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How to Get More Value from your Tradeshows

Written by Andy Teipen

No matter what you do to gear up for a tradeshow, when you get there you might feel completely overwhelmed. Maybe it’s the line of people parading past you without stopping. Maybe it’s the sheer magnitude of people you’re competing with for attention. Maybe it’s the fear that you will be held responsible if the show doesn’t get results.

Tradeshows can be a blessing or a bust. It all depends on how you execute. And if you want to execute well, I offer this piece of advice: Make your tradeshows part of your content marketing program.

But wait? Isn’t content marketing just about writing blogs and posting tweets? No! Content marketing is about providing information that helps people be smarter and more confident about the decisions they make. Who better to reach with content than tradeshow attendees?

Here’s how to integrate content marketing with your tradeshow activities before, during, and after the event:

Develop landing pages for each trade show

At the bare minimum, each show should have at least one landing page on your website. Why a landing page, not just a web page? Because it will help you collect information about who is coming to your site looking for information – and then you can stay in touch with those contacts with content marketing.

Of course, you need to offer something of value in exchange for their contact information. People won’t just flock to your website because of an ad in the trade show program. So think about what’s happening at the show. Do you have a special class being offered? A special report you’re presenting at a seminar? A giveaway? Creating landing pages for reservations, downloads and contests can help you capture interest before and after the event – and also eliminate some heavy lifting at the show itself.

Drive traffic to your landing page with email and social

Too many people get their hands on a trade show list and start spamming attendees with marketing messages. Stop! Be sure the primary purpose of your email is to provide valuable content (a white paper, e-book, etc.) and then make the “see us at booth 123” message secondary.

Gather landing page submissions during the show

Remember the old business card bowl? Thanks to badge scans at tradeshows, we don’t see those as often anymore. Make sure your iPad or laptop is connected to the Internet and logged on to a landing page. Encourage people to request a content marketing item on the spot or to claim a special tradeshow-only discount.

Tip: use “incognito” or “private window” mode to ensure data does not carry over from one user to another.

Your ideal prospects or customers will not just magically appear at your booth or your website without a little encouragement. Stand out from the pack by offering valuable content – not just self-promotion.