Exhibitions are a common marketing activity for most industries. They give businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to their target audience face-to-face. They also make it simpler for consumers by placing all their potential suppliers in one room for easy comparison.
Here at Coast Digital we exhibit at numerous events, the most recent of which was TFM&A last month. We’ve found from experience that the key to generating quality leads from an exhibition is all in the ability to support your efforts with digital marketing.
Here are some of our tips of how you can incorporate digital marketing the next time you’re exhibiting.
1. Make your exhibition team social
You’re going to have a team manning your business stand over the course of the exhibition. Ensure that the members of your team are proactive on Twitter using mobile devices; sharing thoughts and opinions, accompanied by photos of what they discover at the exhibition. Whilst of course remembering to tell people where your business’ stand is located!
Be sure to use the exhibitions assigned hashtag in all tweets to make certain that what you’re sharing is visible to all attendees who are also following the hashtag.
Looking forward to taking part in the panel debate at #TFMA2013, 12pm tomorrow. “Who Will Win the Search Engine Battle.. Google or Facebook?
— Mike Hall (@MikeHallSEO) February 26, 2013
2. Are you presenting?
If you have a speaking slot at the exhibition then make the most of the opportunity by incorporating digital elements in your presentation. That way you can ensure that your presentation achieves much wider coverage by reaching your target audience outside of the room, as well as giving you the ability to capture the data of those who attended in a more convenient way.
You can achieve increased visibility through social media by making it as easy as possible for attendees to share the facts and tips you’re already giving to them. Make them short and sweet and clearly visible so that attendees can fit them into a tweet without too much work.
When it comes to capturing the data of your attendees; create a landing page on your website prior to your presentation ready to launch with an incentive for users to give their details, maybe a whitepaper or a guide, and promote this prominently throughout the presentation. You can promote this through social media too with help from your exhibition team.
3. Blog Posts
If I was going to recommend an approach to blogging for exhibitions I’d suggest aiming to produce a minimum of two posts.
The first prior to the event, giving an overview of the exhibition and promoting it (this is a good way to tempt the exhibition organisers to share your post through their social channels). Also detailing any activities your business will be participating in whilst there; promotions, speaking slots, panel debates, etc.
The second should go live a day or two after the exhibition has finished. This way it’s soon enough to catch people whilst they’re still in a social frame of mind after all that networking. Detail your highlights of the exhibition and detail how your own business’ activities went whilst there; direct people where to download the slides from your presentations, etc. You can also include testimonials and feedback from the staff who were there manning the stand with their best bits.
Prior to the event (a week or so) it would be beneficial to announce your attendance at the exhibition with an email. It doesn’t have to be an entirely standalone email, the announcement could quite easily be included in your monthly newsletter or another email you already have scheduled to distribute. The email should detail your stand number, along with any other relevant details with an aim to encourage readers to book an appointment with you whilst at the exhibition.
After the event, now you’re back at the office and you’ve got your big jar of business cards collected whilst at the exhibition (ensuring that you make those attendees who drop their business card in your big jar aware that you are planning to email them in the near future), follow them up with a thank you email. You’ve already got content to share from that guide you’re planning to launch following on from your presentation at the exhibition. You can promote that content within the email and then you’ll be in a great position to determine which exhibition leads are hot or cold. You could even personalise the email by signing it off from the team member they spoke to at the exhibition.
You can also encourage them to take a look at all the great content on your blog and to subscribe to get the latest industry headlines straight into their inbox.
These are just some of the methods we’ve employed to maximise the value of each exhibition using digital marketing. If you’ve got any tips of your own then let us know in the comments below!