Don’t Let a Cancelled Trade Show Cancel Your Marketing Goals

May 26, 2020

Briquelle Neyens

Briquelle Neyens is a digital marketer at Skyline Exhibits’ corporate office in St. Paul, Minn. Besides immersing herself in trade show research and the ins and outs of exhibit sales, she also engages with Skyline’s wide-array of products and services from an insider’s perspective. She enjoys generating information to help trade show marketers be successful on the show floor.

Has a cancelled or postponed trade show made you feel stuck and wondering when you’ll be able to pick up where you left off? You don’t have to wait until trade shows can resume to push toward the goals you had made prior to cancellations. Having a contingency plan can help keep you on track toward your trade show marketing goals, rather than letting your efforts fall stagnant.

Continue with planned meetings.

If you had plans to meet with prospective or current clients at your cancelled trade show, don’t let these important interactions slip through your fingers! It’s essential that you reach out to these buyers right away once notified of your show cancellation. Put your sales representatives to work quickly by getting in touch and rescheduling meetings.

Letting important buyers know that you are serious about staying in touch with them will show your commitment to your relationship with them. They’ll see that even when unfortunate circumstances get in the way, you’re dedicated to keeping business on track.

There are multiple ways to go about rescheduling your planned meetings. The first option being that you could replace the event meeting with a virtual meeting. With this option, it’s important that you have a detailed plan covering the same things you would have covered at your trade show. If you were planning to share product samples or do a product demonstration, find a way to do this live during your meeting. Although it’s difficult to have the same effect for your audience as seeing it in person, a live demonstration will prove much more transparent than sending a pre-recorded video that’s been edited and manipulated.

Another option for a rescheduled meeting is to plan an in-person meeting a little further down the road. Depending on logistics, this may take some planning. However, if you are able to go to your prospective or current clients’ headquarters to meet, this could be an ideal way to still have that in-person connection that you would have had in your booth.

Growing relationships is key to growing your business, so finding ways to resume with your planned meetings is highly important.

Even if buyers are unable to reschedule a time to meet right away, reaching out and staying in touch will still be the best way to keep the door open for future communication and business.

Keep working to grow your audience.

As an exhibitor, you were likely planning to generate awareness at your now-cancelled trade show. Growing an audience at a live event is a great way to spark instant connections and relationships. With that being said, in-person marketing is hard to beat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work to grow your audience online while trade shows are on hold!

Aiming to generate awareness of your brand online may take some shifting in your budget as you’ll want to increase your spending in digital advertising. Using paid social for target buyers can get you on their radar and open up new doors for sales!

If you want to grow organically, try doing a giveaway with one of your products. Share your giveaway throughout your social media accounts and your website. Asking your current followers and fans to tag friends and share your post to enter will grow views on your pages. It will also gain you more followers, which you can then turn into fans as you capture their attention and keep them engaged with your brand.

Once you have a potential buyer’s attention, work hard to get them on your email list. One way you can do this is to offer a discount for signing up for your newsletter. Or, you can let them know that they’ll get a special gift once they sign up for your email list. There are lots of ways to keep your followers engaged! Just be sure that you’re using methods that appeal to your target audience and continue nurturing these leads, so they are more likely to turn into buyers.

Carry on with your product launch.

Were you planning to launch a new product as part of your event? Consider moving forward with this product launch in webinar form. Create a virtual event that conveys the same message and demonstration that you had originally planned to do.

If you had planned to do an in-booth presentation, just take this same presentation online so your audience can still see it in real-time. This allows them to comment with their questions that may have come up at your event. Use your virtual event to include speaking sessions that emulate what you would have covered at the trade show. This will help you connect to your viewers on a more intimate level than simply posting a video of someone speaking.

Also, make sure that if you move forward with a virtual event, that you promote it as much as possible. Get your audience excited to attend and let them know what some benefits might be if they do attend.

A cancelled trade show doesn’t have to mean halting efforts toward the results you were aiming for, so keep moving forward!


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