Many business owners mistakenly believe that trade show marketing is obsolete. They believe that it is better to focus on educating and reaching potential customers through their blog or posting videos on YouTube. Marketers that make this assumption are missing out on an excellent source of potential new customers. Trade show marketing is alive and well. PwC estimates that the exhibition event industry is worth $14.3 billion. Rather than viewing exhibition marketing as an outdated strategy, you should combine it with your digital marketing strategy.
You can definitely reach a lot of customers through content marketing. However, many customers want to see you show off your products at local exhibitions. Tradeshows are A much more personal form for interacting with customers.
If you want to make the most of your tradeshow marketing strategy, you should leverage it with your blog. Here are some ideas to consider.
Use your blog to educate future customers about products before they attend your tradeshow
Most people stumble upon trade shows while attending another, larger event, such as a county fair. They have no prior knowledge of the products or vendors at the tradeshow.
As a trade show vendor, you aren’t going to get as much value if your prospective customers aren’t informed beforehand. You are going to need to dedicate the entire event to educating them and answering elementary questions.
This is where your blog can come in handy. Take some time to write blog posts about your upcoming trade show. A marketing expert we talked to from LogoMyWay suggests having an FAQ section so you can let people know about the different products that you are going to showcase. You can even embed a couple of videos about your products, so readers have some idea of what to expect when they attend your trade show.
Customers will have a better idea about your products after reading your blog posts. They will attend your trade show more prepared and ready to ask more helpful questions. By asking more informed questions, they will have the information they need to decide whether or not to make a purchase.
Encourage customers to contribute positively to the discussion
Most exhibition events encourage two-way conversations. This format can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the comments of the attendees.
If customers have a negative perception of your product, they may make negative comments that will dissuade other people from making a purchase. On the other hand, people that express positive sentiments about your products well encourage others to consider buying your products.
For example, click fraud detection company Clickcease, is attending conferences around the world all the time. The benefit here is two fold:
- They get to increase exposure to their brand and meet new businesses and potential clients.
- The visibility and one-on-one interaction is a great way to build trust and new clientele.
However, it’s also important to understand that not all businesses and brands have the time or budget to attending conferences around the world. For times like these, it’s best to use your blog to facilitate positive discussions which may have also been relevant at marketing trade shows.
Here are few ways it can help:
- You can use your blog to dispel any negative assumptions people might have about your product. This will help discourage people from asking leading questions that could cast your brand in a negative light.
- You can highlight some of the milestones you have reached and unique selling points about your products. Did you get an honorable mention from a reputable organization in your area? Talk about it on your blog. People might discuss the positive elements of your product amongst each other at your event or ask positive questions about the admirable elements of your brand.
- People that are not going to be interested in your product will be less likely to attend. Although there is always a possibility that hecklers will come by to express their criticism, most people that don’t like what you have to offer will simply avoid your event after reading your blog post. This means they won’t be around to spread negative feelings about your brand at your tradeshow.
Your blog is a great platform for facilitating discussions about your brand. Why not use it to encourage positive feedback with other customers at your tradeshow?
Attract more targeted attendees to your event
Old school marketers used to measure the success of exhibition marketing by the number of people that attended an event. In the digital marketing era, marketers understand that the quality of leads is more important than the quantity. Attracting more targeted leads significantly increases your opportunity to make a sale.
You can use your blog to draw more interested participants. The easiest way to do this is by reading blog articles and optimizing them around relevant keywords. For example, if you are running a trade show in Dallas, Texas to promote a couple of woodworking tools you created, you could optimize your articles around the following keywords:
- “Woodworking trade show Dallas”
- “woodworking events in Dallas”
- “woodworking schools in Dallas”
- “Learn about woodworking in Dallas”
You could also add the names of other surrounding cities so that you could reach people in those areas as well. People going on Google to learn more about woodworking will stumble upon your blog posts and learn about your upcoming events. Then they will be more likely to attend your events and consider making a purchase.
Optimizing your blog for SEO is an excellent way to draw targeted leads to your tradeshows. Here are some tips that will help.
Build backlinks to your blog from local websites
Offsite optimization is one of the most important elements of SEO. You can have exceptional content on your blog, but it won’t start ranking until you have built quality backlinks.
There are a number of ways that you can build the links to your blog. Some of them are much more effective than others. A lot of the outdated SEO strategies that worked well 10 years ago are pretty much worthless today. Submitting articles to generic article directories like Ezine Articles is not going to give you quality results. Also, most of the old website directories have either been deindexed by Google or have started adding the “nofollow” tag to outgoing links. You won’t get any link benefit from using them.
So, how do you go about building quality links to your blog to promote your events? One of the best approaches to use local news and other websites. There are a couple of reasons this is better than using generic platforms for building links:
- Backlinks from local sites will seem more relevant to Google.
- These websites are not constantly getting spammed by people looking to promote their websites. They will be more comfortable using the “dofollow” tag.
- Websites owned by other businesses in your area will be more likely to trust you if you are also local. They will be more comfortable sharing your event.
Try collaborating with at least five local websites. You might be surprised to see how much your rankings increase afterwards.
Optimize your blog for every city within a couple of hours
When you are trying to optimize your website to reach local customers, it is easy to get tunnel vision. Most businesses only optimize their website for their own city. They forget that there might be a dozen other cities within a reasonable driving distance. If you optimize your blog for those cities, you might be able to reach those customers too.
Create high-quality articles that are at least 1,000 words long
When you are writing a blog post about your upcoming tradeshows, you should make sure they are as detailed as possible. Google tends to rank websites higher in the SERPs if most of the articles are 1,000 to 2000 words long. The average article on the front page is 1,900 words long. You will find that a lot of local competitors are still ranking for websites with short-form content. However, this is usually because there isn’t much competition. You will have a strong advantage if you use longer articles.
You can also learn more about SEO and blog page length here.
Share testimonials on your blog
Your tradeshow could help people decide whether or not to purchase a product. However, it never hurts to try influencing customers before the event.
If you can give customers a positive impression of your brand before the event, you will have an easier time coaxing them into making a purchase. One of the best ways to do this is by sharing testimonials on your blog.
Testimonials have been proven to be very effective at increasing conversion rates. They will both entice people to attend your event and make them more willing to make a purchase once they visit.
Use your blog to follow up with customers that attended your tradeshow
Most of the other strategies outlined here focus on encouraging people to attend your tradeshow and making them more open to your pitch. However, your blog can also be great for engaging with people that attended your event.
The average person needs to be exposed to your brand seven times before they make a purchase. They might not be ready to become a customer after attending your tradeshow. However, if you encourage them to visit your blog for more information, they might be ready to make the commitment. You can also use your trade show to get them to join your mailing list so you will be able to engage with them more regularly.