The Ultimate Guide to Event Marketing

When planning a project like a marketing event or trade show it is essential that you take steps to ensure that you wow your potential clients and leave them with the impression that you are the type of company they should be doing business with.

First impressions are everything and this has never been truer at marketing events. Events such as trade shows are where you get out in front of your clients and potential clients and really show them what you are made of.

The team here at Smart Display are experts at marketing events which is why we’ve put together this handy guide explaining our top tips for helping you to get the most out of your next show.

  1. Planning

The key to any success is in the planning. It is not enough to just turn up and hope that things go well. You need to take control and ownership for every situation that is in your control.

Start early and create a roadmap for your event. Thinking ahead will allow you to dedicate time and resources to ensure that you stand out from your competition.

What you need to remember is that your trade event is about putting your products and services in front of a focused audience that express active interest in your market. Marketing events are not potluck, you make your own luck and dictate whether it’s a successful show or a complete wash out.

  1. Budgeting

Budgeting is as important as the planning. They are not cheap; this is the harsh truth of the matter. You need to invest money in your company’s presence at an event to make sure that you are noticed. You should try to see this budget as an investment rather than a cost. You are making an upfront payment in return for promoting your product or service to an extremely focused market.

As soon as you start your planning set a budget for your event and try to be sensible when working with it. You do not want to spend more money than you can afford to, however, spend too little and you may as well stay at home because doing badly at a marketing event or trade show is more damaging to your reputation than not attending at all.

When planning your budget, factor in the costs of promoting your position, letting existing customers know how to find you and advertising to new potential clients to come and visit you.

You should also be mindful of the hidden costs – accommodation, giveaways, staff & travel expenses. All of these factors will increase the overall show expense.

  1. Training

Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes that company make is sending in staff unprepared. If your team taking care of your event are not confident and able to represent your brand you will lose leads and potential customers.

There is no shame in not having experience attending events, but you should certainly consider sending the people responsible for looking after your company to attend a training course.

There are hundreds of courses available to give your staff the skills required to succeed in that environment.

From asking the right questions to knowing when somebody is wasting your time – events and trade shows are relentless and having the right skillset to deal with anything that is thrown at them will make your event staff invaluable.

  1. Giveaways

Giveaways are important but not essential at a marketing event. You want to give people something unique that will help them remember your company and the experience that they had with you. Pens, notebooks and keyrings are great but try to think outside the box. Come up with something that really stands out, something that somebody will keep or show their co-workers.

Remember that a giveaway is not just a freebie that you are giving somebody in return for their time, it is a marketing tool that will allow people to remember your company after the show.

  1. Marketing

Marketing before and after a trade show is almost as important as the event itself. You want to tell people you are attending and give them reason to come and see what you have on offer. Remember the whole process is about driving new leads and customers so build up the hype to the event.

Show magazine listings is fairly risky because people tend to scrap the show magazines after the event. Try putting that budget into social media campaigns or email campaigns instead to yield higher return on investment.

  1. Accommodation

Many trade shows and marketing events span across several days. If you have to travel to the event, consider booking accommodation to reduce travelling time. For big events it is advisable to book well in advance as hotels tend to book up very quickly.

  1. Rest

Trade shows are exhausting. If you are attending a multiple day event, make sure that you get plenty of sleep. It is very easy to burn the candle at both ends when away for work events but remember that you need to get up and do it all again tomorrow. Being on your feet focusing on your clients and answering the same questions over and over again for 8 hours straight will take it out of you so focus on your health too.

Make sure that you get a solid break for lunch and refreshments to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

Remember that the 1 golden client could be the last client you see of the day so make sure you are energised and ready to answer their questions.

  1. Collecting leads

Attending a show and meeting people is one thing, but, make sure you are taking their details. You need to keep track of the people that you are meeting so that you can contact them again after the event ends. You should be making use of digital scanners that allow you to capture email addresses, collecting business cards or simply using a notepad.

Be sure to make a note against your leads to remind you who they are. You will be meeting so many people at the event that it is impossible to be expected to remember the details of every conversation. Making prompts to remind you about the conversation you had with the client will ensure a successful follow-up.

  1. Breakdown

Breaking down the show is very important and after a long event it is easy to forget something or try to cut corners.

Remember that after a show ends and the visitors have left it becomes a construction zone. Anyone still on site will be expected to be wearing a high-visibility vest and work shoes. This is for your own safety.

Stands will be broken down around you, lights and electrics will be disconnected so make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and stay safe.

Make sure that important items like business cards and details about the show are well looked after, the last thing you want is to get back to work empty handed.

Create a checklist and make sure that everything is accounted for.

  1. Follow-up

How you follow up from a marketing event or trade show will make or break your success. You want to follow up clients as soon as possible – do not wait for them to come to you. This is where your notes are vital because by the time you get home there is very little chance that you will remember the exact details of somebody that you met on day one.

Rules to follow:

  • Blanket email everybody thanking them for coming to see you at the show.
  • Personalise emails to leads that were strong.
  • Call the golden leads that you met – these are the potential customers that ticked all the boxes, the big players.
  • After one week if you have had no reply – pick up the phone and start ringing. Remember that your leads are busy too – but you also want to stay fresh in their mind.

Smart Displays are specialists in making your trade events and marketing events run as smoothly as possible.

Contact our team today to find out how we can help you make the most out of your event experience.

See more: Types of Exhibition Stands – How to Pick the Right Exhibition Stand Type for Your Business