I think it’s safe to assume that everyone knows to exhibit at a trade show you need signage, displays for merchandise, company brochures, product sell sheets, a press kit and an incredible website. However, all that will be lost if you don’t communicate to your prospects ahead of time to let them know that you’re exhibiting in the first place! Most trade associations offer a variety of strategies to assist you reach your target attendee, in addition it is imperative to reach out to everyone you know via email campaigns, newsletters, blog, social media, press releases to the trade, etc… Another critical component to ensuring you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when conducting business at a trade show, is publicizing the fact that your show was a success! As an example, I’ll briefly take you through what my personal efforts were on behalf of Solmaya Beverages at the Cultural Food Expo several years ago. Their objective for exhibiting at the show was to launch a new line of hispanic beverages and acquire brand awareness by retailers and distributors/brokers. As their their marketing consultant, I implemented the following strategies at and post-trade show:
- Took high quality photos of the President of the company and attendees engaged at their booth.
- Briefly interviewed about 12 attendees who came by the booth and tried the product, asking for their permission to use any quotes in publicity efforts (they signed a release form). These interviewees were potential customers and worked for well-known companies.
- Wrote and developed a one page press release which incorporated the photos and quotes (as per #1 & #2 above).
- Created a “press kit” contained in their company folder which included product sell sheets, corporate profile page, distribution information and the press release.
- Distributed the press release via an online newswire service (24-7 Press Release Newswire) as well as targeted and emailed Editors from every important trade publication and blog website. In several cases I sent the press kit via FedEx to Editors who requested it.
The result of this effort was a huge success as the press release was picked up and articles and/or information was published in roughly 20 different important sources. The cost to advertise in your key trade publications is ridiculous and I can state that without even knowing what the publications are! However, hiring someone like Foley Marketing Advisors to achieve great results like this is a much smarter and cost effective way to grow your business.