In some industries, trade fairs still represent the best opportunity to get in touch with existing and new customers, to present them with new solutions and to learn more about their needs. However, the cost and time expenditure is comparatively high. Therefore, exhibition marketing requires a lot of thought and preparation.
In the B2B sector in particular, trade fairs remain a high priority. Especially when it comes to high investments, personal contact with (potential) customers is important. At trade fairs, businesses can keep up with existing customers in a direct conversation and learn more about their current challenges. With good promotions and a well-thought-out stand, companies attract the attention of new prospective customers. If you have an innovation in tow, the press might even report from the show. In spite of these advantages, many exhibitors, especially in preparation and follow-up, do not fully exploit the tremendous potential.
Preparation: is your strategy sound?
Anyone who starts packing a few old brochures and issues a standard press release a couple of weeks before the trade fair is already making the first mistake. Press representatives in the print media need the information three months in advance. This and a few other things have to be considered:
The press release is a standard tool in trade fair marketing. It is important to ensure that the press release is submitted to the press representatives with sufficient advance. It is also recommended to have a press kit available for download on the website. But before that, the strategy must be right: Think about what you want to highlight at your stand. Is it a new service, product or expert? Take the opportunity to promote the highlight of your exhibition stand.
Inform customers in good time about your trade fair appearance. Here, too, you should be active early, at least two months before the fair. If your company produces products for different industries, send only messages to customers who are interested in the branch-specific trade fair. You should also give customers the opportunity to make an appointment at your exhibition stand in advance. If possible, you can also provide customers with free tickets. After the first invitation, send a reminder to those who have already arranged an appointment with you two weeks before the start of the fair. Even customers who have not responded to the first mail will receive a mail which encourages them to come as well. This process can be easily managed using marketing automation software.
Publish at least one news entry on your homepage. If you have a lot to show, a dedicated landing page is also a possibility.
You should also communicate your trade fair appearance on social media.
During the fair: draw attention, generate contacts
Leave the design of the exhibition stand to professionals. The stand should match your corporate identity and provide opportunities for undisturbed conversations.
It might also be a great idea to advertise your booth at the entrance of the trade show by distributing small gifts. However, such promotions must be clarified with the organizer in advance!
That you provide visitors with information material is a given. But also take the opportunity to generate contacts for your database. Provide a box where prospects can leave their business cards. Also ask if they want to register for your newsletter. In this case, you should point out the advantages of doing so.
Follow-up: how did it go?
Keep in touch
Thank the customers who have visited your stand in an email and write how you experienced the trade fair. This "follow-up" should take place within one to two weeks.
The newly generated contacts will also receive an email in which you refer to the trade fair visit. You might also include a link to the landing page of the product or service you highlighted at the trade fair.
Write a short press release about your trade fair appearance.
It is also important to evaluate the fair internally. How many new contacts could you generate? Have existing customers hinted at specific needs your products or services can fulfill? How was the response to your trade fair appearance? Answers to these questions will help you to optimize the next exhibition appearance.