With various online marketing platforms vying for your attention this year, is it still important that you participate in trade shows and conventions? The answer is always yes.
In today's marketing landscape, some business owners and marketers have gone all out in their online marketing efforts and have completely disregarded their offline marketing activities, such as participation in trade shows. This is quite unfortunate because the golden age of the trade show exhibition is far from over.
In a report filed by the Content Marketing Institute titled “B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America,” about 75% of the study’s survey respondents said that in-person events, such as trade shows, are still very much are effective. What’s even more surprising was that it scored the highest effectiveness rating for B2B marketing, beating out other marketing methods such as webinars/webcasts (66%), case studies (66%), white papers (63%), and blogs (59%).
The Main Advantage of Trade Shows over Digital Marketing
Despite the surge of digital marketing, trade shows are here to stay for good. There's simply no substitute for meeting people in person, and many people would still clear a space on their calendars just to participate and attend in one. Establishing a professional but friendly business relationship with a firm handshake and an in-person pitch can be far more effective than a blog post or an email copy.
This is because there is only so much you can do with interacting with a business online. Engaging with a business social media page or a company blog can sometimes be restrictive, unlike face-to-face interaction.
With digital marketing, many businesses aim for instant gratification. There are many online marketing campaigns that push their products to the forefront without much thought about their customers. As a result, customers are now learning to appreciate the hands-on, one-on-one experience that trade shows offer.
Why You Still Need to Do Trade Shows
As an online marketer, you have probably already spend a lot of energy and money for your content to go viral and reach your target audience. You do everything you can to distribute that one piece of content through all available channels, just to put the spotlight on your brand for a few moments.
Getting to that point requires a lot of hard work, and is something that cannot be achieved overnight. And with plenty of your competitors also doing the same thing, there is a very real possibility that your content will get lost in all the noise.
On the other hand, trade shows can offer you plenty of opportunities to interact with your target audience. While your people are often only just one click away online, engaging with them directly will always be more effective than when it’s done in 140 characters.
Combine Trade Shows with Your Digital Marketing Activities
Instead of being threatened by these new and up-and-coming marketing trends, you can also harness and blend them with your traditional marketing efforts. For example, you can use your blog and social media to invite customers to your trade show event. And since you’ve already made a significant investment with your trade show presence, you need to ensure that there is steady booth traffic for the duration of the event. Giving away freebies such as promotional banner pens is a tried-and-tested way to draw in the crowds.
The work never stops after your trade show event. You’ll need to analyze the overall performance of your booth. It’s not enough to simply collect leads without using them in an effective way. The contacts list you have accumulated during the event should be used prudently and cautiously.
Instead of trying to hard sell your products to your list, you can provide them with valuable content. Consider trade shows as a way to connect and a monthly email newsletter as a way to build that burgeoning relationship you have established during the trade show. By focusing on personal relationships over product pitches, you can achieve better qualified leads after the said trade show event.