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Introduction To Trade Show Marketing

Updated: February 1, 2023
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Trade shows present a great opportunity to get in front of your target market and make some serious sales. However, they can be expensive to attend. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of attending trade shows and how you can make the most of your investment.

What Are Trade Shows?

Well-executed trade shows give industry professionals and companies a platform to showcase their goods and services, network with potential customers and partners, and keep up to date with the latest industry trends. These events don’t only provide an excellent method for businesses to show off their work, they also offer attendees insight into new products, technologies, and processes. Trade shows are typically hosted in large convention centers or exhibition halls, allowing thousands of people to visit the vendors over the course of several days.

 

History of Trade Shows

Trade shows have existed for centuries, providing a platform for people in a given industry to come together and exchange goods and knowledge. Trade shows provide the opportunity to

  • Make connections
  • Learn more about new products
  • Find potential partners and customers
  • Discover innovations and trends
  • Gain access to new markets
  • Receive direct feedback from customers
  • They are also a great way for companies to promote their own offerings and brand themselves as an industry leader

All of these factors make trade shows an invaluable resource for business owners looking to stay competitive in their field.

COVID-19 Drove Trade Shows to be Virtual

The COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic effect on the world of trade shows. With much of the world under lockdown, in-person events had to be put on hold or drastically changed. Many showroom floors were closed and replaced with virtual events and expositions, while some trade shows were forced to move entirely online. Companies and exhibitors had to find creative ways to stand out, often relying on digital marketing campaigns, webinars, and video content for their promotion. Though these changes were challenging at first, they did offer businesses an opportunity to explore new avenues for growth and engagement in the industry.

Trade Shows Post COVID-19

After being forced to adapt to the new reality of virtual events, many trade shows are beginning to make a comeback. As governments around the world have begun to ease restrictions and more people get vaccinated, in-person events are once again becoming safe and possible. In addition to traditional live shows, a number of hybrid events have emerged that combine physical and digital elements for maximum reach. Companies are finding innovative ways to engage with their audiences by leveraging both physical and digital methods. With safety protocols in place, such as social distancing, masking, and increased sanitation measures, there is now light at the end of the tunnel for trade show organizers and exhibitors looking to return to business as usual.

Generate Leads

Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to generate leads for businesses and organizations. Attendees of a trade show typically have an interest in the industries represented by exhibitors, likely making them potential customers or partners. By manning booths and engaging with attendees, companies have the chance to capture contact information and discuss potential business opportunities. During this process, businesses can grow their network with prospects that may not be accessible through other means. Beyond collecting leads during the show itself, follow-up emails and post-show marketing campaigns can drive further engagement and increase lead conversion rates. Trade shows provide a unique platform for companies to target interested individuals and amplify their messaging to secure new customers.

Maximize ROI by Prescheduling Appointments

A great way to maximize your presence at a trade show is to preschedule appointments with attendees. This helps exhibitors ensure that their booth will be visited by interested individuals who can benefit from learning more about their product or service. To preschedule attendees, exhibitors should first identify and target the most desirable prospects for their business. They should then contact these potential customers directly and invite them to visit their exhibition . By hosting a personal meeting and having valuable conversations with attendees, businesses can better articulate and emphasize why they’re unique in a crowded marketplace. Prescheduling appointments also allows exhibitors to track which leads become customers, giving them valuable data on which marketing strategies are successful.

Qualifying Leads during the Show

Qualifying leads during a trade show is an important step to ensure that businesses are investing their time and resources in the right opportunities. Before engaging with any potential customer, exhibitors should do their research on attendees and determine if they’re a good fit for their product or service. This could include looking at what type of job position the attendee holds, which company they work for, and what industry they are in. Additionally, exhibitors should ask questions that help them understand what kind of solutions the lead is looking for and if their product can fulfill those needs. By properly qualifying leads during a trade show, businesses will be able to focus on individuals who are most likely to convert into customers.

Following Up after the Trade Show

Following up on leads from a trade show is an important step to ensure that businesses capitalize on their efforts. After the show, exhibitors should send out personalized emails using data collected during the event such as their name, contact information, and any notes gathered during the conversations. The email should thank them for taking the time to visit the exhibit and reinforce why the business stands out in terms of its products or services. Additionally, the exhibitor should consider what marketing strategies were most effective with the lead— if one approach was successful at sparking interest in potential customers, then it’s worth reiterating this message in the follow-up email. It’s also important to stay persistent but polite when reaching out to leads as some may require more than one reminder before they reply. By following these steps, exhibitors will increase their chance of success when it comes to turning trade show leads into customers.

Conclusion: Trade Shows Are Business-Builders

Trade shows are an excellent platform for businesses to showcase their products and services while connecting with potential customers. Having a booth at a trade show can generate leads, increase brand awareness, and provide invaluable feedback from attendees. Ultimately, the cost-effectiveness of participating in a trade show makes it an attractive option for companies looking to build relationships with their target audience and grow their business.

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