In Part One of our series on effective trade show planning for Irvine, CA, we touched on the importance of planning for your upcoming event. Today, we are going to take a closer look at what specific steps you should take leading up to the show using social media and your current contacts.

PROMOTIONAL IDEAS AHEAD OF THE SHOW

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We strongly recommend marketing your presence at an upcoming trade show up to six months in advance of the event. If your business is seen as an authority in the industry, prospects will pay attention to you. This will create a snowball effect of creating credibility and driving traffic to your enterprise. Here are a few ideas on how you can build a buzz and communicate information about what your company will be promoting:

1. CREATE A SHOW LANDING PAGE

This should be on your website and should specifically reference the event you are exhibiting at. Flagging the page with the show name and year serves a number of purposes. It provides a convenient place for clients to visit for information, it helps your Google ranking, and it improves SEO, or search engine optimization.

2. PREPARE QR CODES

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You should print your QR (quick response) codes in your advertisements, flyers, business cards, envelopes, vehicle wraps, product packaging, and anywhere else you plan to promote your show presence. The QR code helps your prospects connect quickly with you online by simply scanning it with their smartphones. They get immediate information and gratification. Either promote new products about to be launched or engage in promotional marketing. For example, you may have a free iPad 2 giveaway.

If you are planning a demo video, record and link it to a QR tag. The essence of good marketing is getting your prospects to your online presence. From there, they will quickly learn about your company and share your information within their network.

3. CREATE A SPECIAL GROUP ON LINKEDIN

Well ahead of the show, create a group on LinkedIn. As your prospects and customers are debating about whether they want to attend or not, group postings will provide relevant information. And, as you provide key reasons for them to attend, you can also provide a conduit for them to ask questions and offer thoughts on your products. This gives you feedback on your planning process while adding to your SEO. Be sure to include keywords for your show so it is searchable on LinkedIn, and your prospects can find you.

4. STEP UP YOUR BLOG ACTIVITY

Post blogs that draw attention to the show, like a new product launch, a seminar, or a unique offer. You can gather important feedback via comments that may help drive your show strategy and may lead to setting appointments to meet with clients.

5. PRODUCE A FLYER

If you have a mailing list of customers, mail out your flyer two to three months ahead of the trade show. A glossy, colorfully designed flyer may be kept as a reminder for certain types of social media challenged clients. The flyer may contain key points about your presence at the show, such as booth number, a free entry pass, new product information, or your iPad 2 giveaway or other promo. Your sales force may use the flyer as a selling tool, or employees may hand them out at networking groups and mixers.

6. WRAP A VEHICLE

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One of the most effective forms of advertising today is vehicle graphics. They reach a thousand people at just 35 cents while other forms of outdoor advertising cost $3.56 per thousand impressions. Promote your presence at a trade show with standout graphics featuring your message and logo. Remember to also incorporate your social media icons and QR code.

7. BUDGET FOR FREE GIVEAWAYS

A T-shirt, that iPad 2, a vacation getaway, a low-priced gimmicky toy, or anything else that can drive interest to your booth and create visibility for your business during the show will work to your benefit. It does not have to be expensive. For instance, a nice tote bag is probably the most visible product you could print your logo on. It is also useful since it can be used to carry your competitors’ trinkets. Voila! You have outsmarted your rivals!

As you prepare for the 2016 trade show season, consider contacting Caliber Signs & Imaging for your trade show displays and graphics for Irvine, CA. Contact us today for a free consultation and be sure to check out Part Three of this series on Trade Show Planning!