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Trade Show Alternatives

No trade shows? Tips for getting sales and leads

Early in 2020, 85% of mid- to senior-level marketers said in-person events were critical for their company’s success. And then COVID-19 hit—no industry conferences, no trade shows. If your organization relies on in-person events like trade shows to meet new prospects and get industry insider knowledge, don’t let COVID-19 put a damper on your lead gen efforts. Check out these trade show alternatives that’ll help you reach your marketing goals.

First, define your goals

Trade shows are a one-stop shop to check off many of your marketing efforts. You likely attend for one or more of these reasons:

  • Get new sales leads
  • Boost brand visibility
  • Launch a new product or service
  • Check out the competition

Before you can decide the best trade show alternative, evaluate your trade show goals and key performance indicators (KPI). That way, you can tailor your efforts to reaching your specific goals.

Goal: Lead gen. Trade show alternative: Webinars and virtual workshops.

When growing relationships is key to growing your business, take your lead gen efforts virtual. Consider what your target customer needs to know now. Then, choose experts on your team to host a webinar or online workshop on that topic (or topics). Not only will you show thought leadership, the registration information you gather is golden. In fact, 73% of marketers say webinars generate high-quality leads. Once you have registrants’ names, companies and contact information, you can continue to engage them through email and other communication channels throughout the sales process.

Goal: Brand visibility. Trade show alternative: Trade show in a box.

You carefully planned your booth, considered which products you’d feature, chose kick-butt promo products to give away—all in an effort to be top of mind long after the show. How about sending your prospects a trade show in a box? Include product and company literature, business cards and that promo product. Did you have your heart set on a product demonstration? Produce a video instead and include it in a video brochure—a brochure that features a small video player. Send it to your hottest prospects for an extra wow factor.

Goal: Launch a new product or service. Trade show alternative: Create videos.

Nearly 90% of people purchase a product after watching a related video. Consider how to best showcase your products using video. When it comes to video, there are so many options. Produce a video showing your product in action or have experts talk about your new service. Or, consider hosting a Facebook™ Live Q&A so viewers can ask questions about your latest products.

Looking to take your video to the next level? Try augmented or virtual reality videos. When it comes to augmented and virtual reality, there are no limitations to what you can create. Your prospects can interact with your product in a 3D experience—giving it an edgy feel you don’t get in real life! Share these videos on social and as part of your email marketing strategy. To drive high-quality leads to your video demos, use paid social to directly target buyers who scheduled meetings with you or are on your account-based marketing (ABM) lists.

Goal: Check out the competition. Trade show alternative: Virtual business intelligence.

Even if you can’t see the competition in person, you can still keep an eye on them virtually. Follow them on social media and “listen” to what their followers are saying. Use that information to adjust your marketing strategy. Invest in tools that monitor their web traffic, online mentions and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. This isn’t to copy what they’re doing, but to heighten awareness of how your competition is marketing to mutual prospects.

From no trade shows to in-the-know trade show alternatives

Turn what can seem like a negative—no trade shows—into a positive. By trying one or more of these trade show alternatives, you’ll realize your goals without having to be there in person. If you’d like help with these or other ideas, contact us. We’d be happy to help!

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