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Solutions for Trade Show Marketing During Unprecedented Times

 

In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic right now. The COVID-19 coronavirus has decimated businesses in all industries. Travel, tourism, dining and health care are all taking hits. Historically, when a company or an entire industry takes a hit, the policy is to double down on your marketing endeavors to bring in new business and help right the ship. One great tool in the belt to do that has always been trade shows.

But we’re in unprecedented times right now and trade shows are being cancelled or postponed all over the country. So, what can we do?

Here’s a list of things you can do to supplement your trade show program while we socially isolate and give this virus time to run its course as well as a few suggestions for what to do with some of your trade show exhibits laying dormant.

  • Create Webinars
    Webinars are a great way to continue to educate your clients on new products or new ways to use existing products while maintaining a safe distance. Continue to build a strong relationship with your clients by showing you are a thought-leader among your competitors.
  • Make Your Website Easy to Use
    This holds true with or without a virus however, if people aren’t walking through the front door, the only place they will interact with you is in the virtual world. This is a good time to make sure your website (and your social media for that matter) is up to snuff.
  • Connect With Your Clients One on One
    Now this may not be possible in a physical sense in your showroom or at a coffee shop for the time being but what is very possible is making a connection with as many of your clients as you can. This can be an email campaign, but a phone call or video conference can be even more effective. Show your clients that you’re still able to help them with whatever they need and you’re ready to make it happen.

Now what about all your trade show assets laying around waiting for your shows to return? It will be no surprise to you that I have thoughts on that too!

  • Work on Your Messaging
    If your trade show program is going dark for a month or two this is a great time to really think through the branding and messaging to make sure you come back strong with powerful, on-brand and exciting messaging. If your messaging has shifted or you just need a refresh, this is the time to start working on it.
  • Working from Home?
    If you find yourself working from home unexpectedly but still need to put on a professional video conference having your unmade bed in the background may not portray the best message. Popup exhibits and portable displays can serve as an excellent backdrop for those who are working from home in less than ideal settings such as the kitchen table or a desk in the bedroom.
  • Viral Marketing (sorry… I had to)
    There is an increased need to convey strong messaging around the COVID-19 situation. Using your banner stands with a new graphic can help guide your clients and customers to the hand washing stations or tell them the various processes you’ve put in place to keep them safe and healthy while they’re in your office. This goes a long way to putting their mind at ease and know that you have their best interest at the top of your mind.
  • Set-up Your Exhibit
    Your trade show booth does nobody any good sitting packed away in the closet. You might as well set it up. It can give team members that haven’t had the chance to go to the trade shows insight into how you market the company. It gives customers coming in a chance to see the exhibit and interact with it in a more personal way.

Trade shows are not going away for good and you’ll get to put that tool back in your belt soon. In the meantime, continue to connect with your clients in creative ways, find uses for the exhibits sitting in your marketing closet and above all stay safe and healthy!

Capturing & Managing Leads at Trade Shows Book

In this book, Skyline has compiled 27 blog posts originally published in the Skyline E-TIPS blog. The posts combine valuable information about trade show and event staffing, giveaways and lead management. From experienced trade show consultants, traditional marketers and digital marketing practitioners, these authors know Trade Shows and how to leverage modern technology (lead applications) and techniques to improve leads collected at your trade shows and events. We also dive into effective giveaways and booth staffing.

Chris Rowe
About the Author

Chris Rowe is an Exhibiting Consultant with Skyline Displays Midwest, a full service global exhibit, event and environments studio located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, Chris is passionate about helping people, and he makes his client's goals, problems and aspirations his own. His career in theatre has taught him that often the best solution to a complicated problem is the simplest one. He has made a career in communicating thoughts, concepts and ideas to his clients and there is no better education for that than being on stage. Chris believes that trade shows are performances at their core - put on a good show and the word will spread!

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