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3 trade show strategies to maximize ROI

Posted December 13, 2013  |  written by  |  The Executive Corner
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A trade show is the ultimate marketing opportunity–a chance for you to meet prospects face-to-face, to launch a new product or service, and to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads.

Meeting these objectives requires a sound strategy–and that’s what this week’s Executive Corner is all about: Three distinct strategies to maximize the effort and money you invest in the event. Here’s how to go beyond the traditional ‘freebie giveaway’ activities and create meaningful experiences for event attendees.

1. Engage attendees with multi-sensory communications

You can never initiate too many impressions with trade show participants. The more they experience your brand–and the more senses that experience employs–the greater your chances are of being remembered.

  • Multimedia displays capture attention. Whether it’s a professionally edited video or a dynamic slideshow presentation, combining images, text, and music
  • Trade show giveaways create connections. A smartly-designed product connects with attendees on multiple levels, and is the only advertising medium that earns a ‘Thank you!’ from recipients
  • Give them other reasons to linger. Tastes and smells–from healthy snacks or aromatherapy oils–can encourage attendees to stay at your booth longer than they might normally would

2. Utilize the tiered incentive giveaway strategy

The days of giving away cheap pens and plastic handled bags to show attendees are over. Work with a promotions expert to create 3 tiers of cool custom promotional products.

  • Ask questions before choosing products. Is there a theme for the tradeshow? What is your budget? Are you giving away a product that will be remembered? Is the “wow” factor important to you for the giveaway selected?
  • Select products with gradually increasing value. This practice separates high-rollers and loyal customers from ‘first-timers’–and encourages those newbies to get with your program
  • Be savvy with design and copy. Choose themes based on industry characteristics–copy should include URLs, social media handles, and QR barcodes to move prospects from the physical to the digital medium

3. Follow up with prospects after the event

Follow-up is one of those duties that can fall by the wayside when the event is over and the real world kicks back in–yet, it might be the one activity that makes the entire trade show efforts payoff. So many organizations put everything they have into the event–from making contacts to pitching products and services. But without follow-up, potential prospects fall off the grid when the event ends.

  • Social media makes follow-up infinitely easier. Exchanging event gifts for ‘likes’ on your favorite social channel not only works, but it broadens the digital imprint of your brand and encourages more referrals
  • Use an email campaign to nurture leads post-event. Creating an email campaign empowers you to create focused messages for prospects across the spectrum of interest in your organization
  • Phone power follow-up is a must. To differentiate yourself from the barrage of social media and email messaging prospects receive every day, a phone call is always a nice change of pace.

Again, the goal of your trade show strategy should be to separate your organization from the pack–and a great way to do that is to create multi-sensory experiences for trade show attendees that keep your brand on their minds long after the event is over.

Nobody prepares you for a trade show like Team InkHead. Not only can we show you how to use promotional products to maximize your investment, we can show you how to qualify your leads and measure your success (call for details!). Contact one of our promotions experts for more information–or just visit our trade show event page at InkHead.com.
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