Businesses from around the country see two things going on simultaneously. One— the noted fact that inbound marketing does everything by increasing their online readership, lead generation, and the time customers spend with their brands. And two—conversely, the reality of trade shows marketing's comparatively lackluster ROI. In today's FAQ Friday we will review ways to boost trade show performance and provide you with the answers to pressing issues surround inbound marketing at trade shows.
Why do trade shows need inbound marketing to be truly effective?
It's often been said that inbound marketing is not about one social media, one performance measure or one single piece of technology: Inbound marketing is a philosophy that can be applied in a wide variety of marketing contexts to get trackable results and broaden your brand's appeal.
The thing is that trade shows are neither inherently poor generators of ROI nor dying breeds in an industry soon to be entirely supplanted by inbound marketing. When your trade shows incorporates the preparation, alignment with overarching business goals, digital integration and strong calls to action, they can shine with the rest of your marketing initiatives.
What are the attainable trade show goals and how can inbound marketing get me there?
The number one reason that a lot of companies enter into trade shows is to increase their sales, mostly by way of increasing their lead generation and general brand exposure. That's certainly a worthwhile goal and one that's shared by inbound marketers in their attempts to win more views, leads and conversions by embracing things like blogging, social media marketing and search engine optimization.
So far, so good. Where some companies can go slightly astray is by missing other vital aspects of inbound marketing. As just one example, inbound marketing takes a big picture view, and nurtures leads with captivating material at every stage of the buyer's journey. From the awareness of consideration to the decision phase, there's an overarching inbound marketing strategy in place to captivate audiences with interactive content marketing, encourage comments and sharing on social media, and follow through after seeing the call to action.
These same inbound marketing principles should be applied to your trade shows to meet the same ends that drive B2C inbound marketers—lead generation, an uptick in organic traffic, a more expansive social media following and an increase in the circulation of your email marketing campaign's and blog's subscribers.
The core tenets of inbound marketing can help you reach these lead generation and brand awareness goals. Many companies put on a great performance, but the number one mistake that companies make at trade shows, paradoxically, is failing to link that performance up to a call to action. This explains why many trade shows don't produce the ROI that was expected of them—audiences were interested, but they didn't know how to take the next step.
Can calls to action and a comprehensive branding image make a difference?
A persuasive call to action can help you meet most or all of the trade show goals listed above.
By incorporating your call to action on all of your trade show marketing materials and using the CTA to direct your audience to your landing page, you significantly increase the chances that they'll check out your blog, online merchandise, or even take on more middle-of-the-funnel content by checking out in-depth whitepapers, webinars, and online customer testimonials.
You want all of the signs, handouts, and booths at your next show to contain the same branding image and an integrated call to action so that there's no doubt in your audience's mind where they should go next.
Being consistent and persistent, without being pushy, in this area is the key to wrangling more leads, sales, and conversions down the road. You just want to make sure that your marketing goals are established at the outset—e.g., higher lead generation and more organic traffic—match up with your calls to action for that particular trade show's audience.
Another thing that would be hard to overemphasize is the importance of a consistent branding image on all of your giveaways, handouts, and marketing materials. The more consistent your branding image is before, during and after a trade show the more likely that your audience will remember your company, and our call to action will be heeded.
How can I make it easier for a trade show audience to follow up and convert?
That's a great question. Creating a landing page specifically for your trade show audience—and incorporating landing page essentials like an intuitive description, CTA form, and source that matches up with your audiences' conversion path—helps connect all of your materials and inspire action.
Landings pages and mobile calls to action can make it easier to track your leads that are genuinely interested, Present those leads with timely feedback and content marketing, and ultimately meet your trade show objectives.
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