Written by Nicole Schmidt
Just when we were all feeling like we may be “in the clear” with the majority of planned in-person trade shows taking place successfully, many shows have been canceled or rescheduled again. Although this may be disappointing for your business (trust us, we get it!), this past year and a half has shown just how much face-to-face marketing benefits businesses. If you are seeing some of your shows cancel, reschedule (or reschedule again), here are 5 checklist items to make sure you stay on track with your trade show marketing strategy during this strange time.
1. Plan and improve your digital marketing and social media
This past year has also proven how important digital marketing and social media promotion can be for businesses. Even with the interim shift to virtual and digital trade shows and events, now is the perfect time for planning and improvement for your in-person events.
- Create or revamp your landing pages for your trade shows. Does the branding on your landing pages reflect the branding in your physical booth? Do you have the proper marketing materials on your site that also reflect what you are offering in your booth space? Now is the perfect time to make these changes or additions if not!
- Plan, plan, plan your social media posts. Create enticing graphics that will make attendees want to visit your booth. Create both posts and stories and make sure to continue using appropriate hashtags to reach a broader audience. Software like Adobe Spark or Canva/Canva Pro can help you create graphics that stand out with little graphic design knowledge needed!
- Make sure to utilize your social media platforms to let attendees know about your trade show schedule. Promote that you will be exhibiting at your shows that are still planning a face-to-face event. Have any of the shows on your trade show scheduled been canceled or rescheduled? Let your followers know so it is clear where and when they can find you on a trade show floor.
2. Rearrange, upgrade or switch up branding your trade show exhibit
You have had a lot of time to reflect on the layout and arrangement of your exhibit. Is there anything you would change? If you think you should remove or add any elements in your booth, now is a great time to get a head start on that, especially if any of your big shows have moved to 2022. Especially with supply chain complications happening everywhere, the earlier you can start planning to make necessary changes to your exhibit properties – the better!
3. Be the booth everyone is excited to visit at the trade show!
Sure, having attendees stop in and get more information on your company is great, but don’t you want people to be excited to visit you at the show? Are those branded water bottles going to waste at your shows? Time to re-think your offers! Create an enticing giveaway that is hard for attendees to not want to enter their name in to win. More on how to fill your booth with attendees here!
4. Brand your masks and marketing materials
Don’t forget – there are shows that are still going forward as planned, but most show organizers are requiring masks to enter the exhibit hall (largely based on city or state mandates). This is a perfect opportunity to affordably brand your masks with your logo or match your booth branding. This may seem small, but any chance for additional branding can make an impact and help attendees remember you at the show.
5. Keep the relationships with your clients alive
Most importantly, don’t let your relationships with clients fade just because you may have had to take a pause on exhibiting. Reach out to them and let them know you are still there and appreciate their relationship and business. If your shows are still proceeding, be sure to let them know that you will be at the show in person – back and better than ever!
Skyline is still here for you and will help you navigate your current trade show schedule, no matter what it looks like – cancellations, rescheduled shows, hybrid events, or fully virtual ones – we’ve got you covered. Reach out today and together we’ll get a plan in place to ensure you are staying in front of your customers!
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)
Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items.