9 Tips for Trade Show Marketing SUCCESS in 2018

9 Tips for Trade Show Marketing SUCCESS in 2018

In this episode of Grow Live, you’ll get nine
actionable tips for how to prepare for your next trade show. Whether you’re a little behind for the spring
season, or preparing for NSC in September. Stick around after the show, we’ll give you
a great downloadable resource that’ll help you get this thing kick-started in style. Welcome back to Grow Live, everybody. I am Renia, Director of Digital Strategy here
at SMS, and I am finally back in studio with
Matt Johnson. What’s up? Our CMO and Managing Partner, and it’s been
a few weeks since we’ve been together. It’s been nice having a little break for Christmas,
but there’s only so much assembly of toys that one man can handle. Yeah, I don’t know if you guys know this or
not, but Matt has four kids at home. So, how
many plastic things did you have to put together over the last couple of days? All of the plastic things. I think all the plastic things. All of the plastic things in the whole world. Lots of battery runs to the store, little
screwdrivers that aren’t quite the right size, and
my handy pocket knife always is helpful as well. We’re just gonna call you like Swiss Army
Matt, like MacGyver Matt. It’s a fun time. This is our first episode of 2018. I’ve been saying 2017 all day long, so I got
it right this time. 2018 in the house. We are really excited, because this is our
23rd show, which means next week we’ll be able to invite Lief back to talk to you about
what we’ve learned. Believe it or not, we’ve
been doing these for half a year, can you believe it? No. It does not feel like that. Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. We kind of have to take a quick step into
the future this week, because believe it or not, the first week
of January means that it’s trade show season. It’s time to start getting ready, right? Right before we came on I was asking you,
“Does that mean that I need to have my plan ready for my trade shows this year, my SMS
plan,” and you said, “Well, you should’ve had it ready five months ago.” Uh, whoops. Yeah, so that would be great. We’ve talked a lot about strategic planning,
and hopefully in your strategic planning you were thinking
about your upcoming trade shows and events, because that spring season really
will be on us before you know it. But never
fear, because if you haven’t started yet, or if you’re just thinking about getting started
there are actually nine things that you can do, right? We said like eight or nine things
that they can do right now to get started and get going. So you want to share some of
those with them today? Yeah, so this is as much for me, as it for
our audience out there who is just getting started. So, I got the budget ready, I know what shows
I’m going to, but maybe I haven’t put together as thoughtful of a plan as I
should have by now. So, these are some steps
that we can take to start. So, the number one thing- Wait, wait! We got to ask them a question first. Okay. So, we actually are having a new live show. We promised you when we started that we
are going to be teaching you guys just as we’re learning, and one of the things that
is one of our goals for the show for 2018 is
to get more interactions during the show, and
more comments and things afterwards. Yes, please. So, we’re implementing a new segment this
week, if you will, where we’re gonna ask you a question at the beginning and at the
end of the show, and you can answer it in the
comments, and if you answer the question you’ll actually be entered to win a little
drawing that we’re gonna talk about next week, that we’re gonna do every week, and, if
you leave us a- I like it. How much is this costing me though? Don’t worry about it, it’s in the budget. If you leave us a review on iTunes you’ll
also maybe be able to join us on the Nerd or the
Ninja team. Awesome. That’s all I’ll say about that for right now. All right, perfect. All right, cool. So, what we want to ask you about right now
is, how do you prepare for trade show season? What are your rituals or routines that you
go through as a marketing manager, or as a sales manager to
get ready? Because I used to be a speaker,
March, April, September, October, those are the big trade show months, right? Believe
it or not, it’s time to hit the ground running on the planning for that. It is. So, we want to know what you guys are doing. So, if you can leave in the comments, if
you’re watching this on Facebook or YouTube, right below, and let us know what you do
to get ready, and did you start six months ago, or are you like, “Oh, crap! It is time to
start doing that!” So, Matt, you want to tell them what they
should maybe do when they’re first starting out, and give them the first tip? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, guys, this is important, before
you ever open up the Photoshop platform and start designing
your beautiful booth, before you go purchase your trinkets, and your tchotchkes,
as I like to call them, your giveaways, before you do any of that kind of stuff, I
want you to stop and think about SMART goals. We talk a lot about SMART goals here, and
the reason is because what gets measured gets done. And that’s an important thing to remember
is that your business, you need, as a marketer, you need to be able to prove
that what you’re doing is creating a measurable return on the investment that you’re
spending on these booths. I know some of you, if you’re maybe a larger
supplier, or larger distributor out there, your booths can get pretty elaborate at times,
and there’s not a small amount of dollars that are put into that production of that
booth, and all of the samples, the giveaways, the design, the entire production of it. There’s quite a substantial investment. So the
question is, what is your objectives for this trade show? How many touches are you
looking to make? How many meetings are you looking to book? How many marketing
qualified leads are you looking to convert at your booth? These are all examples of SMART goals that
you can set and before you begin the planning process, Renia, it’s important that
you, as a team, agree on what is important, and what is also realistic. And then, as a team, once you have those goals
you can begin building out the plan around those goals,
as opposed to kind of saying, “Oh, by the way,
Boss, guess what? We had 50 leads from the show,” that way you
have something that you can measure. That’s so important, and I love that, Matt. Because I have been on the working a trade
show booth side of things a lot, but I’d never been on the production side until I came to
work with SMS. And man, you guys know it, if you’re a marketing
manager out there, some of those booths cost more than my house. Yes, they can. Yeah, they can, and that really is the thing,
because I also look at it from a bit of an ownership perspective. I’ve been in both positions, both as the Managing
Partner here at SMS, and closely related to ownership at Accuform side and so I can
understand the ownership’s perspective and the executive leadership’s perspective. Okay, great, the booth is beautiful, but what
is it getting me? What am I getting for my
$50, $75, $80 grand investment? So you have to be able to, as a marketing
manager be able to explain what the purpose is, and I
think when you go to present your plan for your booth that should include these SMART
goals. Yeah, absolutely. Plus, if you set up a meeting with your boss
where you have SMART goals for the event, you’re gonna look like
a rock star. That’s right, you will. So, once you’ve figured out what those goals
are, there’s an R in SMART, which stands for, what does “R” stand for? Hmm? What does the “R” in SMART stand for? Realistic? Yeah, realistic. So our tip number two- I thought you were asking them. Oh, well they can’t really talk to me back
right now. They can. It’s on Facebook Live. Well, okay. They can comment, but I don’t have any- I’m just messing with you. It’s so much easier when he’s here. He picks on me and that makes it easier. All right, so- So yes, realistic. So realistic, when you’re setting a SMART
goal you need to look at what resources you have. For instance, if you have four people attending
a show, you probably shouldn’t have a huge booth with a lot of open floor
space, right? Right, because how are you going to be able
to cover that area? Right, how are you going to handle it? So, can we talk a little bit about what resources
they’ll have, what do they need to be looking at to make sure they’re designing
something that makes sense for what they have? Right, so first of all, you should have an
idea of your total budget. And that should
include everything from the samples that you need to have on hand, to the graphic
design, to the rental if you’re going to be doing a rental, or the purchase of a booth. Then there’s … I’m not even going to get
into the couple dozen other small little line items that you’re going to be charged, but
you guys know it if you’ve done any events out there at a convention hall, that there
are all kinds of handling fees and the rental of
the space itself, of course, the software, so you have to take into account all of those
things. But some of the things you may not think about
are, the team that you have and your team that is in the booth is as important
as the booth itself, because really nothing happens apart from human interaction. This is what the event is all about. So, you want
to make sure that you pick out a team that is good at engaging with prospects and
customers on the show floor. Then making sure that you have enough staff
to cover the size of the booth that you have, but on the
flip side, if you are overstaffed that can be
obnoxious as well, and that can create an environment that is intimidating to your
prospects who are coming and visiting. One of the things I see a lot, Renia, is a
fact of resources, is over resourcing in the staff
department. Because I think a lot of salespeople find
it glamorous or attractive to be in the booth, and what happens is, if you have
too many salespeople in the booth you become a turnoff. It looks like, if I’m coming in down the hallway
or down the aisle way and I see your booth, and I see a bunch of
these blue or red shirts, and they’re outnumbering me, I feel like I’m walking into
a den of wolves. So you don’t want to be
overstaffed. So when you’re thinking about a trade show,
I want you to think about approachable. I
guess a sales army isn’t really very approachable, is it? No. No, exactly. So, I would almost say, thinking about your
staff that’s going to be there is almost more important than the design. Because a not so great booth can be overcome
by great staff, but it’s really hard for bad staff
to make even the best booth perform the way it
needs to, right? Absolutely. The thing that you also need to have in mind
is, what does the journey look like? And have that communicated well to the team
in addition. They’re not just there to
sell products, they’re not just there to talk to people. There should be some sort of
actionable plan in the booth as well. Absolutely. So, I really want … Matt talked about budgeting
for staff and budgeting for real dollars, but you also want to budget
for time. We’re not just talking about the time
when you’re at the actual trade show working the booth. Obviously, I think a lot of
companies know if they’ve got a lot of sales reps, they’ll rotate them through shifts or
whatever, but you need to be budgeting time before and after for the marketing team
to do pre-show and post-show follow-up, and for your sales reps to do pre-show and
post-show follow-up. Because the number one thing that I see is,
the whole sales team gets on a plane and goes to a show that they’ve paid six figures
out of the company to be there, and then the whole team gets on a plane and comes back
and they’re like, “Oh, we’ve been gone for a week, so we have eight million emails
to answer.” And the show follow-up, if it
happens, doesn’t happen until three weeks later, and then where’d all that money go? I don’t know, it disappeared. It just disappeared. All right. So, what’s the next tip, Matt, once we’ve
planned and set SMART goals? Well, the third one is to use a project management
tool like a Trello, or a Basecamp. We
use Basecamp here at SMS. We’ve tried a bunch of different ones. There’s lots of good
options out there obviously, depending on what you like, flexibility, less flexible
tools, but basically what I’m getting at here, Renia,
is, you have to list … There’s so much complexity in a trade show. You have to list out all of the steps leading
up to the execution of the event. So there’s the pre-show, there’s the actual
set-up of the booth, there’s the ‘at the booth’ time, and then
there’s the post-show follow-up. So all of these things need to be planned
out in a project management tool before you actually begin executing your trade show event,
and what this does is it makes sure that you don’t miss anything. We often talk a lot about this idea of pilot-checklists,
so like the airline industry, and they’re all about checklists
because if you skip one of these things, people could die. It’s important, and of course we’re not as
dramatic here in the marketing world, but what you have to remember
is that you cannot go on auto-pilot, you have to go through the motion of checking
off each one of the tasks that are integral to executing a well-rounded trade
show event. Yeah, and a good tool just make sure you’re
using it to track both your time and your expenses too. Because a trade show plan is like a wedding,
if you’re not tracking those little expenses to your budget, little like
death by a thousand cuts, will eat up your budget. Yeah, that’s a really good point. There’s so many hidden costs in a big event
like that, so it’s important to track those, otherwise you’ll
get shut down next time you go to do your show, because your boss will be like, “Well,
this costs twice as much as what you told me it was going to be.” That’s important to track. Cool. So, I think number four is my favorite. You want to tell them what tip number four
is? Choose your call to action and design your
strategy backwards from there. So yeah this,
and what you’re getting at here, Renia, is the idea of what is the ultimate action that
you want your prospect to take in the booth? Do you want them to schedule a phone
call with a sales rep? Do you want them to go and sign up for your
email list? Do you
want them to go and request a sample of your product? There’s lots of different actions
depending on what your goals are, but having that in mind before you plan out the
booth is important, and then you can build, like reverse-engineer it from there. So how
do I get somebody to the point where they’re ready to talk to a sales rep? So there’s lots
of things that go into that. Yeah. I see a lot of booths that are just like kind
of a global brand awareness thing, like they’ll have the company name on them, and
maybe a mission statement. Your
assumption automatically is that brand awareness is what the goal is, but then they’ve
got an army of salespeople working the booth trying to make sales. You can do a lot in
your design if you think about what the call to action is first. For instance, if you know you’re getting people
that don’t really know you, but you want them to talk to a sales person, your booth
can do a lot of the work of taking them on a
journey before they talk to that person. Your booth, if it’s designed properly, can
tell a story for you. If brand awareness is your goal, you can have
a selfie station and your booth can pull people in to help amplify that
brand awareness out. But that doesn’t
happen by accident. That CTA, that what is the action that you
want your persona to take whenever they walk by your booth, or
come into your booth, or interact with your brand at that trade show, that’s the foundation
that you work your design back from. Sometimes you’re looking to just build your
subscriber list, and that will dictate the entire mode of your booth. If you just are looking to build your subscriber
list, then your booth is going to be more inviting, it’s going
to be more open, it’s going to be more of a
party, maybe a giveaway, or a raffle or something like that, and it’s going to be less
sales-heavy. I actually think that building your email
list and/or building your social following is a
really awesome goal for a trade show booth. I think it’s one of the best goals in modern
marketing that you can use. Because it’s really hard to hard sell someone
on the trade show floor, but it’s not that hard to get
their email address, or to get them to follow you
on Facebook, or use your hashtag. So you can do a lot that can be filled in
later in your follow-up plan if that’s your goal. I would say that is perfect, if, big if, you
have number five. All right, what’s number five? Because it’s a perfect segue to this one,
which is, to design a four to six week pre and
post-show digital marketing campaign. One of the areas where I see most brands falling
short in this area is not having the digital connected to the trade show. Sometimes you’ll
see one email go out, “Hey, we’re going to be at the NSC show this year, come stop by
booth 1400 and see us.” What I’d like to see is a little more engagement
in this area, so you know that your customers are going to
be there. Kind of just stepping back about
the purpose of these trade shows. There’s two things, one is that you’re going
to build relationships and maintain relationships that you have developed over
time, and so that pre-show email should be directed towards those people who you already
have relationships with, and let them know that you’re going to be there, you’d
love to see them, and possibly even schedule a meeting with them at that time as well. We want to make sure that we’re getting our
existing customers to come by the booth so we can engage with them there. Then after the show, it’s important for all
of those new contacts that you’ve created at
the show … it’s important to have a systematic lead follow-up email campaign, and this
is best done through email automation, and there’s lots of tools that can do that. So do
you want to talk a little bit about what that looks like, Renia? Yeah, there’s two pieces to this email automation. There’s marketing pieces and sales
pieces. So there’s a marketing email workflow that’s
a little bit more general, that sends out to the list of prospects that you’ve gathered
at the show, and is a little bit more global about your brand, but then there can
be smaller workflows for individual salespeople that automatically send out to
their particular prospects. So say they’re using a badge scanner, and
they’ve used their scanner with their ID on it
or whatever, they can have a little email funnel that goes out to their people. All of that
can be automated if it’s done in advance. It’s very unlikely that when you’re exhausted
because you just got back from a trade show Sunday night, and at work Monday
morning, that you’re going to make that happen. I would just say that the purpose of doing
this is so that you can get to a manageable number of leads to follow up with. Your sales team cannot handle 200, 500, 1000,
marketing qualified leads. So I can’t go chase down every person that
came by the booth and picked up a Pop Socket thing from my booth,
like a tchotchke, or everybody that came by and said they were interested in how
their badge scanned. That’s just not
realistic, going back to the SMART goals. What you have to do, your whole job as a
marketer here is to narrow those leads into the most qualified, the warmest leads, and
only give those to your sales team. That’s where a marketing automation email
workflow will allow you to do that. You set
up this series of emails, the people that do not open and click your emails, we just
put them into a different bucket, and we say,
“We’ll come back to them later.” The people
that do click on those emails, they can get flagged and sent over to a sales rep, and
then you’re talking about following up on a dozen
leads instead of 200 leads. Those dozen
leads are people that are actually interested in the brand. They took the time to express
their interest by opening and clicking on that email. If you have that for your sales team they
will love you, because that makes their life a lot
easier. Remember that your sales team, their whole
job is not just to hunt down leads, they have a network of customers that they’re
continually farming, and they’re nurturing. They can’t handle the 500 leads that come
from the show. You’ve gotta make
it easier for them. The more opportunity that you give to someone,
the more leads you give someone, the more choices, the less they’re going to do
usually. I think that’s what happens
psychologically with a lot of salespeople after a show, is there’s so much, they don’t
know where to start, so they just don’t start at all. There are so many things that you
can do with that pre and post-show funnel to make your digital marketing efforts, and
your show, and your sales, all come together. We have a client right now who’s running a
big campaign on organizational systems for utility trucks. So let’s say they’re at a show and they give
away some type of, I don’t know, a truck organizer for an email address,
where they get sent a downloadable checklist for how to organize their truck. And then the day after the show, anybody who
put their email address in there gets an email prompting them to maybe take a picture
of how they organized their truck to enter a contest to get something, I don’t know,
maybe free car washes for a year or something, I don’t know. But anyone who does that
gets into another bucket that says, “Hey, this person is really engaged.” So instead of sending a thousand emails to
your sales team, you’re sending them just a
few, and that also connects the two things, it also gives the sales person something to
say, like, “Hey, you stopped by the booth, you entered this thing, you got the organizer,
I saw you’ve been organizing your truck, how’s that going?” It gives them a whole script,
which kind of brings us to number six. What’s number six, Matt? Right so this is about creating and scheduling
a training session with your team a couple weeks before the show. This is really important. I know a couple of folks in my own
network who do a great job of this. They don’t only plan out their job of running
the show, but they do a good job of communicating
that with the entire team that’s going to be there. That might be a person back home at the office
who is running the marketing, it may be your sales team that is going to
be with you on the show floor, it may be your fellow marketers, and even your executives
too. It’s important to bring them in as well,
who are going to be there at the show, and make sure that they understand what the
game plan is as well. This is really like pitching your campaign
to your whole team. Obviously they trust you
to put the plan together but this is about you bringing them up to speed. It’s important
to make sure they understand the goals of the event, first of all. And then, we like to
suggest putting together like some role-playing activities to explain to them what the
journey looks like. If somebody comes to my booth and they say
X, then we do Y. If they
come in and they’re asking about a certain thing then we direct them to maybe a certain
person, or we get them to sign up for something. There’s all kinds of if-then scenarios
that need to be played out and discussed with your team, so that you know how to
handle it when you’re on the show floor. Yeah, that’s such a great point. In my former training life, a partner and
I, we had a four hour workshop. I didn’t create it, the guy I worked for did. I trained it, and salespeople
would pay a few thousand dollars to come in for four hours with the partner and I, and
learn how to network an event, because a trade show is more like a networking event
than it is like going on a sales call. If you treat the interactions at a trade show
like a sales call, you’re not likely to be really
successful, because most people are not there to
buy something yet, they’re there for the experience, or to learn about, or to see what’s
new. So you’ll find a lot of times, when you bring
your sales team in, they don’t really have the tools necessarily to work that show properly. So if you can give them to them
without being condescending, don’t tell them they don’t have the tools, give them some
options to work with. A lot of the times they’ll be more effective
and that helps you earn trust as their marketing department so they’ll
come back to you for some of the hard stuff later. We love playbooks here. One of the things that would be fantastic
idea for you guys, you can take this idea, take it home with
you and put it into action, is to create a little
playbook for your big trade show event. This playbook has a map of the booth, it shows
you the roster list of who’s on staff, the times that they’re in the booth, the scheduling,
what times the breaks are, so you know, “Hey, I’m on break, so this guy’s covering for
me at this time,” the lunch hours, the objectives, the goals that you set for the booth. Then a list of scenarios about, “Hey, if this
customer comes in asking about this, I send them down this path.” So each scenario has its own little path. Not everybody is going to
follow your playbook but a lot of people will, and I think training them … and over time,
you can begin to create this well-oiled machine, where everybody’s on the same page
and we’re all following the playbook and we’re all reaching those goals that we set out
and agreed to in the beginning. Yeah, it’s amazing thing when you see people
working really seamlessly together. I know
just a few months ago when I was in Boston at Inbound, it’s not a hardcore trade show
where there’s booths everywhere, but you could see the different dynamics between
the different teams and how they work together. And if you’re paying attention, you
know who has a plan and who doesn’t, just by the way they’re standing and what
they’re doing. There’s nothing that turns you off more if
you walk into a booth with an army full of people and nobody says anything
to you, right? Oh my gosh. We shouldn’t even have to talk about that. Yeah, a little pre-planning can help with
that. So, what’s our next tip, Matt? Yep, we’re running out of time. We’ve got some more tips here. Number seven, is to
design marketing materials and giveaways that get you noticed. Okay, so this is the fun
part. This is creating swag and having things that
are memorable in your booth. There’s
lots of things you can do here, but the key thing to remember here is that nobody wants
… a lot of people do this, but nobody wants the throwaway flyer pieces. Here’s a flyer
about this product, stick it in the bag. First of all, nobody really wants to carry
around that bag. You’ll see less and less people
carrying around bags full of literature, because the digital world that we live in has made
that a little bit obsolete. All I really need if I’m a prospect is to
know where I can go to learn more, can I go to your website? And of course your prospect’s not going to
remember to go to your website when he gets back, that’s why you need the email marketing
automation follow-up. Remember
to avoid the throwaway things, even if your flyer is gorgeous, it’s really not that
important. You might have a few of them stashed away
underneath the counter, if you need to, or a couple of catalogs if you need
to give out a catalog, but usually people will
ask for that sort of thing. This is not something that you want to hand
out and have that be your play. Yeah, so what do you do with your bag from
the trade show? Let’s see if you do what I
do every time. Well, I usually go through it. You go up to the hotel room and you do what? Well I go through it first, and I throw about
90% of it away, and I might keep a couple pens. Oh yeah, so you’re nicer than I- What do you do? I take the bag and I turn it upside down on
the extra bed, cause there’s always an extra bed, and I shake it out, and everything that’s
paper just goes right on the side thing for the maid to take the next day. Yeah, well that’s pretty much what I do. And then whatever I think my kids will like
I take back. That’s pretty much … yeah, so
when you’re thinking about those items that you’re going to choose, the coolest thing
is not always the right thing either. Do you know what the number one thing is that
stayed the number one promotional item that stays
in an office or a home longest? No. Chip clip. Chip clip. Oh yeah, right. It’s not sexy at all, but it’s … think about
what- People use it. The people use it yeah, in the office and
in the home. Think about what a promotional
item is designed to do. The longer that promotional item stays with
someone, typically the more valuable it is. So think about something that has staying
power. That’s why if
you’re going to give a pen, it should be a nice one. Think about something that has
staying power and think about something that fits your brand. Whatever the trendy
item of the year is, is not the thing for you, because there’s going to be 700 of them,
right? Yeah, that’s right. I think being, two things, being very generous
with … If you are going to do giveaways and swag, being generous with
your swag, and not going for the cheap things. The cheap things that you think are a good
deal, though that’s a total waste, because I think those get thrown away. Those are not memorable. So either being very
generous, and just knowing, “Hey, I know a lot of people are going to be unqualified
and I’m going to give it away anyway.” And recognize that there’s a certain amount
of brand recognition that’s going to happen by people
just carrying around your stuff, or wearing your backpack. I think a couple companies do a great job. Ergodyne is one that comes to mind. Just
have unbelievably cool swag that people actually want to wear, and of course it really
ties into their brand, because everything they create is wearable. So that’s an example
of one. I think stuff like this, like a really nice
mug, or things that you’re going to require somebody to definitely … You’re not just
going to hand this away to everybody that comes up to your booth. You’re going to ask for some information,
“Tell me about your job. Tell me about your position.” Capture some data on that lead, and then give
them some good stuff, because that has the staying
power. Renia:
Yeah, if you want to just do something cheap, you’re better off with candy that they can
just take a piece out of a bowl than the throwaway pens. I’m 100% in agreement. So I feel like number eight should really
be number two. It should have come up earlier
in the list, but let’s tell them number eight anyway. Yeah, you organized this, why isn’t this number
one? This should be the number one
thing, and that is that you have to have a persona. We talk a lot about that, but you
don’t … One of the frustrating things that I see sometimes is that we treat all prospects
equally when they come to the booth, and you can’t do that, because you know who
your sweet spot customer is, you know who is the ideal fit, and what you want to do
is spend more time on those people and less time
on the personas that are not the ideal customer. In fact, here’s where I would say, is that
not only should you have a persona, but you should also have an anti-persona. So who is the person that I don’t even want
to put that in my marketing funnel because that’s
just a waste of my time. They’re not a
purchase, they’re not a decision-maker or they’re actually somebody who I probably
don’t want to do business with because it’s not going to be good money. Having a persona, understanding who I’m targeting,
understanding what their job is so that I can better relate to them when I’m
on the show floor, when I’m talking to them in
person. I understand their struggles, I understand
their pain points, I understand their life. And then on the flip side, knowing, “Okay,
I found out quickly in the first couple 30 seconds of this conversation, that this is
my anti-persona, and actually I’m going to politely back out of this conversation,” I’m
going to say, “Hey, would you like a pen?” And then walk away. Yeah, one of the reasons you do that so early
on … you should do the persona so early on is because your booth design can do a lot
to keep your anti-persona out of your booth. One of the best booths I’ve ever seen had
a huge sign across the top of it that said, “Your writing sucks.” That’s awesome. If you’re like, “Yeah, you’re right,” you’re
probably going to keep walking on like, “Okay, my writing sucks.” But if you’re like me, who that really matters,
you’re going to stop there and ask some questions, right? So, that booth design can really do a lot. We do the same thing, and we’re very strategic
about it, we don’t … If you’re in to the status quo, and you’re very conservative,
and you’re not in growth mode, we’re probably not a good fit for you. But if you are in growth mode, and you are
looking to change things, then you’ll find us very attractive,
and it’s okay. We don’t bash those
people, we’re not judging them, we’re just saying, “You’re probably not going to like
what we’re doing, because we’re all about changing and moving forward, but if you’re
looking to stay safe then we’re not going to be a good fit.” So, I lied. Number nine is my favorite. What’s number nine, Matt? So the social engagement plan for the event. Right when you thought that this was all
about traditional marketing, we’re throwing all kinds of automation, and social media
marketing. Here’s the thing that you need to do, you
need to go do a little homework before the event, figure out what the hashtags
that the event is using, figure out who’s attending those events, and if you know those
two things you can do some cool things, right, Renia? I’m going to let you talk about those. Yeah, you can really do some cool things,
and this kills me because if any of you out there are like, “Man, I don’t get enough social
media engagement. How can I get people
to care? Why can’t I get people to interact with me
on social media?” Your trade shows
and live events are the number one opportunity for you to get people to interact with
you on social media. All it takes is a little bit of research. So going out, figuring out what
the hash tag is like Matt said, figuring out who the attendees are, and you don’t need
an attendee list for that. Typically, you can go on Twitter before an
event, even three or four months out, look at
the hashtag for the event, and you’ll see people posting about it. You can go on
Facebook. Any big trade show has a Facebook event. So you go on that Facebook event
and look at all the people who have RSVP’d as attending or going to attend, and then
follow those people on Twitter. You can put them on a list, you can put them
on a Facebook list, and start interacting with
those people. RSVP for the event yourself, and
start answering questions for those people. Then, if you have a really savvy CEO or Director
of Marketing, ask them to send you or another marketing person to the event to run
live broadcasts and handle interactions and answering questions at the event. Because the very best brands will have an
on-site social media person with a backup person back
in the office monitoring things. Because
that’s how you’re going to take all that investment you’ve made in the booth and
amplify it outside of just the event itself. Listen, what we are seeing in digital marketing,
is people taking more and more of their trade show budget out and away from doing
these big booths and stuff like that, and putting it in to digital. It doesn’t have to be that way, the two can
be married together in a really cool way where you get all of the
benefits of that offline interaction, and all of
the benefits of the digital interaction, but you’ve got to be on social … like if it’s
a three day conference, I’d say you want to be on
for five, six hours a day during that conference, interacting with people, just
the way a salesperson would be in the booth working. I would just add too, that if you’re not a
massive company that has two social media managers, or multiple people on your marketing
team, let’s just say you’re just one marketing person and you’re at the event,
there’s some things you can do with social engagement that will make a big impact, but
don’t require a huge amount of investment. Example of what we’re doing here, doing a
Facebook Live video of the event, talking, adding some engaging information,
and then taking that, boosting it, getting out to the people that are interested
in the event is another way. Of course, all
kinds of different social ads that you can run, both prior to the show, at the show,
and after the show. Directed specifically at people that are going
to be there. And while you’re at the show,
if you’re going to go live, you can direct ads right at the people in that general area
even down to just people who have checked in at
the hotel that you’re at. So there’s really a
whole lot that you can do there. If you’re a little confused about where to
start, we would love to help you with that. This is actually a place for little companies
to shine. If
you don’t have the six figure budget for your booth, doing the social piece well can get
you six figure budget results with a little bit of pre-planning. In fact, and I know we’re wrapping up here,
but in fact what I would say is, if you’ve historically done a huge booth, consider in
2018 just downsizing slightly, and you’re going to open up an entire swath of budget,
and then reallocate that budget to some more digital marketing as well to supplement,
not to replace but to enhance what you’re doing on the show floor. Absolutely. So as we’re wrapping up, we’ve given a lot
of different tips, and we’ve given them really fast, so it can be a lot of overwhelming
stuff to give them, so do you think we could give them something to help them
keep up with everything we told them to do? Yeah absolutely. We’ve created a nice little resource, it’s
a trade show checklist, it’s available on our website, just go to growwithsms.com. Scroll down to the bottom, you’ll
see it there at the bottom. It’s a trade show checklist. It’s a great resource to have. Something that is not going to help you plan
your entire show, but it will begin the conversation and help you wrap your mind around
all of the things that need to go into the planning and execution of your next trade
show. So now’s the time to do it. Renia said that we’re already a little bit
behind. I think you
can play catch up and get to where you need to be for this upcoming trade show
season. Yeah or maybe you’re starting for NSC in September,
you never know. Yeah, like us. So next week for Episode 24, as is tradition,
Lief will be joining us. Again, he’ll come out
from behind the camera, in front of the camera, to talk to us about what we’ve learned
so far, and boy have we learned a lot in the last several weeks with a lot of the fun
things we’ve been doing and a lot of the individual episodes. So come back to talk to
Lief, hear about what’s going on, and we’ll see you guys next week. We’re really excited
to be back together and with you. Have a great 2018, guys. We’ll see you next time. Bye-bye. Oh yeah, Lief just reminded me to ask you
the question again. So we just
wanted to remind you, please in the comments below, if you’re watching on Facebook
or YouTube, let us know how you prepare for your trade shows, what are some of your
rituals that you go through, that’ll enter you to win some cool swag from SMS that we’ll
talk to you about next week. See you later. Hey everybody, thanks for joining us. If you’re just getting started with us on
Grow Live, be sure to check out some of our favorite
episodes in the show notes. And don’t forget that you can see us live
on Facebook, every Wednesday at noon, or you can find us on YouTube and binge past episodes
in full HD. If you found this helpful and you want to
see more, leave us a review and we’ll enter you for a chance to win some Grow Live swag. Thanks again, everybody.


  1. Thanks for sharing the information. we provide Lead Retrieval App ( www.leadretrievalapps.com ) for trade shows that helps you scan the QR Codes printed on the attendee badges to collect and store leads right on their mobile devices and an online portal. We have integration done with Salesforce CRM where the leads get sync with the click of a button. It increases exhibitors ROI and helps them generate more quality leads.

  2. Great insight. Communicating your goals to your team and creating a clear game plan is vital to trade show success.

  3. Very thorough explanation of what it means to be and stay prepared at a successful trade-show booth/ expo booth, very insightful and helpful!

  4. Thanks for sharing the great tips, It was really a wonderful video and I was really impressed by watching this video. We provide Lead Retrieval App for trade shows, It helps exhibitors to scan the QR Codes printed on the attendee badges to collect and store leads right on their mobile devices and an online portal. It has integration done with Salesforce CRM where the leads get sync with the click of a button. It increases exhibitors ROI and helps them generate more quality leads. For more information please check out here: https://www.leadretrievalapps.com

  5. so good thank's I'm agree with you but suggest you to see this for more info: https://www.digisilkroad.com/en/blog/article/101414/trade-show-planning-process-for-international-companies

  6. FYI, The Definitive Guide to B2B Trade Show Marketing, The Ultimate Guide to Trade Show Booth Design, The Ultimate Trade Show Checklist are all on here without links. Would love to check them out.

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