Trade shows can be a great computer marketing tool. But start small, say, at your local chamber of commerce business-to-business (B2B) expo.

An easy beginner’s mistake is to just rent a table, show up with some business cards and flyers, and then sit all day wondering why nothing much is happening.

With just a bit of planning, you can radically improve your outcome.

Here are five tips to help you get the strongest bottom-line results from your next local trade show exhibit:

  1. Plan your trade show presence around the needs of the sponsoring organization: Your booth, marketing collateral, and mini-seminar should all be focused on the central theme and needs of the sponsoring organization.

  2. Heavily promote the mini-seminars at your booth: While most exhibitors rely on institutional advertising techniques, you’ll be delivering valuable educational content. If possible, rent the list of registered show attendees and send your own targeted direct mail piece 7-10 days before the show. Also, since you’ll be giving attendees a big reason to spend more time at the show, ask if the planner can display several poster-sized copies of your mini-seminar schedule prominently throughout the expo hall. Be sure to also talk to the conference planner about including your mini-seminars in the public relations efforts for the expo. (Got a YouTube link or DVD of a previous talk and some related testimonials? Win the event planner over early!)

  3. Publicize your trade show event with existing clients: Send invitations to existing clients. Make your credibility soar by having satisfied clients visit your booth with live testimonials to prospective clients during your mini-seminar!

  4. Consider cross-promoting your booth: If you know some of the other exhibitors (you joined the planning committee, right?), ask if they could plug your booth from their booth, and vice versa. Cross-marketing can be a very powerful marketing strategy.

  5. Issue a call to action for the attendees: Think about how you can motivate mini-seminar attendees to contact you following the event. Have a limited-time special offer. Even better? Have an extra special bonus for new clients that sign up at the trade show. 

To maximize your computer marketing results, a little advance planning can go a long way. Follow these five steps to prepare for your next trade show, and you, too, may just attract more clients in four hours than many of your competitors attract in 12 months. If you have some tips on successful trade show exhibiting, please add them in the comments section below.

And if you need to tie your trade show results into your big-picture marketing strategy, be sure to enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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