Tips to make your next trade show a worthwhile marketing experience.
We recognize the value of ag trade shows and how these events support our marketing goals. We get the opportunity to connect with farmers, retailers and other industry influencers. Where else can you personally interact with so many of your target audiences in just one place? Trade shows also give you front-row access to your competitors’ messaging and activity.
But the trade show experience is much more than an interactive display. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your time at ag trade shows and enhance your on-site ag marketing efforts.
Preparation. Don’t just show up. Set goals and objectives for the event.
Familiarize yourself with the trade show layout and surroundings. Consider a site visit a few months in advance to scout locations, or look to convention/meeting planners and concierges for great on-site marketing ideas.
If you can get an attendee list, identify who you would like to connect with at the show. Do pre-show outreach to farmers, retailers or media to invite them to your exhibit.
On-site Promotion. It’s much more than a program booklet ad. Tell your customers where to find you and what to expect at your exhibit.
Use as many touchpoints as feasible with your customers at the event. When available, use signage around the trade show grounds. The more unique or attention-grabbing, the better. Consider digital signage offsite and staff assistance to direct people to your exhibits.
Social media. Use your social media channels before and during the event to keep your customers aware of the exhibit and activities. Keep them engaged with live tweeting, images and video. Also, be sure to mention all relevant hashtags.
Facebook Live. A Facebook Live event can attract brand followers, and it gives those followers not there an opportunity to experience activities at your exhibit. Feature a speaker, product manager or even a producer or influencer you have showcased in a testimonial.
Apps. Create an app that people can load and use on their mobile devices. Include exhibit schedules and events, link to existing content, or create original content. When you promote the app in your pre-show communications or through geofencing, you can conduct a contest or promotion.
Geofencing. Like social media, geofencing allows you to connect with event-goers by sending direct messages to their mobile devices or through apps with information about your exhibit or activities.
Sponsorships. Many ag trade shows offer sponsorships that include speaking opportunities, media access, special event privileges and signage placement. View sponsorships as much more than a way to highlight the latest product or service. Tout your expertise or thought leadership and share insights that truly benefit your customers.
Content. Use ag trade shows to gather more content for future communications on multiple channels Use observations and insights gleaned from the show to spur content ideas and inform your editorial calendar.
Homework. Take time to review activities and learning at the end of the day with your colleagues, clients or agency. Find the time to engage with other exhibitors and get their perspectives on the show.
Follow-up. Send a thank you or the information you promised to the customers, prospects or influencers you engaged with during the show. It’s a simple step that will pay dividends down the road.
Teammates. Have a good support team back at the office. They are valuable resources if you need information or to make social media posts.
If you’re able to follow these tips, you and your customers will likely have a richer trade show experience.
Independent Consultant. Before starting her freelance career, Diane worked at Rhea + Kaiser for more than 25 years. During her tenure she put her strong critical thinking and creative problem solving skills to work across a variety of clients.