5 Steps to Create Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy

Events can be a powerful way to build brand awareness, connect with customers and generate more sales. But how exactly do you plan for showcasing at an event and what should you consider?

As we approach the AGHA Sydney Gift Fair 2020, on February 21st to 24th 2020, let’s explore five key marketing strategies to help you make the very most of your exciting, upcoming trade show opportunity.

Step 1: Document the preparation

Your marketing starts before the event! Take your audience on the journey with you and share photos and videos on your social media channels to show your plans for your set up, the vision behind it, the organising of your stock, the travel to the Fair and the setting up of your stand. This makes for great content, allowing you to show the behind the scenes of your business, while building a greater connection with you and/or your team and creating excitement and anticipation for the upcoming event with your audience.

Step 2: Incentivise audience visits 

The next step, once you have started promoting that you will be at the event, is to provide a compelling reason for your audience to visit you there.  The more of your audience that you can have attend, the more “real”, in person interactions you can have, and the stronger the brand loyalty becomes. Consider a special opportunity, giveaway, meet and greets, or other perks that would appeal to your audience to entice them to attend.

Don’t forget that 90%+ of your audience will miss your social media posts posts, so go “overboard” in the weeks leading up to let them know you’ll be at the Fair. How many times do your audience say “oh I wish I’d know you were going to be there” after the event, or “I didn’t realise you’d be here!”, when you think you couldn’t have been more obvious. Just remember: the lead up to the event is the time to double down with your marketing, consistently encouraging your audience to visit your stand. 

Step 3: Capture details

When it comes to your marketing strategy during the event, be sure you are actively collecting email addresses (or choose the best contact method for your business). This allows you to capture the details of people who showed interest in your brand, meaning that you can follow up with them post-event. What you don’t want to do is only pass out fliers and hope that people might follow up with you. This is your time to be proactive.

You may like to incentivise email sign ups with a hamper giveaway, a discount for everyone who leaves their details, or a freebie – choose one that fits best with your business. Email addresses could be captured on a tablet or written on a piece of paper if you have the patience to manually enter these into your system!

Step 4: User-generated content

Encourage people to “share and tag” a photo of your stand to raise brand awareness to their audience, as chances are they are your target customers too. By encouraging what is known as “user generated content”, you are creating brand ambassadors who are marketing your brand for you. To help with this, have a sign visible on your stand with a “call to action” such as “snap, share and tag us on Instagram @username”. You could consider offering a voucher or prize for the best photo and make this your pre-event promotion to your audience.

Step 5: Post-event follow up 

So the event is over, and your marketing is done, right? Wrong! This is where the “nurturing” stage takes place. You have lots of new people who are interested in your brand. You have their details. Now it’s time to follow up. If you collected email addresses to keep people in the loop with your business, consider adding a special offer or opportunity to encourage fast action purchases from this group.

Moving forward, communicate regularly with your email list, through value-driven emails. These aren’t simply a newsletter with updates about your business – think about what your audience would love to read or discover. Consider your email list as your VIPs and provide them with your best content first, such as tips, interviews, perks and special offers. By serving your email list over the months ahead, those who don’t buy from you right away will think of your brand first when they need what you offer. 

Which of these strategies will you implement first this year? Let me know below. And if you haven’t already, be sure to register for the AGHA Sydney Gift Fair 2020. I’m excited to be presenting two Instagram Masterclasses this year along with a panel discussion, The Business of Design, sharing insights and tips from business owners from across the design industry. You can register for these free sessions here.

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