Pre- and post-show planning can maximize trade show marketing ROI

Trade shows offer valuable opportunities to connect with people in your industry, including potential clients, so it’s important to make sure your company’s pitch doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Most trade show attendees will head home with a stack of business cards (and pens, water bottles and tote bags) from companies they probably won’t follow up with after the event. Nearly half of businesses don’t measure the ROI of their trade show activity, according to a survey

of business owners and marketing managers completed by Display Wizard. To make sure you’re getting the most from your trade show marketing efforts, a program that extends beyond the event is key.

Read on to learn how you can use a mix of traditional advertising and custom content to pique potential clients’ interest before the show, engage with them while it’s happening and follow up afterwards.

Reach out and build buzz before the event

Putting your message out there with advertising and branded content in the weeks and months leading up to a trade show can build a link between your brand and the event in attendees’ minds. High-impact display ads can announce your presence at an upcoming event and provide attendees with your booth number and other information.

Plenty of companies rely on ads to drive traffic to their booth, but adding custom content to your pre-show marketing efforts can show potential clients why you’re worth seeking out. A Q&A with an executive who will be presenting at the conference or a custom blog post exploring industry trends that will be covered at the show can position your company as an industry leader. A sponsored pre-show report can help attendees prepare for the show by laying out the schedule, speakers and hot topics in a convenient newsletter format.

SmartBrief reaches more than 6 million professionals through our 200+ newsletters -- and a sponsored special report or dedicated send can put your message front and center for your target audience. SmartBrief also helps advertisers engage our audience through social media with our SmartSocial solution that combines native Facebook posts, ads and Instagram uploads.

Offer real-time resources during the show

While at the show, you can ensure your company stands out in a sea of flyers and brochures by offering customized, meaningful content. An infographic or SmartFocus co-branded whitepaper can kickstart your discussions with potential clients and help you build your reputation as an industry expert.

Keeping up with industry news can be difficult during the chaos of a trade show. SmartBrief’s daily newsletters offer a roundup of the most important stories, allowing busy professionals to stay informed while on the road or roaming the show floor. You can make sure your brand is part of the conversation by including sponsored show coverage or attracting readers’ eyes with a Big Box rectangle text ad.

Regroup and recap

After a trade show, it’s important to continue your content program to keep your brand top of mind. Sponsoring a post-conference report lets you offer a recap of the event’s top sessions and trends, which can serve as a reminder for attendees and offer insights for those who were not able to attend.

If you presented at the trade show, repackaging your session or workshop materials into a whitepaper, blog post or webinar can continue the conversation, help you demonstrate your expertise and engage potential customers. Whether or not they were able to catch your session live, a downloadable whitepaper or webinar recording can serve as an easily accessible, valuable resource and spark conversations with potential clients.

For more tips on how to maximize your trade show marketing ROI, download SmartBrief’s free SmartFocus on Tradeshow Marketing: Top 10 Marketing Practices for Tradeshows, Events & Conferences.