Your Guide to B2B Tradeshow Marketing
For the majority of B2B sales leaders, the return of the Trade Show can’t come soon enough. After two years of remote selling, the thought of getting back to in-person networking events with industry peers and prospective buyers is a major win.
So, now that these events are coming back, how can you stand out among the sea of competition? Consider incorporating digital marketing into your B2B trade show strategy before, during, and after the event.
The first step is deciding how to set yourself apart from the rest of the exhibitors. Why should attendees stop by your booth? Decide on a call-to-action or “hook” that is relevant, memorable and most importantly, communicated across all digital channels.
Your website is the best place to start. Ensure that anyone who visits your site knows that you’ll be attending the trade show. Specify what you’ll be offering and where to find you at the show by sharing your booth number or location.
Plan out 2-3 email campaigns that you can direct to specific audience segments. Perhaps you have slightly different messaging for current customers vs prospects. Ideally, send the first communication out 2-3 weeks prior to the event. Then, the next one week out and the last a few days before (or even the morning of!) the event for one last reminder.
Encourage these folks to follow your social media channels for updates and show reminders. Don’t forget to include your hook!
Leveraging Social Media to Boost Awareness
Next, step up your trade show marketing by dedicating 2-3 social media posts per week to content that speaks about the event itself, as well as information that will be relevant to the event audience.
Are you launching a new product? Do you have photos or memories from the last conference that you can highlight? Communicate this information on social channels and share your location so interested followers can make a mental note.
Keep in mind that the producers behind the trade show have worked hard to fill the room and spread the word about the upcoming event. Leverage some of that work and take full advantage of event hashtags. Make sure you are following those hashtags for engagement opportunities – like, comment, and share posts from the trade show account itself, maximizing your exposure to all of their followers.
Don’t forget to use those hashtags in your posts as well to increase brand awareness among new audiences who may not otherwise know you.
Marketing During the B2B Trade Show
While you’ll want to plan ahead, some tactics are best deployed in real-time during the course of the event. One of our favorites is investing in some location-targeted, paid media opportunities but there are a few others to consider as well.
Most often, a B2B trade show is held at a large convention center located in a bustling area of the host city, complete with hotels close by. Try using a Google Ads Display Campaign to target audiences near those locations.
Your advertisement must include your hook and booth location and could run from the day before the event (when people are likely to be checking into hotels) through the last day. This effort will also lead to post-show opportunities to retarget.
So, you’ve sent emails, posted on social media, and targeted attendees in and around the trade show location. Now, it comes down to the actual facetime you get with prospective buyers.
Pre-technology, business cards were collected. Nowadays, you can take advantage of trade show electronics that scan attendee badges (at a cost, of course). That information should be provided to you as a list after the event that you can easily upload into your CRM.
If a badge scanner isn’t an option, consider bringing your own tablet or laptop with a digital form so that all contact info can flow directly into your CRM. If you use HubSpot, consider utilizing its business card scanner app. This could be extremely helpful if you meet conference attendees outside of the trade show location.
Perhaps you make conversation with new contacts during travel or while grabbing a bite to eat. Yes, you’ll want to encourage them to stop by your booth. But, it wouldn’t hurt to get their business card then and there, dropped into your CRM.
Connecting with Trade Show Prospects
Alternatively, you can also use LinkedIn’s mobile app to easily and effortlessly connect with prospects by scanning their personal QR code. When you return home, you can manage your new connections and add them to your CRM for post-show nurturing.
Are you giving away branded materials like sales sheets or brochures? It’s not a bad idea to include a QR code on those assets. There are bound to be attendees hustling by without much time to stop and speak with you. Including a QR that leads directly to your website or trade show landing page is another great way to offer value and provide more information about your company.
Continue to post on your social channels throughout the event. New contacts could be following along and it’s important to remain top of mind, share real-time photos of your booth, team members, and giveaways (including the winners!).
Encourage interaction by posting content that resonates. For example, perhaps highlight new connections or post a relevant poll question.
Post B2B Event Marketing
You and your team have returned home, tired but still inspired by all of the quality connections. Now is the time to nurture those new and existing relationships further.
Set up post-event email campaigns and/or workflows for your leads. Get specific with your segmentation so that you can target their specific needs with the appropriate content. Include relevant information that will help them along their customer journey to making a purchase.
Jump back on your social channels to share what you learned and how great it was meeting everyone. Post photos and share insights on perhaps insights people may have missed or for those who could not attend.
And finally, don’t forget to maximize your ad spend by retargeting to all the attendees who saw your targeted ads in and around the trade show location.
Whether you use some or all of these tactics, avoid missing out on lucrative opportunities and plan your B2B trade show marketing strategy in advance.
Partner with a B2B Marketing Agency
Need a proven partner to help manage all of these elements at your next event? BNP Engage is an award-winning B2B marketing agency with the experience to help you maximize your Trade Show experience with digital marketing.