Using Digital Tactics Strategically for Trade Show Promotion

By Amanda Sheppard, Strategy and Partnerships Director

Published: July 11, 2019

There’s no skirting around it — trade show promotion is a lot of work. In truth, they’re an investment of both time and money. How can you make sure you’re getting the best return possible? 

Trade shows have always been dominated by traditional marketing tactics, including in-person booths, fliers, posters and more. While these elements are still important when it comes to trade show promotion, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you use digital tactics to enhance your efforts. 

How can you use digital marketing before the show? 

  • Get scrappy. Don’t wait until the show and expect potential customers to come to you. Be bold and make the first move by reaching out to attendees before the show and creating that first touchpoint. 
  • Be personal. You’re more likely to entice potential customers to visit your booth or attend your session if you make them feel important. Don’t just blast everyone’s inbox with a generic message. Take it a step further with personalized messaging that asks them to take an action, such as scheduling a specific time to speak with you at your booth. 
  • Leverage social media. When it comes to trade show promotion, take advantage of the social buzz leading up to the event. Engage with other attendees or organizations in an organic way to get the conversation started even before you’re in the same room.

How can you use digital marketing during the show?

  • Create an experience. Digital tactics can be used to take your booth from ordinary to extraordinary. Stand out from the crowd by skipping the straight-up sales pitches and create an experience attendees will remember. For instance, you could use virtual or augmented reality to create an interactive demo of your product. Take a look at how some companies are using AR to stand out from the crowd.
  • Continue to leverage social media. Even though you’ll be busy at the show, don’t forget to save a little time for social. Snap some fun pics to share with the event hashtag to keep the conversation going and make sure your brand appears relevant. 
  • Capture your audience for later. Have you heard of geofencing? If not, you should look into it for your next trade show promotion strategy. Geofencing allows you to tag mobile devices within the trade show location, so you can advertise to them later. 

How can you use digital marketing after the show? 

  • Follow up. Even if you didn’t get a conversion with them at the show, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the contacts you collected. Send out follow-up emails to those who visited your booth to remind them of the experience and let them know they can still take action.
  • Use advertising as a reminder. Likewise, you can use digital advertising to keep your brand top-of-mind, especially if you can target the pool of devices you geofenced.
  • Measure your results. One of the best things about digital trade show promotion is that you can easily track actions, which makes measuring results easier and more accurate. Before the trade show, you should always define how you will measure success. Are you looking for sales? Email addresses? Whatever the case, digital can help you measure exactly what your efforts are getting you. 

You might think trade shows are still a place where you can get away with sticking to a traditional approach. But, if you aren’t leveraging digital strategies and tactics, you’re missing out on the opportunity to create additional touchpoints, better reach your audience and maximize your return on investment. 

Want more ideas on how to incorporate digital in your next trade show? Fill out our contact form and let’s chat!