With the fall tradeshow season underway, now is an excellent time to strategize on how to get the most out of the events that you’re attending or considering attending. With all the noise and activity, simply walking or exhibiting at a trade show is not enough to generate a worthwhile ROI. You need to differentiate your company from the others that are attending, especially if you’re a startup or mid-sized business within a crowded industry. With all the marketing spin and buzz that companies are employing to gain the attention of your target audience, it’s no longer as simple as “just showing up.” In today’s trade show landscape, if you want your company to stand out, you need to take extra steps before, during and after the show.
To accomplish this worthwhile goal, there are some best practices you can employ to break through the noise of the show and ensure that your company is getting the appropriate exposure.
- Secure a Speaking Slot
Securing a speaking slot at a leading trade show will not only gain your company additional visibility, it can increase corporate credibility by positioning experts within your organization as serious thought leaders in a particular space. Before approaching a show’s organizers to become a speaker, you need to research the event and put together a compelling abstract on how your company’s thought leaders can add value to the conference’s theme and messaging.
- Break News at The Show
Another way to make an impact at a tradeshow is to announce news that is of value to the audience and reporters that are covering the event. The type of news that you choose to release can range from new products to new partnerships that the company is forging. Another opportunity within this activity is to announce a success story with one of your customers. This type of announcement can provide an excellent impact since it’s highlining the exact ways in which your company helps its end users and also gives reporters something tangible to write about that is of value to their readership.
- Host a Private Event
Hosting a private event at a trade show, whether held in a suite within one of the nearby hotels or at a restaurant, gives you an opportunity to continue the conversations started on the tradeshow floor in a more relaxed setting. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to leave a lasting and personal impression on potential customers and partners.
- Schedule Briefings with Attending Media
Understanding the different types of media that are covering an event and working to set-up meetings with the reporters that are most impactful to your business is a great way to create relationships with and reach the influencers that cover your industry. Not only can this make an impact during the event, it begins the process of establishing a long-term collaboration that will generate additional exposure over the long-term.
- Don’t Stop After The Tradeshow Ends
While it goes without saying that all of your business prospects will receive a follow-up after the event concludes, consider expanding your communications efforts to create additional opportunities. For example, one of your company’s employees can write a blog on the event for your website that provides a recap and some analysis on how the topics discussed will be impacting your industry in the future. This will not only help increase your corporate credibility, it will also help drive traffic to your website.
Having attended numerous tradeshows throughout the years, the staff at Milldam has witnessed a wealth of change in the ways that companies now approach their show strategy. Employing some of these tactics at your next appearance or exhibition can significantly boost your show ROI. While some of these activities will generate tangible short-term results, many are important long-term investments that require minimal spend that will yield excellent benefits for your business further down the road. Consider modifying your tradeshow strategy now to make the most out of your opportunities for the rest of 2017 and beyond.
Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.