Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Tradeshows | 0 comments

How to Generate B2B Leads in Our New COVID-19 World

How to Generate B2B Leads in Our New COVID-19 World

by Deb Harrsch

We’re not going to trade shows anymore. In fact, I don’t see us (meaning all businesses globally) going to trade shows for the remainder of this year – and possibly into 2021. This means a couple of things:

  1. We’re not going to have customers or prospects walking up to our booths.
  2. We (sales and marketing) still need to produce leads.

Well, you might say, “But what about virtual trade shows?” It’s a valid point. Many shows did pivot to an online format. Some have worked (sort-of), while others have been significantly less successful at producing leads.

As you move forward with virtual trade events, you should be very careful and do your homework. Ask how the show organizers will provide your company with contact information for attendees. After all, you can’t scan a booth visitor’s card, get their business card, or talk to them at a virtual event.

So, where else are you going to go? Where are you going to get leads from?

You need to find a way to get those leads and be smart with your dollars.

It’s a Digital World After All

We’re living in a very different world. Some people are no longer at their office desks and perhaps they’re not getting their print publications at home. So, now what’s happening? Print publications are stacking up at the office and visibility is limited. Right now, it’s all about making sure potential customers can see you in multiple ways and you can generate leads in multiple ways.

That’s why digital marketing and advertising are important.

In this post-COVID world, social media and advertising have become even more important marketing tactics. At Brandwidth Solutions, we are very focused on lead generation for our clients.

Produce Solid Leads from Advertising

Smart advertising is one way to create leads. It starts with smart spending and ends with creating specific types of digital and print ads.

What I often hear is, “I don’t have a big ad budget.” My answer to that: You aren’t going to all of the trade shows you had scheduled this year, are you? This gives you dollars you can reallocate. Now, I know the trade show companies want you to shift that budget to next year – but perhaps it’s possible to just move the deposit. But you and I both know, if you don’t spend it now, you’ll lose it. So, let’s use those dollars wisely.

Look at it this way: because you’re not going to shows where you would have spent $50,000 to $80,000, you have an opportunity to increase your budgets in other digital marketing areas that are working right now. Let’s use some of those dollars to increase your ad budget, your content development budget, and your social media budget so that you can deliver more leads.

But, all the ad budget in the world isn’t going to produce leads unless you create the right type of advertising. Brand awareness ads aren’t going to cut it. You’ve got to develop ads that speak to the value your company offers. You’ve got to deliver assets that help your prospect (remember, you need to deliver content addressing your customer’s journey). And then you’ve got to collect their contact information.

The World of Life Science Advertising Has Changed

It used to be that life science software, contract pharma services, and lab equipment advertisers had a choice of search engine ads (like Google Ads) or print ads in trade publications. But, the world of life sciences advertising is very different now. There are many more ad opportunities available.

This shift had already started prior to COVID-19. Now, it’s a whole new ball game.

Yes, we have search engine marketing (SEM) with Google Ads and display ads. We have paid social media. We still have print ads.

However, we also have newer products, like webinar sponsorships and podcast sponsorships. Trade publications and association publications have all introduced more lead generation advertising products. In addition to advertising on their websites and in print, we’re now able to sponsor targeted newsletters to specific audiences. In some cases, it may be a vendor ad, but in other cases it’s possible to sponsor an entire newsletter.

Publications also offer promotions of thought leadership interview videos and podcasts. In addition, there are promotions of gated white papers that produce spreadsheets of leads, text ads which drive traffic to your landing pages, and digital ad retargeting.

Choices, Choices and More Choices

Before you can develop an ad plan that delivers the leads your team needs, you’ll have to do some research and make some choices. You’ll need to think through where and how you’ll get the most leads for your budget. You’ll also need to identify all the assets you have on hand – or need to create – to give your prospects a reason to engage. Most importantly, you need to think about your customer’s journey from awareness to consideration to buying.

Or, you can call us.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Mar 26, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Marketing in Uncertain Times: Should You Do It?

For Ideas from Brandwidth Solutions on marketing during coronavirus or a crisis, read on.

by Deb Harrsch

The coronavirus COVID-19 has thrown all of us off course seemingly overnight. Every marketing department has been stuck in crisis mode for almost a month now (depending on your industry and global location). We’ve had trade shows cancelled or postponed until Q3. We’ve had marketing campaigns planned and ready to execute which no longer make sense. Fear, confusion, and paralysis about what to do next is the order of the day in our remote offices.

That was okay – initially. We all need to adjust to new realities.

Now, however, it’s time to ask: “How am I going to make up for the leads I’m not going to get at the trade show?”

A lot of audiences, especially in the pharma and the healthcare world, don’t want you in their offices. Many have sent their employees home. In healthcare settings, they don’t want you coming into their offices for sales calls. In the B2B space, we miss out when we don’t have the face-to-face meeting.

Right now, the marketing field is level. Your competitors are dealing with the exact same situation. They are also not able to walk into hospitals or pharma companies for sales calls either. You’re all in the same boat. It’s not like your competitor can get a leg up on you because they’re not travelling either.

Don’t be afraid.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the following quote from JFK a lot – on social media, in articles and newsletters:

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

It’s a great quote and perfect for the times in which we find ourselves now. This is when you need to move from the scary part of the crisis to the opportunity side of the crisis. Your marketing department needs to reframe this crisis as an opportunity.

Marketing During a Crisis: Shifting Mindsets

We need to shift our mindset from panic to opportunity. Doing something differently always feels dangerous somehow – even if it’s not.

The first step is to take a deep breath, step back, and survey your marketing landscape. You need to assess what you had scheduled in your marketing plan. I know you already started implementing it in January – before you knew about this crisis – and before you knew all your trade shows were going to be cancelled.

But, guess what? Your competitors are also stepping back and figuring out a way around the hand we’ve been dealt. Your job is to do it sooner and spend less time in crisis mode.

You aren’t alone, though. You can work with your agency to figure it all out. It’s time to prioritize what you’ve got to deal with immediately and what still works from your plan. Then you need to make a new plan for the rest of the year. That’s when you can go to your boss with a solid plan.

Part of that “taking a step back and taking a breath” is shifting your marketing mindset from crisis reaction to opportunity. This is where you can show-off your marketing skills and try new tools and tactics. Doing something new is fun and exciting – and can potentially pay big dividends.

What to do first? Asset Audits and Internal Relationships

First up is an asset audit. What marketing tools do you have? What content assets do you have? Part of that asset audit needs to be conversations with your new best friends – your sales team. Who better to tell you what your prospects need than the folks who talk to them all the time?

Now that those trade shows and onsite meetings are cancelled for the next few months, your sales team has some idle time on their hands. Yes, they’ll be making phone calls instead, but they will have time to talk to you.

So talk with your sales team. They may be able to tell you what you’re missing in your marketing toolbox, what literature they need, what case studies they need, what white papers they’re looking for, and what application notes they need. They can tell you all of that.

The other key activity your sales team has time for now is the CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Yup, it’s time to update the big scary CRM! But, you need to frame the need properly with sales. Don’t just say, “Oh, you haven’t updated the CRM in the last few months.”

You’ve got to explain why. Say: “Because we are now in a position where we can’t meet our customers at trade shows, we need our CRM to be complete. We need to know what people are interested in and the last time you talked to them. Please use this time so we can leverage it from a marketing perspective to help you.” Let them know that their efforts in updating the CRM can help you build lead generation and nurturing campaigns to both your customers and your prospects.

This is a golden opportunity to forge new relationships and solid partnerships between sales and marketing departments (for more on why they should be best friends, check out this post).

Questions to Develop a New Marketing Plan

Since the marketing plan you developed and budgeted for last year isn’t 100% viable any longer, you need to ask yourself some questions. The key question is: “How am I going to help my sales team – who can’t get on a plane – reach their audience?”

The next question is: “What tools do I have that I can use to make up those leads?” This is a time that gives you an opportunity to assess new tools to add to your marketing toolbox.

You also need to look at whether you can find your sales team tools to help them communicate, such as conferencing methods or virtual meetings. We have clients who hold user group meetings. If they can’t switch the date, and it can’t be held live – we need to look at switching over to a virtual model and stream it.

As you figure out how you’re going to make up those leads and what tools you’re going to use, you’re likely going to find that you’ll need more collateral. You’re going to need more assets to share and you’re going to need more conversation.

Now, how are you going to fund tool and collateral development? That might, for once, actually be the easiest part.

Repurposing Your Marketing Budget

Are you asking how you’re going to fund the changes in your marketing tactics? Well, there’s one spot where you’ve got quite a lot of marketing dollars that aren’t going to be used – trade shows, travel, and the related activities.

If your trade shows have been cancelled, there are a couple of areas where you can find budget. For instance, if you hadn’t finished paying for the trade show, there’s some money there. Then there is the travel, the promotion, the ads and you had email marketing scheduled, PR – all of that is now “found budget” you can repurpose to fund your new marketing tactics.

So repurpose those funds, use those blasts for a different campaign, and have dialogues with publications on how you can reach their audiences.

What Can You Do Differently?

If you’re not used to being able to think outside the box, here are a few tactics you can use.

  • B2B Social Media: You’re going to have to rely on social media to keep conversations going, but you’re going to need assets to do it. So all of those collateral pieces your sales team told you about in your asset audit? The case studies, white papers, application notes, and literature – you’ll need to start creating all of that in order to use it for social media, email, and advertising.
  • Digital and Print Advertising with Downloads: It’s not advertising as usual anymore. Whenever you run an ad, whether it’s print or digital, make sure you’ve got an engaging landing page – and make sure the prospect can download something valuable to their buying journey.
  • Comprehensive Email Marketing: Start building your own list. Don’t just rely on list rentals. Then build email campaigns using your new assets. After webinars (see below), follow-up with lead nurturing campaigns. And when trade shows come back (and they will), use your email list to promote, follow-up, and nurture.
  • Webinars: Use webinars more. Or start using webinars. It’s basically a trade show in a box!

But, when you’re doing a webinar, make sure it’s not a hard sales pitch with only your company doing the talking. We’ve found the most successful way of running a webinar is for the host company to speak for a very short time, with one of their customers doing the bulk of the presentation. You will always have more interest and registrations if your webinar shows people what your company can do from a customer’s point of view.

And Finally, a Note of Encouragement

We can’t forget that we are in a global crisis and we need to be sensitive to what our customers and prospects are dealing with, but this is a perfect opportunity to develop your sales and marketing organizations. At the end of this – as hard as this is – you are going to have a stronger marketing department.

And remember, during the Great Depression, the companies that marketed through it were stronger on the other end. Now, we’re not in a depression (at least not yet), but globally – just like the Great Depression – we are all in it together.

Don’t back away. Don’t be frightened of it, and don’t let anybody keep you stuck in crisis mode. There are some things you’re going to have to do that are pretty critical now, but take a breath and make a plan.

Don’t let the coronavirus quarantine your marketing efforts. Whether you need help assessing how the coronavirus could impact your upcoming marketing campaigns or guidance on what opportunities your marketing department can take advantage of, let’s connect and talk about how we can help.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Feb 7, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Effective Trade Show Booths: The Dos and Don’ts of Booth Design

Effective Trade Show Booths: The Dos and Don’ts of Booth Design

Photo Courtesy of LGM Pharma

by Larry Worden and Deb Harrsch

There’s a lot of information out there about the best ways to exhibit at a trade show and follow up with leads (including on this blog here, here, and here). What I don’t see a lot of information about is what your prospects are thinking when they attend a trade show.

Let’s take a short journey from your customer’s perspective – and figure out what could make your trade show booth one your customers want to visit.

Why Are Your Prospects at the Show?

Let’s first think about why your prospects are at a show like AACC, for instance. After all, it’s not all fun and games or an excuse to get out of the lab for a few days.

They might be attending because they are in an acquisition cycle. If they are, this means they want to have a close look at your technologies, and the advancements and efficiencies of your equipment or assays. They need to talk to your R&D personnel and service staff to understand what you have, its operational life span, and what’s on the horizon for you.

Or – if they aren’t looking to buy right away – they’re investigating new technologies or solutions from up-and-coming companies. They’re also talking to staff from companies they currently use to express concerns or seek solutions to challenges. No matter where they are in their purchasing cycle, they are always studying available techniques and innovations. They also are researching what they need in order to bring new testing capabilities into their labs.

Trade Show Booth Elements: What Works and What Doesn’t

Open, Clearly-Organized Booths

Show attendees prefer booths that are open and welcoming. Your booth is not a castle to be defended. Visitors don’t want to feel like a mouse in a maze. Lay out your booth in a way that allows visitors (from outside the booth) to select the product areas they want to visit. Use signage to help your prospects navigate your trade show real estate.

Appropriate Booth Lighting

It’s surprising what people remember about your booth. Lighting is one critical element to consider. Of course, you want to highlight important areas, but you don’t want to make it hard to see what you’re highlighting. You want to make the experience of your booth calm and relaxing – not have visitors feel as though they need sunglasses or are under a harsh spotlight. You can still highlight important areas, but use more diffuse lighting. Consider placing the lighting higher above your exhibit or use lower-wattage bulbs.

Walkable, Comfortable Flooring

Believe it or not, your booth flooring choice matters. Yes – everyone recognizes that your booth staff needs (and deserves) some padding. Visitors also appreciate the relief from those unrelenting concrete floors. But, you need to be certain that the matting you choose is trip-proof and easy to walk on. I’ve heard some of those plush carpeted booths referred to as “walking through mud,” “quicksand,” and “a mattress” well after a show ends. Consider the floor choice of your booth.

Provide Interactive Experiences

Prospects enjoy being able to self-direct their booth visits. Nobody likes the used car salesman treatment. Many visitors feel that booth staff often hound them and can be too aggressive. Allowing prospects to interact with the information in your booth and approach your staff when ready is a far more effective way to advance the sales conversation.

With the technology available today, automation is a valuable tool for your visitors. Provide multiple interactive screens with presentations and allow your customers to educate themselves the way they choose. But, ensure you always have enough staff on hand to help visitors on demand.

Give Opt-in Educational Presentations

Short 15-minute presentations are a hit with attendees, but only if they provide solid information. Your prospects have a lot of ground to cover at these shows and they don’t appreciate their time being wasted. So, consider holding a small schedule of brief educational seminars and focus on content – not fluff.

Booth Staffing

Trade show attendees aren’t just looking for the equipment they need right now. They’re also exploring what they are going to need two to five years from now. Your prospects are digging into what products you have under development and how they might serve future needs. Also, you should be aware that your customers could visit your booth with very specific questions on technical issues they may be experiencing with your products. So, it’s critical that you have the right people staffing your booth.

You need staff from R&D, service, sales, and marketing. People with real experience with your products – whether they are developers, service personnel, or trained sales individuals. What you don’t need and shouldn’t hire are professional actors or presenters. Believe me – your prospects will know, and they don’t like it one bit. They are scientists and they want to talk to people who can solve their problems…who can get into the technical aspects of using the kit.

What is also extremely important to your prospects? Your staff needs to stand out. Make it easy for your customer to identify who is staffing your booth. One simple way to do this is have everyone wear the same color shirt.

How to Save Money and Deliver an Effective Trade Show Booth

Let’s talk literature for a moment. It drives me crazy that people insist on bringing a ton of high-dollar literature to a show. Guys, let me tell you – it’s going in the garbage. You spend a ton of money, cut down a bunch of trees, and it ends up in the trash. Did you know that 64% of trade show literature is thrown away?

Think about the last time you went to a trade show. You walk the floor, pick up a bunch of literature, take it back to your room and then – as you’re packing – you say, “Oh gee, I can’t possibly take all of this home.” So you do a quick sort through it and take only a few pieces back. The rest? Into the waste bin it goes.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring anything. Just carefully consider what you do take. We advise exhibitors to bring limited literature and use a PDF version of your brochures as a follow-up to nurture your contact. By providing a PDF, your customer can share the literature with their colleagues and other decision-makers. You might also consider stocking your booth with less costly print pieces and perhaps holding some of your higher quality literature in the back to give to highly qualified prospects.

Whatever you decide to do with trade show materials, make sure they are valuable and communicate the benefits your kit provides users.

So, Let’s Recap

Your trade show booth will be more effective if you:

  1. Staff it with people with actual experience with your products.
  2. Design your booth to be open, welcoming, and easy to navigate.
  3. Choose appropriate lighting and avoid bright, harsh lights.
  4. Watch your flooring choice.
  5. Provide interactive experiences and allow visitors to self-direct their visit.
  6. Hold 15-minute educational seminars.
  7. Make sure your staff is easily identifiable to visitors.
  8. Bring the minimum amount of lower-cost print materials and follow-up with electronic marketing materials.

Need help organizing and implementing a trade show booth plan? Give us a call.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Larry Worden co-founded MDxI in 2006 and is now the principal at IVD Logix. Larry has spent 40 years in the fields of medical and scientific marketing research and syndicated data services. Today, he focuses on the in vitro diagnostics marketplace, providing market information solutions to clients using qualitative and quantitative market research methods. Contact Larry at 214.434.1923.

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Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 3: 4 Best Ways to Generate Leads from Trade Shows

We’ve covered a lot of territory on the topic of maximizing trade show attendance in my two previous posts in this series. We talked about the value of choosing the right shows and conferences and how to prepare for them. We also discussed how to drive traffic to your booth.

But let me ask you this.

What is the single, most important result of attending a tradeshow or conference?

It’s solid sales leads, right?

With 84% of trade show attendees looking for products and services – and also able to make a buying decision, a successful trade show is critical to your company’s sales cycle.

Lead Development Before, During and After Trade Shows

Lead development is a process. There are actions you and your sales team can take in the weeks prior to the show, at the show and following the show to ensure that your company’s attendance has a significant ROI.

It’s helpful to view a trade show or industry conference as one big sales meeting. You wouldn’t walk into a sales meeting unprepared, would you?

Before you head out to your next trade show, make certain you put your lead generating plan in place.

Make Connections

Few people are comfortable working a trade show, and conference promoters know this. That is why virtually every industry gathering has networking tools attendees can use before the conference.

Sometimes these tools allow you to meet fellow attendees and engage in conversation using messaging channels. Some trade show promoters provide matchmaker services using the criteria you give them. And sometimes the show promoter provides private networking groups on social media channels such as LinkedIn or Facebook for attendees to connect with each other.

You know who makes the buying decisions for your product or service. Get into those pre-conference apps and start looking for your target audience. Start your conversations now so by the time you meet in person at the show, you’ll already have a relationship in place.

Ask for the Meeting

Now is not the time to be shy. There is no need to be obnoxious either. Everyone attending a tradeshow is there for a purpose. Most attendees are looking to purchase products or services to solve a problem and they want to do business.

Prior to the show is a perfect time to reach out to your prospect list and re-start conversations by inviting them to your booth. If they will be attending, ask to schedule time with them. Check in with current customers too.

Work through the list of attendees the conference promoter provides and reach out to your decision-makers. Whether you send personal emails, tap the conference networking apps or use social media channels, request a meeting to discuss the challenges they face.

With almost half of all face-to-face meetings converting to a sale,  asking for meetings is critical to your success.

Walk and Work the Floor

Your booth isn’t the only place connections can be made and conversations can convert to sales (or at least take the next step in the sales process). There are many networking opportunities – from cocktail parties to educational sessions where you can meet prospects.

Have you considered how easy it is to strike up a conversation during a lunch break? Get out and get involved in the show’s other activities.

Meanwhile … back at your booth … staff should be focused on diving deep with booth visitors – and taking good notes. It’s not enough to scan a badge and call it a lead. Everyone needs to be trained in asking questions. Here are a few that can move the sales conversation forward:

  • What product or services are they interested in?
  • What challenges are they experiencing that drive them toward this product or service?
  • What timeframe are they envisioning for their purchase?

It’s critical after each interaction booth staff make clear notes which can be entered in your sales database. These notes provide the key steps to personalized tradeshow follow-up.

Nurture Your Relationship with Meaningful Follow-up

I talked about tradeshow follow-up in Part 1 of this series and I simply can’t stress how important meaningful follow-up actions are for your trade show ROI.

Before you leave for the show, you should already have a follow-up plan in place. Your marketing department can create an automated series of segmented emails targeting people you may have missed connecting with or new contacts. They can also build nurturing email campaigns for prospects with longer purchasing lead times. In addition, they can craft follow-up emails that can be adapted by your sales force.

When you return to the office, it’s easy to take pre-scripted follow-up emails and add personalization. By including key information discovered during your conversations and sending targeted whitepapers, case studies or product information, your conference follow-up becomes a valuable email your prospect will be happy to receive. It helps deepen your relationship and move your sales conversation forward.

Your company has invested significant budget in exhibiting and attending trade shows and your team needs to produce ROI. Be sure you use every tool in your toolbox – as well as the conference promoter’s toolbox – to maximize ROI.

What are your most successful trade show tactics for lead gen?

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 2: Make Your Trade Show Booth the Most Popular One in Town

Have you ever noticed that there’s usually one or two booths at every trade show that always seem to be mobbed by attendees?

Maybe it’s the giveaways (who doesn’t want the latest VR glasses!) or the cool free t-shirts, but it’s usually because a company got their pre-show promotion plan right.

Why Should Anyone Visit Your Booth?

The reason to visit your booth shouldn’t be because of what you’re giving away.

You need to make your message compelling. Let’s think about the question “What’s in it for me?” Only, let’s turn that around a little and ask instead “What’s in it for my customer?” Why should they visit my booth? When you answer that question correctly and turn that answer into your exhibit messaging, you have a compelling reason for your prospects to visit.

Your booth should allow your potential leads to quickly self-identify. Your message needs to target those who are looking for what you offer and draw them in.

Some other ideas that give your potential customers a reason to visit your booth include:

  • introduction of a new product or service
  • show-related discounts
  • sponsored events at the trade show
  • presentations

Present Your Expertise

Most trade shows have educational tracks providing ongoing learning opportunities for attendees. One of the best ways for you to gain visibility at a show is to lead a session or present research to establish your thought leadership. Look into signing up to be a presenter, teach a session or an exhibitor workshop.

Demonstrations and lectures can also occur at your booth. You should consider designing a short presentation educating potential customers about your product or service. Plan to deliver the presentation several times during the show and post the schedule at your booth. Don’t forget to invite people to attend. You may even want to hand out your presentation schedule at the show.

Contact trade journals and let them know about any new products, services or research you’re rolling out at the show. When you have news to share, you should always send out a press release and invite the press to your booth for interviews. An article about your company published after the show is a great way to keep your visibility high and new leads coming in!

Make it an Event

High energy, fun – and knowledgeable – staff is your first ingredient to making your booth the place to be. A great theme and ongoing interactive events provide visitors with an enjoyable experience they won’t forget.

You can offer a demonstration of your product or service which is always valuable. But have you thought about providing an interactive tour of your facilities or a key piece of equipment? Or how about setting up a white board and asking booth visitors to comment on a question?

Don’t forget simple things like games, giveaways and drawings. These are always excellent ways to draw traffic to your booth and and gather leads for your sales staff. Creating an overall theme for the show that relates to your offering gives you a unique opportunity to make your booth an event.

How Do You Drive Traffic to Your Booth?

You can have the best message in town, but if you don’t promote it no one will know you’re exhibiting – and they won’t visit and engage with you.

As I mentioned in last month’s post on how to exhibit at trade shows, communicating and promoting your attendance at a show is critical to getting the foot traffic you need.

It’s all about the pre-show prep and how you carry out your plans while at the show.

Trade Show Tools
Your first step in driving traffic to your booth is using the tools trade show promoters make available to exhibitors. Typically these will include:

Exhibitor lists
Show floor maps
Company listings
Show-branded email campaigns

Make sure that your listing and all information you submit to the show promoter is correct and up-to-date. You’ll also want to be sure that your benefits messaging is clear and concise. This should be a very short elevator pitch – what benefit does your product or service give your customer. And don’t forget to include a persuasive reason why they should visit your booth!

Many trade shows also offer the option for exhibitors to send customized email campaigns to their email list before the show. This is an important tool to consider since it provides a way for you to promote your booth & services to potential customers who are not already on your own email list.

Let’s not forget that conference attendees are at the show for a reason. They are looking for the products and services their companies need. They are serious about identifying the companies that can deliver the right products and services.

That means they’ve been scouring the listing of exhibitors, researching your company and putting together a short list of companies to talk with at the show.

You need to be on that list.

Use Every Promotional Channel
Promoting your trade show booth goes beyond using the tools the promoter has available. There’s a reason why the phrase “an oldie but goodie” exists. It’s because the ‘old’ ways of promoting events still work – and work well.

Direct Mail Campaigns
I think we can agree that scientists and lab personnel are probably not spending every day glued to their computer screens. Even those of us who are glued to our digital lifelines still respond to direct mail campaigns. Once you choose your trade show theme, put your graphics department to work and create eye-catching direct mail pieces that start a conversation with booth visitors.

Email Campaigns
In addition to the custom emails you can often send through the show promoter, you have a very valuable email list of your own. Your CRM holds targeted lists of your customers and prospects you’ve identified and email is the fastest, easiest way for you to get the word out about your trade show attendance and your booth.

Create interest in your booth with a series of creative, informative emails that invite your customers and prospects to visit and participate in your activities.

Social Media
Have I told you about the company who put up a single post on a social media channel and expected the world to see it and show up? It doesn’t work that way.

Social media is an excellent channel to use in concert with email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

We always recommend an integrated approach to promoting a trade show presence. Social media can use the theme, images, and can re-purpose the content from your other campaigns to create a campaign that will extend your reach beyond your mail and email lists.

A social media campaign is not limited to just one post on one channel. By using multiple posts on multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new audiences, reinforce your direct mail and email campaigns and build interest in the activities you have planned for the trade show.

In addition to concentrated efforts using these 4 promotional avenues, don’t forget to promote your presence on your website as well as through digital ads and print ads. Putting your pre-show plans in place and executing on them is a sure-fire way to see the booth traffic you want and to ensure that you haven’t wasted your marketing budget.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 1: How to Exhibit, Promote & Network

What is the one event that makes even the sales and marketing departments work together in complete agreement?

A trade show.

Did you know that the minimal cost for a 10×10 booth at a tradeshow is $10,000- 15,000? Think about it – by the time you reserve the booth space, book hotels, ship your booth & products, and add your team’s travel costs, your all-in cost is around $10 – $15k. That’s not a small expense in the budget so it’s important to make it work for you.

Managing a successful presence at a conference or trade show has staff from every level of science-based companies working towards a common goal. (Click here to find out why this shouldn’t be the only time Sales and Marketing work in harmony.)

Why Trade Shows are Valuable

We can all agree that while email and other digital marketing efforts provide a solid return on investment, the value of face-to-face sales & marketing meetings (such as those at trade shows and conferences) is enormous.

It’s at in-person meetings where you build trust and engage deeply with your audience. Rob Murphy’s article cites a Meeting Professionals International report which states that “40% of prospects are converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings.”

How to Choose the Right Conference or Trade Show

Trade shows and conferences are key events where your company can get that valuable face-to-face time with prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of science, medical and pharma trade shows each year. But with so many available to you, how do you choose which shows and conferences will be most beneficial for your bottom line?

To identify the best events for your company, you first need to look at your business goals. Are you focused on the U.S. market or is your market international? If it is U.S. only, you’ll need to build a list of all the relevant conference and trade shows in the U.S.

If you want to reach other markets, you’ll need a list of all of the international events applicable to your product/ service. Get a demographic list from the show organizers to ensure your target audience will be there.

These lists give you a starting point. The real work starts after you have the lists in hand.

You’ll want to research each event. Before you decided to exhibit, you should consider attending and walking the show to ensure that your audience is there. You’ll also want to make sure that the show has a good reputation in your industry and that it delivers:

  • Large numbers of attendees in your target audience (although what you’re really looking for is the right audience – quality versus quantity. Remember, some shows are for niche audiences and can the best ones!)
  • Attendees who make buying decisions

Once you’ve identified the conference or trade show to attend, you’ll need to put a plan in place to:

  • properly prepare for your attendance
  • take advantage of all the networking possibilities at the show
  • keep conversations going through follow-up after the event
  • build your follow-up campaign.

How to Prepare Before Attending a Trade Show

Of course, you’ll need an exhibit booth. (Make sure that your booth has both clear signage and excellent brief messaging- no one is going to stand and read your booth.)

Beyond putting your booth together, there are significant pre-show marketing actions to take in order to maximize your company presence.

  1. Communicate. You need to get the word out that you will be attending the show. Create postcard, email, & social media campaigns along with press releases to communicate to your list and your social media audience that you will be available to meet at the show or conference. Add messaging to any advertising you are doing before the conference. If no one knows you’ll be there, you won’t have visitors to your booth.
  2. Let your audience know where to find you. (I’ve seen companies tell their audience they would be at a show only once via social media – and then not give out their booth number!) But just telling everyone your booth number is not enough.

You’ll want to investigate the marketing options the show’s organizers have available to attendees. This may include marketing opportunities such as renting the list of attendees, sponsoring events or content in the pre-show communications or – depending on the conference – attendee swag. Send out newsletters to your list offering the option to pre-schedule meetings at the show. Create press releases highlighting new products or events and presentations you’ll be hosting while at the show.

If you don’t communicate and promote your presence, you won’t see the foot traffic you expect at your booth.

Need help putting together a comprehensive trade show promotion plan? Contact Brandwidth Solutions.

Take Advantage of Trade Show Networking Opportunities

Being in attendance at a trade show is not the same as attending a trade show. Your company has invested a great deal of time, energy and money to be at the show. Therefore you need to do more than sit in your booth and hope that leads drop by for a visit.

You want to have your A-list staff working the booth at the show. You want staff that engage prospects and expertly move them forward along the sales path.

The booth isn’t the only place you need your sales staff engaging with prospects. Make sure they are attending the cocktail receptions, presentations, education sessions, breakfast events or other special events being held at the show. Check whether the show’s organizers provide a ‘matchmaking’ service connecting potential buyers or partners with sellers.

Follow-Up Leads to Success

None of these trade show attendance efforts will mean anything at all if your company doesn’t follow-up effectively. If you don’t follow-up with leads you’ve collected, it will be marketing budget wasted.

After you’ve entered prospect information into your CRM, you’ll need to design a communications plan to ensure that your new contacts don’t feel you’ve forgotten them. (Although you should have created your first follow-up communication before you even leave the office to attend the show!)

Nurturing leads is critical to the ROI of trade show attendance. Be sure you have marketing assets such as white papers or case studies to send your prospects as follow-up. Once you return to the office, you may want to create webinars addressing audience needs, additional white papers and newsletter content to further nurture your leads and reinforce that face-to-face connection your team built at the trade show.

Trade show or conference attendance may be a bit more complex than most companies realize. But with a strong plan you can implement for each event you attend, your company can achieve a solid ROI from trade shows.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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