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How to excel at B2B trade show marketing

In the B2B world, trade shows play a paramount role in generating leads and attracting potential clients. Unfortunately, the majority of companies don’t understand what it takes to be successful at a trade show or industry event. This causes them to either avoid trade shows altogether or miss out on opportunities to maximize success. Both outcomes are unfortunate and it’s important that you understand some of the best practices.

5 Tips for Successful Tradeshow Marketing

If you want to make your next – or first – trade show a valuable, high-returning experience, it’s imperative that you make wise decisions and avoid debilitating mistakes. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose the Right Shows

The first thing to think about is show selection. While each of the following tips are important, they’re useless if you aren’t at the right trade shows. As a rule of thumb, you should only participate in events where a large number of targeted customers will be in attendance. Trade shows often cost a lot of money and you don’t want to waste your resources targeting the wrong people.

  1. Design a Unique Booth

Showing up at a trade show is only half the battle. Once there, you have to make your presence known amongst the dozens of other businesses in attendance. The best way to do this is by designing a unique, eye-catching booth that grabs the attention of those who pass by. That means choosing a booth, affixing signage, and giving people a reason to step in.

“In today’s world, people are constantly bombarded with advertisements and marketing techniques,” says Hotcards, a Cleveland-based printing company. “Why not stand out with a quick, informative way to get your message across?” They suggest using durable vinyl banners to convey a targeted message. If you have an even larger budget, you may want to consider video displays.

  1. Determine Goals Beforehand

If you want to maximize the opportunities you have, it’s a good idea to determine your trade show goals beforehand. For example, are you trying to close sales, or simply generate leads? Do you want to connect with as many customers as possible, or really hone in on a few quality ones? The goals you set will dictate how you spend your time and resources at the show.

  1. Have a Lead Capture Strategy

People often make the mistake of assuming leads naturally develop at trade shows. While these events are conducive to networking and lead development, you need a specific plan for how you’re going to capture leads. Otherwise, it won’t happen. For example, will you ask people to fill out a name card for a chance to win a prize? Or will you have someone at the front of your booth checking people in? There are plenty of different strategies – just make sure you have one!

  1. Develop a Follow up Plan

Same thing goes with following up after a trade show. There are plenty of options, but you can’t overlook the importance of developing a plan. Common methods involve phone calls, email, direct mail, or even scheduling appointments. If you have the resources, mailing a follow up packet can be a good way to stand out from the competition.

Leverage the Power of Trade Shows

As soon as you get your first taste of the return that trade shows provide, you’ll be amazed that you never utilized these awesome marketing opportunities in the past. And with the tips mentioned in this article, you can ensure B2B trade shows are a valuable component of your overall marketing and lead generation strategies for years to come.