Trade Shows: A Digital Playbook How to Leverage B2B Digital Marketing for Greater Trade Show Success

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2 Trade Shows: A Digital Playbook How to Leverage B2B Digital Marketing for Greater Trade Show Success Thank you for downloading this playbook Exhibiting at trade shows is often a major undertaking and expense. The exhibition hall and the exhibit booth can cost a small fortune, not to mention the added cost of hall services, freight, travel and accommodation expenses, entertainment expenses, and often opportunity costs from taking top performing staff away from their dayto-day responsibilities. Planning The Big Event As you know, preparation is the key to making the most of your event investment. While at the show, you will have the opportunity to connect with new customers, industry influencers, potential partners and potential future employees. Knowing this, you need to be clear about what your objectives for the show are and be clear about how you will measure success - well in advance of the show. Plan now, for three distinct stages We recommend planning for three distinct stages: Pre-show, At-Show and Post-Show and therefore recommend having objectives and success metrics for each stage. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish and how you will measure success brings a sharper focus to the rest your planning process including which digital marketing tactics to choose, in order to achieve your objectives. Who Should Read this Playbook: This playbook was developed to aid trade show exhibitors in maximizing results from their efforts. If ensuring the success of the next trade show your organization plans to exhibit at falls to you, we hope that some of the ideas in this document are valuable in meeting your objectives. If you do, it would be fantastic to hear from you: Contact us. Page 1

3 Pre-Show Digital Marketing Campaign Goals: Drive Booth Attendance, Build Audience, and Generate Leads Getting Started Set a clear and reasonable objective for the number of people you want to attend your exhibit. If this is a show you have exhibited at in the past, review your attendance numbers, if available. Determine how will you measure the number of attendees and develop a strategy and tactics for how you will attract show attendees to your booth at the show (See At-Show Digital Marketing for some ideas). We strongly recommend planning with a simple editorial calendar. If you like, please feel free to download our editorial calendar template. You may need to modify it to suit your needs, but it will at least get you started. Note: What follows is just one campaign example. If not a VIP event, consider some other incentive. Marketing Funnel Metrics Funnel metrics for this type of campaign would include Open Rate, Click-throughs to the landing page, and Registrations. If you have exhibited at the show previously, you likely know who attended last year, and have some contact record. This presents an opportunity to send a very personalized VIP campaign. Dear [First_Name], it was great to see you at [Trade_Show] in [Host_City] last year. Are you planning on attending again? Please accept our offer of VIP passes to the show, and tickets to our customer appreciation event where we will be unveiling our new [Brand_Name] technology. All we ask is that you RSVP prior to [VIP_Registration_Cuttoff]. You can also extend a slightly modified version of the campaign for any specific customers you are targeting. Send one or two Friendly Reminder and Last Chance follow-ups to anyone who hasn t registered, as the registration cut-off approaches. Mail or your VIP passes, but make the event tickets available for pick-up at your exhibit. Page 2

4 You might also wish to consider a drip campaign that gradually, updates your target audience about what they can expect from visiting your booth at the show. Depending on your marketing software, you may be able to use the RSS feed from your blog to run the drip campaign. Mailchimp has RSS campaign functionality. Landing Page(s) Optimized for Search, Conversion & Qualification Funnel Metrics Funnel Metrics Funnel metrics would include keyword position and conversions, the number of, and traffic from inbound links, unique page views and Registrations. At the heart of any successful lead generation campaign lays its optimized landing page(s). Your VIP Registration Page also represents an early opportunity to qualify leads simply by asking about interests, reasons for attending the show, position title, number of employees. We recommend testing 2-3 landing page variants to determine optimal conversion and qualification. Think of Landing Pages as the hub in a spoked wheel: You ll need at least one landing page optimized specifically for the name, location and year of the upcoming show. Optimized anchor-text links in your campaign (above) will point to your landing page, of course and so must links from all of the spokes : individual blog posts and social media status updates. A well optimized landing page with plenty of inbound links and a steady stream of social signals might actually compete with the show for search engine results. Don t forget to link from a campaign graphic and accompanying optimized text link placed your home page and in your blog s sidebar. Content Marketing Funnel Metrics Funnel metrics would include keyword position and conversion, social signals, unique page views, number of and traffic from inbound links, click-through to landing page and registrations and/or newsletter subscriptions. As described above, consider planning and publishing a steady stream of optimized blog posts, each of should be lightly peppered with calls to action and optimized anchor text links to the landing page. Mix up the language used in the anchor text to avoid the risk of being penalized for overdoing your SEO. Page 3

5 If you have, or can make contacts at industry trade publications or associations, see if they would be interested in picking up any of the content you have planned. You should also consider distributing optimized digital news releases another spoke that points inbound links to the landing page or blog post. Don t forget to tell (and remind) your prospects how and where to find you: Keeping an updated calendar of events (with booth numbers and event info) on your website and promoting it through all of your digital channels will help interested prospects find you during the show. Social Media Marketing Pre-Show digital engagement can help you generate, nurture leads and build relationships prior to the show. Connecting online through social spaces such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be a first step towards establishing a relationship with your prospects. Funnel Metrics Funnel metrics would include social signals such as shares, retweets and other re-shares, clicks through to the landing page or blog post, etc. You might also consider benchmarking audience size and tracking growth. As part of your pre-show preparation, be sure your social profiles have interesting bios and a recent picture of yourself so you can be recognized at the event. The first rule of social media marketing is to listen in this case, listen for conversations taking place about the show in social media. Listen for what people are talking about and what matters to them. This information can help you gather leads and raise awareness for your marketing campaigns in a way that resonates with your prospects to foster growth. Be sure to contact the show organizers early on, to find out if they have a #hashtag planned for the show. Use the show #hashtag in your social status updates and conversations so that people can find and follow you and be sure to listen for it as well. Above, we suggested Gradually releasing updates about your plans for the show as a source of information for a series of blog posts. In addition, consider mixing in Page 4

6 timely, topical blog posts about other helpful topics that your audience is talking about online, or likely thinking about. For example: Ideas for planning an adventure in the host city: 10 Must-See Attractions The best strategies for taking in the show, while still having time to enjoy the host city 5 Highest Rated Restaurants 3 Highest Rated Tour Companies 7 Clean Affordable and Nearby Hotels Follow, connect with or friend customers, prospects, industry thought leaders, industry analysts, journalists and group them in manageable lists. Join the conversations that interest you, when you have something relevant and of value to add. Strike up relationships before talking too much about what you re doing. Take a genuine interest in people ask engaging questions and listen. At an opportune moment, if it makes sense, invite them to join you as a VIP and point them to the landing page. Whatever you do, don t forget to tell (and remind) your prospects how and where to find you: Keeping an updated calendar of events (with booth numbers and event info) on your website and promoting it through all of your digital channels will help interested prospects find you during the show. Finally: You may want to consider downloading smartphone apps for networks like LinkedIn to make connecting with new contacts easy. Many shows and exhibitions are also offering apps to help you navigate and make connections. Be sure to take the time to check them out as well. It s Showtime! Page 5

7 2. At-Show Digital Marketing Campaign Goals: Drive Booth Attendance, Generate Qualified Leads Getting Started Now that you have made yourself known pre event, and have initiated some new relationships, it s time to carry that momentum into the show and make your organization stand out from competition during the event. Remember to bring a list of registered VIPs and a supply of tickets to the VIP event. Social Media Marketing from the Show Floor Consider bringing your social media A-team in to support the sales and business development team you hope will be too busy engaging prospects to be tweeting about it. As an alternative, sending a designated brand journalist. Funnel Metrics Funnel metrics would include social signals such as shares, retweets and other re-shares, clicks through to the landing page or blog post, etc. You might also consider benchmarking audience size and tracking growth during the show. During the show your team or brand journalist will have numerous opportunities to create new content for your blog and social channels. Videos, pictures, on site interviews and tweets all provide interesting content and show your team in action. Make sure you re sharing the action using these platforms while you re there. Use Social Channels for Real-Time Updates o Engage in conversation o Answer commonly asked questions raised during the event o Provide updates on top brands, events and highlights o Play games; First 15 people to in next 15 minutes receive a prize o Live Tweet the big crowd-pleasing seminars and other in-show events. o Images and video drive more engagement, use them whenever possible Page 6

8 At the Booth If building your database is one of your goals, be sure to create opportunities to capture s and build your digital connections through activities in your booth. Having a lead capture system and dedicated landing pages will help you build your list so you can provide your audience with the specific content and offers they have expressed interest in. Use this information to create targeted follow-campaigns and specific offers to keep your audience engaged post-show - and further demonstrate your expertise. WIFI WIFI is a highly sought after resource at most events. Simply offering free Wifi from your exhibit as a courtesy that will draw traffic in and be appreciated by attendees. Ensure that Free WIFI booth signage is visible from all directions Marketing Collateral Using collateral that drives leads to dedicated landing pages (such as a postcard with a QR code) with a specific call to action, is an effective way to direct prospects to your site and capture leads. Use your new content to create white papers, surveys, product demo videos, targeted landing pages. If you are distributing branded cloth bags (a popular trade show item) fly your social flags on those as well... because they travel the entire show floor and are seen everywhere. Booth Signage: Fly your social flags! Booth graphics should have: o Twitter and #hashtag(s) o Facebook logo, page address and Like symbol o LinkedIn logo Let s connect call to action Page 7

9 QR codes directed to a landing page o QR Codes can be sexy. Register to receive a special offer, or download a whitepaper 3. Post-Show Digital Marketing Campaign Goals: Nurture and close leads, continue to strengthen relationships Getting Started As we stressed from the outset, preparation is the key to success. At risk of stating the obvious, your follow-up campaign(s) should be ready to roll within 24 hours of the show closing. Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. (Source: InsideSales.com). Of course your main focus should be on initializing contact with the contacts on that stack of business cards you ve collected, regaining interest from those you had a chance to chat with, and securing the business and partnerships you ve been working to build. If you don t already own a business card scanner, we recommend obtaining one. Or scan in real-time using LinkedIn s Cardmunch app. At additional risk of stating the obvious, your hottest leads should receive a personal telephone call. Marketing Your follow-up doesn t have to be elaborate, but do personalize it: Dear [First_Name], It was a pleasure speaking with you at [Show_Name]. During our conversation, you expressed interest in the technologies listed below. I hope I was able to answer all of your questions satisfactorily, but to be sure, I ve asked [Account Manager] to follow-up with you in the next few days. [Interest 1],. [Interest 2],. [Interest 3]. Thanks again for your time and interest!. Page 8

10 Content Marketing This is also the time to focus on your blog and leverage your trade show experience to help you build credibility and position yourself as a key opinion leader. Talk about trends you noticed or your top three takeaways. Share your content via social channels and monitor your blog and social channels for comments regularly - to make sure you don t miss potential leads. Conclusion Using digital marketing to support your lead generation and follow up plan is key to making your next show a success. By keeping your objectives clearly in focus and aligning your digital strategies with your goals, you will be on track to see measurable results that demonstrate a return on investment you ll be impressed with. Page 9

11 Thank You For Downloading Who We Are We craft digital marketing solutions that inspire action, deliver profitability and create limitless opportunity. We are vibrant, open, fun, and fearless. We are connected. What We Do We are a full service digital marketing firm. We work with our clients to create and develop their online brand. We strengthen their brand image and web presence by providing four key services: Digital Strategy Social Media Marketing Content Marketing Search Marketing Page 10

12 12 Dunlop Street East Barrie, Ontario L4M 1A3 CONTACT: Marc Hill, CEO WEBSITE: Page 11

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