Despite the digital revolution that has taken place, trade shows and business exhibitions still hold great value and potential for those that exhibit.
The UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2016 found that the sector was worth just over £19 billion, and venues are heavily investing in their spaces in order to improve the events for those who both exhibit and attend.
It has previously been reported that around 80% of those that attended these events have buying power, and with that in mind, it’s imperative that you ensure that you are using digital mediums to inform these individuals of your presence – below we provide the ways you can align traditional practices with digital strategies.
SEO, mentions, and backlinks.
Firstly make sure that all of your business details are correct on the event website and that if possible, a web link is included
Research where the event itself is being mentioned or featured online. Are there opportunities for you to be listed in a delegate’s directory, or contribute related content to the same sites? This could be anything from local press to event publications and specific sector magazines; repeat the approach with other delegates and your
If you are using the exhibition or tradeshow to launch a new service or product, reach out to industry and relevant publications to feature the news and event details. Inviting influencers, prominent figures, and niche writers to discuss your new offering face to face will help to secure coverage and build long-lasting relationships, that often lead to consistent mentions in the future.
If you have had success at the event, it’s also worth outreaching this news to the local press afterward.
The article below explains how to secure PR coverage successfully.
The next step is to create blog content that details that you will be appearing at said show and why, (pro tip – discussing the event and its previous successes will encourage the event organisers to share the post), ensure the content has value for the reader; why are you exhibiting, what do you have to offer, what would you like the reader to do, etc.
Ensure that the blog is formatted so that the viewer reads it in its entirety, using headlines, images, and quotes to break up the text and entice them to read on.
Consider the post carefully, is the title engaging, does the introduction draw them in, and how does it look on mobile? This might be the first interaction you have with some viewers, don’t give them a reason to discount you because of a poorly formatted blog.
The blog isn’t a static element and must be promoted via social avenues, using relevant industry, and the dedicated event hashtags to widen its reach, informing more people.
Doing this also allows you to see who else is talking about or attending the event, and begin to engage with them, making connections.
“Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other users.” – Sprout Social
Along with posting on your social channels, social amplification is a strategy that enables you to push your content in front of your intended audience.
Primarily used to encourage e-commerce purchases, it is also a great opportunity for building brand awareness, so once you have taken the time to make sure your content is relevant and valuable and is formatted correctly – now is the time to make sure it is read.
You need to have a clear picture of who your audience is for this strategy to be effective; for instance, how old are they, where do they live, what is their job title, what is their family scenario, what motivates them, and what brand affiliations do they have?
It is critical you choose the platform that your audience engage with the most, be it Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This infographic by Tracx is of great help when it comes to social media demographic statistics.
Facebook holds more audience data on its users, and commonly, is the best tool for social amplification.
If you think that a standard trestle table and two chairs set up is going to cut it – you are mistaken. Having your booth fronted by a table essentially puts a barrier between you and the attendees.
Space needs to be immersive, allowing the visitor to experience your brand and build positive connotations; cutting through the noise at the event and enticing people to visit your booth and learn more about your business.
Everything should reflect your brand, from brand colors and shapes used in marketing materials, to the tone of any written content. But most importantly, it should be modern, and showcase your business offering!
Consider technology that you can use in your booth, from digital screens, touch sensitive controls, lighting, and giveaways. We attend many exhibitions, it’s surprising to see how many businesses still think a stress ball or branded keyring still cuts it; like your blog, tailor your give away to your audience, and what would bring value to their everyday life.
Traditional events can provide a great ROI when they are underpinned with a digital strategy that means an awareness of your presence is created, leverage the support of event organizers to maximise the effectiveness!