Sharon Keane is the Sales and Exhibitor Services Manager at Convention Data Services. She has 20 years of management experience in operations, sales and customer support.
How Exhibitors Can Create a Winning Strategy to Maximize ROI
As an exhibitor, you carefully select which shows to attend, invest time and money in these events and create the ideal booth. But have you invested time into developing a strategy for these events to maximize your ROI?
Achieving a successful show experience depends on having a strong presence at the show, driving customers and prospects to your booth, and converting those leads into sales. Here are four tips to help you achieve your goal:
- Develop marketing and promotional plans
- Create a marketing campaign: Clearly state or illustrate your message in all communications and materials including ads, handouts, demos and signage. Make sure your company’s exhibiting goals and overall marketing plan are supported with a consistent message.
- Develop a promotional plan: Incentives to visit your booth should be part of your comprehensive plan. Contests are fun and create a personal experience for attendees, making your company stand out and increasing your booth traffic. Use gamification to engage attendees. For example, create a survey disguised as a quiz rewarding participants with a small prize that showcases your brand.
- Choose promotional channels: Once your audience and message are determined, it is time to choose the right vehicles to deliver your information. Online ads, periodicals, direct mail, email blasts, social media, press releases, web ads and personal contact all work, but you need to decide the best method based on your industry and clientele.
- Socialize your presence
- Develop a strategy: Executing a social media strategy is one of the most effective ways to build interest in your company and drive prospects to your booth.
- Assign a social media point person: Your social media strategy requires ongoing effort. To stay on track, assign a social media leader to make sure you have regular posts and respond quickly to comments.
- Choose the right channels: Know the social media channels that are most frequently used by your customers and prospects. A dedicated channel provided by show management is already targeted toward potential event attendees and often where your prospects first look.
- Build awareness: Create a schedule of when and where promotional content is posted to build a buzz. Make sure to use show hashtags in conjunction with your own in all of your social media posts.
- Post live feeds/videos: When possible, use live feeds or videos to engage your followers and draw them to your booth.
- Create conversations in your posts: Ask a question to create participation among attendees. The more you engage attendees, the greater their personal experience – helping you stand out in the crowd!
- Take full advantage of exhibitor attendance tools
- VIP invitations: Work with event management and take advantage of VIP invitations. Sometimes show management gives incentives to the exhibitors who have used the most VIP tickets!
- Attendee lists: Many events offer pre- and post-event attendee lists that include demographic information, enabling you to target qualified prospects.
- Exhibitor emails: Most events have an email-based program for contacting attendees and the broader event audience. Send high-quality, mobile-friendly email blasts to the event mailing list.
- Event social and networking offerings: Take advantage of event-supplied marketing tools, social media hashtags and channels dedicated to the event.
- Maximize your onsite experience
- Attract attention to your booth: Create ways to draw attendees to your booth, for example, with the scent of freshly popped popcorn. Once attendees visit your booth, interact and engage them in activities such as taking a fun quiz on a topic surrounding your products.
- CEUs: Offer hourly demos at your booth and be sure to advertise. Work with show management to have your session approved for CEUs and scan each attendee badge at your session. Involve your customers in your live demos by asking them questions throughout the process.
Exhibiting is the perfect opportunity to promote your brand, collect leads and solidify relationships. Setting specific marketing strategies contributes substantially to having a successful show experience. Since the goal of exhibiting is to bring customers and prospects into your booth, take advantage of any method that can improve your booth traffic and fully engage attendees once they are there.