JB’s Space: How to Target the Right VIP at your Trade Show

While trade shows remain one of the best marketing tools available, it’s not just a matter of repeating the famous line from the movie, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Having an awesome exhibit will help attract visitors to your booth, but if you’re looking for a specific VIP or VIP’s to visit you at the show, you may have to do more in the way of pre-show marketing in order to attract those key prospects.

With today’s marketing automation programs, a company can target specific trade show attendees before, during, and after the event.

While not really that new, marketing automation software is now one of the fastest growing marketing trends available. Marketing automation programs help marketers to more effectively market across multiple channels including email campaigns and social media.

However, these programs do a lot more than just reaching out to existing and potential clients. They can also assist marketers in determining some other key demographics about their prospective clients including their interests, buying habits and “hot-buttons”.

There are a number of programs out there that will do this including:  Act-On, HubSpot. Swiftpage, and Eloqua – among others.

The idea is to create a comprehensive strategy with tactical initiatives and great content to get the best results. Here are a few steps that will help you develop your game plan.

In order to put your plan together you first need to start with knowing your target audience and who the decision makers are. Is your objective to reach “C” level executives, design engineers, supply chain managers or someone else? Knowing this in advance will help you in developing the right content for the audience you’re seeking to reach.

All of this takes time so plan your Marketing Automation campaign months ahead of your trade show so that you can roll it out in time to garner the attention of the right people.

Marketing Automation programs include specific calls to action and must contain information that is most likely of interest to your target audience. Depending on whom the person is this may be a series of white papers, new product announcements, or even an invitation to attend a private trade show reception.

Create at least three or four emails to send to attendees well before the show, continuing right up to within a week or two of the show’s opening. These emails can be part of a Marketing Automation lead nurturing campaign that includes specific decision steps, calls to action, and forms to capture additional information about your prospects and other trade show attendees.

In addition, you can utilize Marketing Automation to group potential buyers into segments based on behavior. This can be anything from what websites they visit, to form submissions, or what other trade shows they attend.

Segments can be created to include job title, company information and other variables so that the emails that you send are targeting the appropriate person.

Another way to gain the attention and perhaps the contact information of key decision makers is to create a Google ad campaign that promotes resources which offer solutions for your prospects. For example, hold a webinar, create an instructional video or promote a booth activity that will be of keen interest to your potential clients. Within your ad campaign be sure to use keywords that are relevant to the show and what you’re offering.

It’s all about creating the right content. If you do this and combine it with the power of Marketing Automation not only will you attract the right visitors to your booth but you’ll be building a database of information that you can use for post-show follow-up and future trade shows as well.

That’s JB’s Space for now. Thanks for visiting.