5 Way to Make Trade Shows Pay Off

 - February 28, 2013, 9:45 AM

The business aviation industry is undeniably trade-show driven. If your company wants to meet and market to influential aviation professionals, trade shows can be a great place. AIN–which began publishing show dailies onsite more than 40 years ago at the NBAA’s annual convention–now also produces dailies at ABACE, EBACE, Heli-Expo, LABACE, MEBA, the Paris Airshow, Farnborough Airshow, Singapore Airshow and Dubai Airshow.

Needless to say, we have learned some things over the years about how a company can maximize its exposure. Marketers should concentrate on what they are doing before, during and after the show to get the most for their budgets. That’s why we have come up with five tips to help your company at the next trade show.

1. Use Social Media for Promotion

Social media can be an easy way to announce your presence at the event and connect with other professionals. Make sure you are hyping your presence before, during and after the show. Before the show, announce how people can find your company and what events you plan on attending. Follow the show’s official social-media channels. While there, announce your arrival and share your reactions to the show. Post pictures and use the event hashtags to engage others. After the show, provide a recap and share your newfound knowledge with the community. Reflect on how social media helped you during the event.

2. Use Contests for Lead Generation

Attracting people to your booth and getting contacts for leads is no easy task. That’s why luring the leads in with prizes and entertainment can make your life much easier. The obvious tool you can employ is contests using business cards. We have seen companies raffle off prizes ranging from iPads to Harley-Davidsons. Entertainment shows have included hole-in-one golfing contests and even shows with magicians.

Before the trade show, identify your target demographic and try to deem what prize might attract its members. Once at the show, market your contest with signs to bring people in to your booth. Use the raffle as a talking point before you ask for someone’s contact information. Once you get back from the show, promptly follow up with the lead. Even if the individual didn’t win the prize, you will have an initial talking point for potentially doing business with that person.

3. Create an Event within the Trade Show

Using trade shows to network with business professionals and influencers to your company is important. Creating an event to get face to face with those people is a proven tactic. Many companies invite their industry peers to cocktail parties to catch up with each other. If possible, offer your event attendees something more tangible that will excite them about your event and open a business dialogue. Invite your peers to a breakfast with a credible speaker to talk about the state of the industry. Or create a focus group that sparks a personal conversation between your company and its influencers.

4. Write a Press Release

Have news to announce at the show? Write a press release for the media. Here are some simple guidelines for submitting news to the AIN show dailies:

  • We accept releases in any format, but prefer that you use a common word processor such as Microsoft Word, with plain text and no fancy fonts.
  • State the information clearly and concisely. There’s no need to gussy it up with fancy terms and superlatives.
  • Send the press release via email, to mthurber@ainonline.com.
  • Include a description in the subject line (for example, “NBAA Press Release: New Engine Overhaul Process” instead of just “Press Release”).
  • Include the press release as text in the body of the email. It can also be attached, but even if it is, we prefer that you also paste the text into the email.
  • Include high-resolution digital photos, or a link to where photos can be downloaded.
  • Include caption information for photos, including names and titles of all people in the photos.
  • Make sure to include contact information if we have any questions.

5. Buy Ads to Maximize Traffic to your Booth

Just because you have a booth does not mean that your target audience will find you in a giant exposition hall. Tell the audience who you are and where you’ll be through advertising. Advertisements can be effective before and during the show and can tell your target audience where you can be found. If you have an event or are holding a raffle, get the attendees excited about your contribution to the show.