What to Do When Trade Shows Close

22 Jun
What to Do When Trade Shows Close

Anyone in the manufacturing industry knows the importance of trade shows. Many companies, large and small, spend many months and thousands of dollars preparing for the most important events of the year.

The Importance of Trade Shows

Why are trade shows so important? Historically, they have been used to showcase and sell new products to potential customers. These customers are there with the intent to buy. With such a high concentration of hot leads, trade shows are a hub of sales.

According to a survey conducted by Statista, 74% of responders said that they were more likely to purchase products they had seen at a trade show. This makes sense; why purchase something online when you can see it in person and talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of that particular part?

Not only are trade shows important for buyers, but they are also essential for manufacturers. Many of the most important, high-dollar sales come from trade shows. According to spingo.com, “The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a trade show is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259. By displaying at an expo, you find a much more cost-effective way to have face-to-face conversations with potential prospects.” Companies typically begin gearing up for the next trade show almost as soon as the last one ends.

The 2020 Roadblock

Companies have run into a roadblock this year when it comes to trade shows: most of the biggest events in the country have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Once the news came that a huge selling and marketing opportunity would be lost, many manufacturers began to ask the same question: what do we do now?

The answer is easier said than done. Don’t spend time lamenting the loss of the marketing venue. The organizations who will come out on top will be the ones who can quickly pivot, adapt their plans, and refocus their efforts.

When and how depend on what your objectives and goals were for the show and how best you can adapt to get your message out to that same group. With these avenues closed for the foreseeable future, what are things that can be done to develop those relationships, provide information, and grow business?

Your Priorities

First, you need to assess what your trade show goals were and what you wanted to accomplish. Do you have a new product to introduce, an exciting update, or fix to a common problem?  Who, specifically, were you hoping to reach with your message?

Establish your goals and shift the trade show dollars into other marketing areas. Take this chance to be creative in your messaging and tactics. Look at this as a new opportunity and not as a lost opportunity.

Our Top 10 Marketing Suggestions
  1. Public Relations
    • Request the pre-register press list from the trade show. This way, you know who was planning on attending and you can reach out to those in your target group with a tailored message.
  2. Trade Publications
    • Develop a print ad campaign in support of a new product launch or products that were being featured at trade shows. According to a study that was conducted by the Association of Business Information and Media Companies, “96% of respondents also read print B2B magazines, with 45 per cent reading print magazines at least weekly.”
    • Look at sponsorship opportunities on trade publication websites that can link back to your website – will they host your webinar on their site and provide outreach/ads/etc.
    • Write an article, blog or press release about your new products and submit them to the publications.
  3. Digital Media
    • Develop a strong, focused digital plan with retargeting/remarketing efforts.  Set clear goals for how much you want to spend and also how you will track the effectiveness of your efforts.
    • Carefully review digital results monthly, so you can adjust your efforts as needed.
  4. Promotional Products
    • Send an engaging launch package if you’re launching a new product that you didn’t get to showcase at the trade show.
    • Keep your name in front of current and potential clients by sending out a package with branded items. Or the “swag” you were planning on giving away at the trade show, along with an invitation to a virtual meeting to learn more about your product.
  5. Create your own webinar
    • Product Specific: explain one or a series of products that you want people to buy.
    • Educational: explain why people should buy your products and how they will help their business.
  6. Social Media
    • Post interesting and informative content about your products (with links to your website).
    • Share relevant articles that your followers would be interested in.
  7. Email
    • Email is a powerful tool to communicate with current clients and prospects – in particular, reach out to those you wanted to meet with at the show with pertinent messaging.
    • Create monthly (or even weekly) emails featuring your products.
  8. Video Brochure
    • Showcase your products with a video that plays when opened.
    • End with an invitation to meet up for a virtual coffee, happy hour, or lunch. Bonus points if you send a gift card with the brochure!
  9. Virtual Events/opportunities through the trade show host
    • Some trade shows may try to create a virtual trade show to replace the one they cancelled. Be on the lookout for this and participate!
    • Consider Sponsorship opportunities for the virtual event(s).
    • As trade shows bring the show to participants virtually, use this opportunity to develop your messaging.
    • If you generate interest, set up a virtual meeting to review.
  10. Website Communications
    • Introduce a new product or service
    • Develop content – new images, videos, blogs, and more!
    • Host videos

Though trade shows may be cancelled, your chances at marketing don’t have to be. With a little reworking, you can still have a successful 2020!

Keep up with The UP! App, as well as all the latest industry news, by signing up for our newsletter on here.