing: How to Drive Attendees to Your Booth

Two Rivers Marketing

Two Rivers Marketing
Nov 16, 2022

Attendees interacting at a B2B tradeshow booth.

Trade shows are an essential and valuable part of many industries — so marketing at them is very important to businesses that are looking to stand out. To have a strong presence at a trade show, businesses must know the right tactics to promote their company and products. Consider trends, messaging, and your target audience to help ensure a successful show.

Months (and sometimes years!) before a trade show even begins, identify and understand your desired outcomes. Sometimes the goal is lead generation, while other times it’s delighting key customers that schedule meetings. Sometimes it may even be to sell products right at the booth.

It’s also vital to understand how media efforts will play into your overall marketing strategy. At Two Rivers Marketing, our trade show planning — especially for shows like CONEXPO-CON/AGG — includes many different teams. An integrated trade show marketing plan should always incorporate social media, strategic communications, creative, and other disciplines. This helps ensure a comprehensive strategy that will deliver on your goals and objectives.

Once goals are established, it is critical to reach out to advertising vendors. These may include advertising reps affiliated with the show organizers, trade publications within the industry, or trade show advertising companies. For major trade shows, popular advertising spaces can quickly sell out, so contact vendors early in the planning process so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.

Pre-Show

Pre-show tactics typically drive interest, with the ultimate goal of attendees scheduling meetings with you or adding you to their show planner. Here are a few ways to engage with your audience before a show.

Awareness Drivers

Just like with more traditional campaigns, you can use high-frequency/reach tactics to alert potential attendees of your presence at the show. Digital display banners, email marketing (including owned channels and working with a partner or vendor), and social media can all be effective ways to market to a large audience. Often, Two Rivers Marketing looks first to trade publications that have show packages or show guides. Additionally, the show’s official publisher may offer new product showcases, special sections, show previews, and other marketing opportunities.

High-Impact Activities

If you are targeting a small audience and want to make sure they engage with you, try a custom activity to draw them in. Sending these VIP audiences customized mailers and notes, personalized emails, or invitations to a special event like an exclusive happy hour can help show these individuals how important they are to your business.

During-Show

While trade shows can be a bit hectic for exhibitors and attendees alike, you can still find ways to drive traffic to your booth. Here are some of our top recommendations.

Geo-fencing at Show

One trend in trade show marketing that is gaining ground is geo-fencing. This is when a digital “fence” is drawn around a specific location, such as the convention center or hotel, and device IDs are captured within that fence to build a targeting pool. From there, you can serve those users display ads across the web and social media. Since geo-fencing relies on location, it’s a great way to reach trade show attendees.

Email Advertising

Many trade publications send daily alert emails or e-newsletters during shows to keep their audiences updated on trade show happenings. These e-newsletters often provide sponsorship opportunities and serve high-impact display ads. Since the audience for these communications is almost entirely composed of industry members and professionals, it can be a highly effective way to gain visibility for your brand.

Specialty Displays and Sponsorships

Show sponsorships and floor graphics at the show can keep your brand top of mind for attendees. But they can come with a high price tag and can also be overlooked during busy shows, so we recommend these as strong secondary considerations.

Post-Show

After the show ends, you can reach out to those who attended to reiterate messaging or follow up on their interest. Below we outline a few ways to re-engage attendees.

Retargeting With Geo-fencing

With the audience pool you built at the show, you can continue to target attendees with display or video ads. We recommend sending users to a custom landing page that highlights what they may have missed at your booth. This tactic not only re-engages attendees, but also keeps your brand top of mind for weeks after the show.

Post-Show Trade Publications

Many trade publications have post-show issues that you can use to remind attendees why they visited your booth in the first place or show someone what they missed out on.

Email and Social Media

Be sure to promote photos and videos captured at the show through your owned channels, such as social media and email. You’ll also want to follow up with any leads generated at the show through email or a phone call, if appropriate.

Implementing these marketing strategies will help your company make an impact at industry trade shows, reach your target audience, and convey your brand message.

At 2RM, we offer a variety of trade show services, including show strategy, advertising, booth design, trade media outreach, lead generation and follow-up, and more. Contact us to see how we can help you get the most out of your trade shows.


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Two Rivers Marketing is a full-service business-to-business (B2B) marketing communications agency. Email us with your thoughts or questions.