Participating in a trade show can quickly eat up your marketing budget.
To see any positive returns, you need a well-planned strategy and flawless execution.
Some companies start planning several months before the event, and with good reason. As soon as you get on the exhibition floor, you only have a moment’s glance to grab the attention of attendees.
So, what exactly can you do to create a buzz long before the trade show?
Promote the event on search engines
HubSpot recommends developing a special landing page specifically for the trade show.
Include the year of the event in the URL of the landing page to avoid confusing your visitors. So the URL would read; yourcompany.com/trade-show-name-2016.
Web users will be exposed to this page when searching for the specific trade show on Google and other search engines.
To make your search campaign even more effective, use long tail keywords, incorporating qualifying terms such as the city and date of the event. You will stand tall among the crowd thanks to the reduced competition for those keywords.
But don’t stop there.
By supplementing your SEO marketing with event-specific ad copy, you can get even more attention on search engines. More people searching for the event will see your ads, lowering your CPC due to the alignment between your ad copy and targeted keywords.
Promote it even more vigorously on social media
Since building a social following can take months, start your social media campaign months before the trade show.
It also helps if you have a social media plan to help you deliver a consistent flow of useful and relevant content for your audience.
Consider using social media management platform such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social to engage you audience.
When it comes to picking the right social network to market an upcoming trade show, Twitter is the platform most exhibitors prefer. You can use a specific trade show hashtag to generate buzz about the event in the Twitter-verse.
Also, mention the event in your tweets and ask your followers to tweet you back.
LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook can also be used to create a buzz around an upcoming trade show.
For LinkedIn, look for the trade show event’s group and become an active member. Then engage in discussions regularly, using the groups to share your content and highlighting what you intend to exhibit at the trade show.
The same applies to Google+. Join industry-related Google+ communities and spread the word about your upcoming participation in the trade show.
For Facebook, create a special page for the event and encourage your fans to share their thoughts. You can even promote a contest and give away prizes to generate more buzz.
Harness the power of display ads
Finally, you can also use display ads to market your upcoming trade show.
However, the ads must be very highly targeted to reach even more prospects.
Consider buying ad space on high-traffic websites within your industry.
Information portals and authority blogs are other prime places to reach your target audience. If possible, purchase ad space directly on trade show’s website as well. This can be massive since everyone visiting that website will see your ads.
Re-targeting is also an option. By presenting previous customers and visitors with custom event ads, you’ll be reminding these people of your upcoming participation in the trade show.
There isn’t a single formula that guarantees significant exposure before a trade show. The only solution is to be as diverse as possible, mixing up several strategies in a bid to keep the upcoming event at the top of people's minds.