Trade shows are back and based on our experience at Pack Expo in October, we expect record numbers of attendees for 2023 equipment manufacturing events. Attendees are eager to see products in action and talk to experts whose products and services can streamline their industrial processes, improve their output, and reduce production expenses. Equipment manufacturers hosting exhibits say meaningful relationships are built when they can talk directly with buyers and clearly demonstrate the value they offer.
While trade shows are energizing, you’ve likely experienced sensory overload with the creative ways exhibitors vie for attention. So as an exhibitor, even if you are in a large booth with a good location, interactive exhibits, and top-notch giveaways - how can you be sure you are reaching your best prospects? Digital marketing before and after the event will improve your connections at the show and extend your reach for months beyond.
Equipment Manufacturing Digital Marketing for Trade Shows
Connecting with targeted prospects before and after the show through digital marketing channels increases the likelihood that the prospect will find your booth and then remember you after the event. Trade shows are simply too expensive to leave a prospect untapped so here are some techniques to maximize the ROI:
B2B Manufacturer Marketing Tactics Before a Trade Show
- Obtain the list of attendees from the show organizer. Event exhibitors are often given a list of registered attendees who have given permission to be contacted.
- Create a landing page on your website detailing who is attending, what you are showcasing, and where to find you. Link to your product pages that you will be highlighting and specify the value visitors to your booth will receive.
- Will you have special tradeshow pricing? Include details here! Will you have giveaways, snacks, charging stations, or prizes? You know what your target audience likes (Yeti coolers for a prize drawing?) and needs (a place to sit for a drink of water while they check email?) so give them some reasons to come find you.
- Post on social channels using the hashtag of the event with lots of photos and videos of products and engaging personalities (your sales team is rich with personality!)
- Promote your presence at the event with digital search and display ads.
- Post LinkedIn ads targeting professionals in your target industry.
B2B Marketing Tactics at the Show
Keep socially engaged with several posts on your company’s social media pages each day. Livestream on social channels to share the excitement and remember to show not just yourself but other innovative exhibitors and clients who come by to say hello.
Track who you speak to. However you engage with the exhibitors at the event, get their information! For example, use a prize drawing that visitors can enter by scanning a QR code with their phone. By entering the contest they can submit to being contacted by your company so you gain a channel for ongoing communication with leads.
Digital Marketing for Manufacturers After a Trade ShowThe contact information obtained at trade shows is tremendously valuable and needs to be managed closely. A CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce (used well) will make managing follow-up sales activities easily manageable and prevent leads from slipping through the cracks. But even without a CRM, equipment manufacturers who manage the data with close attention to detail will extend the potential of leads gained at the show.
- Ideally, the contact information was collected in a digital format during the show so it can be immediately loaded into the manufacturing CRM. Any contacts gathered through paper forms or other methods should be entered into the CRM or tracking system as soon as possible.
- If you conducted a contest or prize drawing, share the name and photo of the winner.
- Update the landing page with photos and video demonstrations from the tradeshow, and reiterate the deadline for tradeshow pricing. You may even extend pricing to additional items that you learned were in demand at the show.
CRM for Manufacturers
Now that you have a list of attendees, customize email communications to their interests. Set up campaigns with your email system or CRM to regularly touch base with the prospective buyer by providing valuable content they can use, whether or not they purchase from you. Position your organization as the expert in the field and prospective buyers will trust the relationship that is being built as more than a competitor who is solely driven by the next sale.
And of course, schedule the follow-up phone calls. Plan several check-ins over time, with detailed notes in the CRM so you’ll never lose track of the customer status in the buying funnel.
Trade show marketing for manufacturers needs to include a robust digital strategy to extend the budget well beyond the days of the event. When it comes to managing the leads gained, a CRM will automate sales and marketing tasks and build the prospect base for ongoing communication to move prospective customers more easily through the buyer’s journey. Most importantly a CRM will keep good leads from slipping through the cracks over time.
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