Engagement. It’s one of those words that is used to the point that it might be getting a bit tiresome to hear us rail on about the importance of engaging your audience at a trade show. But, there’s a very simple reason that we stress the importance of this goal: it gets results.
So, what is engagement in the context of a trade show? It’s making sure that you are not only reaching your target audience and attracting the attention that you want, but also taking it a step further and ensuring that you have actually piqued their interest and made them pay attention. It’s the immediate prerequisite to taking action. The kind of action that can make attendees purchase your products, or tell a friend about your tradeshow booths or even get a big-wig at the event to reach out about a new venture or business opportunity.
So, engagement, engagement, engagement. Starting to sound like you would like to get yourself a bit more of that good stuff? Well, the importance to maximizing engagement is being focused on all aspects of the show, from preparation and set up, to the exhibiting at the event and the follow-up after.
Starting from the beginning it’s important to make sure that you plan out your marketing strategy months in advance and create a schedule for all of the pre-marketing and promotion that your company wants to engage in. Things like social media ‘blasts’ (tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest posts etc.) and press releases should be strategically set in this phase. You should also make sure to get all of your tradeshow booths designed and planned, including any signage and extra display graphics.
When you are actually exhibiting, your focus should be on your brand message. A good idea is to find one takeaway idea that you want everyone at the show to understand and then devise a strategy to make sure that you get this event-specific brand message out with all of your tradeshow booths, face-to-face discussions, media outreach, signage and the rest. Focus first on building traffic and then use research about your target audience to connect with them, increase engagement and get your message across.
After the show is over make sure that you follow-up with any leads and put out PR materials which discuss the successful event. Social media should be leveraged here as well. While the build-up and show will be marketing heavy, your sales team should takeover to close leads and make sure that you maintain those relationships after the fact.
Engagement is key to both building interest, gathering leads and also keeping your audience connected with your company. It should be the backbone of any trade show strategy and will help your company maximize trade show ROI.