How To Advertise your Business in Advance of a Trade Show

Posted by Amy Chan on October 20, 2014 0 Comments

The success of your business at a trade show is in your hands.  You may falsely think that simply attending the show, setting up a booth, and being present is enough to see sales sky rocket and loyal customers flood to the e-commerce shopping carts.  It’s really not.  You need to be proactive about getting the most you can out of a trade show, and am important – and oddly often-overlooked step – is the pre-show advertising

Employing pre-show marketing not only will drum up some business, but you are effectively lengthening the impact of the show.  Instead of just 2-5 days of networking and promotion, you can extend that to weeks or even months in advance and even after the show is over.  There are many advantages to promoting the business before the show, but what are the most effective ways?

The most effective way to reach your potential customers is by individual and personal prospecting.  Spend some resources on identifying your target audience, by age, location, or interests, and assembling a mailing list.  Including current and prospective customers.  The prospective customers are those that have had interactions with your sales reps in the recent or not even all that recent past.  Contact these lists by mail even two months out, inviting them to the show.  A personal invite is worth the extra time and cost, because the prospective customer cannot help but feel special.  A follow-up call a week or so after this initial invitational letter will prove extremely effective, particularly if you make a tangible appointment for that prospective customer to visit your booth.

If a large-scale mailing and follow-up campaign is out of your budget, you can still employ a more generic, but still-effective, telemarketing campaign prior to the show to drum up customers.  Come up with a script that is not too pushy, but simply informative, designed to alert potential customers to the very existence of the show and your plan to be there.  You can get recent college grads to telemarket for you for quite cheap. 

Another great method to get the word out about your booth before the show is to do a direct mail campaign.  This uses more generic letters, not individually addressed, but can be done for much cheaper and quickly, too.  The follow-up for the direct mailing will be additional mailings, as opposed to individual calls. While it’s true this won’t be quite as effective as the personal mailings and phone calls, the per-letter cost and result may be higher, since you can reach many more customers for less money.  

The trade show itself will of course be promoting.  It’s a great idea to try to get in to their mailings and advertising campaigns, in the local media and the wider outreach the trade show itself will be employing.  Remember: you want to be in the thoughts and intentions of the attendees BEFORE the show even begins, so if you can get your name in the promotional brochures, you will become a must-see at the show. 

You can be proactive as well, making press releases in the local markets before the show.  You never know who at the newspaper or magazines will latch on to your business’s product and want to feature you or at least run a little promo for you. 

There are a lot of methods to advertise ahead of the trade show.  The important thing is that you employ some, many or even all of them.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to spread the name of your company in the most effective way possible.

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