Almost everything is in flux right now for businesses, and trade show plans are no different. Although the economy is slowly reopening and picking up steam, large gatherings are still being debated on public and private levels.
So where does that leave businesses who use trade shows to connect with clients and show off products or services? For many of our customers it has meant planning without knowing, investing with guesswork, and patience that things will work out.
Here’s the secret: delayed trade shows do not have to mean lost customers. There are many marketing strategies to connect with customers now, and build excitement about future trade shows you will be at.
This type of outreach is the most familiar for most trade show vendors and attendees, but many vendors only utilize it during heavy trade show periods. For any marketing strategy, the best advice is to keep this going on a regular basis, and now is an ideal time to get into a solid email cadence that can be carried out long after trade shows are open.
Plan for at least a month in advance, and give yourself topics or offers for each email you send. Be cognizant of what you’re sending–too many emails with repeat topics and your customers will get bored, but too much info stuffed in one email you’ll overload the reader. Keep things light but informative, with trade show reminders or updates included each time.
Build Your Social Presence
Social media posts can be feast or famine for businesses. It can feel like a lot of effort for a little return. Our advice: stick to an amount you can commit to regularly. Don’t overplan pushing an amount of content that becomes overwhelming. Right now is the perfect time to post, you have the most captive audience you may ever have. Plus, with boosted posts you can reach new audiences that may not know about your brand or the trade shows you attend.
Start posting regularly, whether it’s once a day or once a week. Talk about things like what your company is doing now, or how employees are working remotely. Most of all, share your excitement and commitment to getting back to live trade shows ASAP.
Host a Webinar
Trade shows are great for showing off products, and really giving your customers hands-on experience and face-to-face knowledge about your offerings. But a webinar can give your customers some of the experience of a trade show, and make them more interested in seeing your products up close.
Webinars are not virtual trade shows. Think of it more as an online training session where you can show off your expertise and commitment to developing the best products for your client. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge with others, show off the why behind your creation, and get customers on board with your mission.
Depending on what you have to offer, virtual shows or live events on social media may be a good route to build interest. While seeing a product up close and personal can help customers know what they truly like, you can use live shows to your advantage as well.
A live show gives multiple people the chance to interact and ask questions for a whole audience to see. What one person may not think to ask in person, they now see others asking, sharing or talking about aspects of your product that may push them to buy. Doing a type of virtual trade show can also give you the opportunity to show more behind-the-scenes of your product, or technology that may be harder to describe in person.
The best use of digital outlets depends on your company, products and services. Think about what works best for your customers, but also don’t feel intimidated to try every avenue at least once to see what’s best. Some customers may respond better to specific communications, and having multiple outlets can catch them all. Keep up with reminders about upcoming live trade shows or ways to share your products so that every moment is a chance for customers to connect with you as well. Two way conversation strengthens brand loyalty, and right now can be a pivotal time to get that conversation going.
To see a full list of 2020 shows that have been canceled or delayed, see our Trade Show Updates Guide