Investing in a trade show isn't cheap! In fact, it's often the most expensive item in a B2B marketing budget. First, you have the booth rental space, sponsorships to consider, booth signage, staffing - the list goes on. Industry estimates for B2B businesses suggest that the average cost per lead of trade show attendance is roughly $96.
Despite the cost, trade shows tend to be worth the expense. The face-to-face networking opportunities put you in front of your target market, and you can have actual conversations with the people most likely to purchase your products and services. You also get to meet with competitors and grow your existing relationships - all within the same physical space. Unfortunately, limited time with prospects in the booth means that unless you have a solid follow up plan that furthers your marketing efforts you are likely leaving money on the table.
After the Show
Imagine leaving the trade show. You are exhilarated but exhausted. You have a stack of business cards and two sore feet from standing all day. Your smile feels etched on, and your throat is begging you for a cup of tea (despite the fact that you hate tea). You stopped by several booths and learned about a ton of cool products and ideas you can bring back to your company - only with everything that has gone on in the past few days... Well, you aren't sure if you remember all of them.
Not only will you feel that way after a busy trade show, but all of your fellow exhibitors and attendees also end up feeling that way - which makes your plan for post show follow up critical.
While calling every lead you have information on and setting up meetings will always be standard practice, you will miss opportunities if you forgo digital marketing.
Essentials of Digital Marketing:
Before you dive into digital marketing, there are a few key pieces you need to have in place. First and foremost you need a website. Ideally, you have a website that was built with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in mind. A website designed with SEM in mind is easily read by the crawlers that send information to the search engines but is also written in such a manner that your website shows up in the list of relevant results offered when a prospect is doing some research.
You also need to have set up your social media presence. The right channels depend on your brand, but most of your prospects use at least one or two social media channels regularly for either work or pleasure (and often both). Having a presence on these channels will be critical as you work to reach out to your target audience.
If you have a blog already or can start one before the show, that will be a fantastic place for you to begin collecting content, building value, and demonstrating your expertise to prospects. A blog serves as the heart of your digital marketing efforts and will continue benefiting your digital efforts long after you have published your content.
The last piece that can help your marketing efforts is a CRM that has been set up to align with your marketing efforts. An aligned CRM will help your sales team qualify and follow up on trade show leads and help your marketing team know who to continue nurturing to turn into customers.
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