What is it about trade shows that make them so powerful? It's pretty simple—92% of trade show attendees are looking for new products or services.
There is no denying that face-to-face interactions are vital, even in the digital era. But the trade show industry has undergone significant changes–and challenges–due to the pandemic. While virtual trade shows were common during the pandemic, attendee engagement was underwhelming, to say the least.
In 2023, trade shows are booming again, but attendance is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.
As a result, trade shows are more competitive than ever before.
But with a sea of vendors all gunning for the same business, it’s critical for marketers to find new and innovative ways to stand out.
One of the easiest and most impactful ways to do this is through print.
Print collateral is practically a must-have on the booth, but print marketing can provide a major ROI boost when used before, during and after the show.
Here’s how to get the most ROI out of your next trade show by harnessing the power of print for:
- Pre-Show Marketing: How to drive booth traffic with print.
- On-Booth Marketing: Print collateral with a modern twist.
- Post-Show Marketing: Convert leads to customers with print.
Pre-show Marketing: How to Drive Booth Traffic with Print
Whether you're headed to a conference across the country or down the road to a local trade show, it's important to let people know your business will be there.
By creating buzz and generating interest in your business prior to the trade show, you’ll not only increase the likelihood of attendees stopping by your booth, but you’ll get a tangible piece of your brand in the hands (literally) of target audiences.
The key to pre-show marketing is to offer content that is relevant and informational, but not overly promotional.
Here are our top tips for using print as part of your pre-show marketing strategy:
Secure leads before the show floor opens.
If you have access to the show’s attendee list, send a direct mail campaign to relevant prospects. Whether you print a postcard or letter, you’ll want to provide a brief overview of your business and offer recipients an exclusive invite to book a meeting or personalized tour of your booth. The likelihood of prospects visiting your booth skyrockets if they have a standing calendar invite to meet with you. Be sure to personalize your direct mail to ensure high open rates. Everything from the name, images and content of a direct mail piece can be personalized with variable data printing. Even the envelope can be personalized to catch the attention of prospects.
Send a pre-show marketing kit.
Even if you don’t have access to the attendee list, you can still drive interest online through your website, email marketing and social properties. Incentivize prospects to order a free pre-show marketing kit that includes brochures, flyers and guides packaged together as a comprehensive pre-show marketing tool. Your pre-event content should also advertise any giveaways, product demos, contests or perks that prospects will receive if they visit your booth.
Premium invitations, such as oversized postcards or custom-designed invitations, can be used to create a sense of exclusivity. Whether you send these invitations directly to key stakeholders or to everyone on the attendee list, it’s important that you make the invite feel exclusive. If you’re hosting an event, include a VIP admittance ticket with a free drink ticket. You can also invite recipients to redeem the mailer for premium swag on the booth.
On-booth Marketing: Print Collateral with a Modern Twist
From brochures to business cards, having informative print collateral on the booth is a must. But generic company literature just won’t do. Modern print collateral is engaging, hyper-targeted and provides the target audience with information they’ll want to hang on to and reference over and over again.
Brochures and flyers.
Brochures and flyers are a staple of trade show print collateral. They provide a concise overview of your products and services, and can be taken away by attendees for further reference. It’s critical to tailor brochures to the audience(s) that will be attending the trade show; a generic brochure won’t be nearly as effective as one that is tailored to the pain points of the show’s audience. Be sure to read our guide on the best practices for brochure design for helpful tips.
Since brochures and flyers are tangible, include helpful information that isn’t overly promotional. For example, at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), LG used augmented reality (AR) to showcase its latest innovations in its brochures. Attendees could scan LG's print collateral with their smartphones to access interactive 3D models of the products, complete with product information and features.
Business cards are a quick and easy way to exchange contact information with potential customers, partners or suppliers.
But they can do so much more.
If you can include a link to helpful content that target audiences will reference over and over again in the future, your business card will be of much greater value than the dozens of other business cards collected at the show.
For example, include a show-specific URL that leads to a landing page where they can access product information, press kits, spec sheets, guides, tutorials and videos.
You’ll want to add a QR code as well, similar to the example from LG. This changes the purpose of the business card from just a way to share contact information into a powerful sales tool.
Additionally, you can offer something of value with a business card, such as a discount code or exclusive offer, that prospects can redeem online after the show. This will give customers a reason to hold onto the materials and use them in the future.
The key takeaway of any on-booth print collateral is to think beyond the show floor and encourage prospects to take action when they get back home or return to the office.
Post-Show Marketing: Convert Leads to Customers with Print
If you’ve been to a trade show, you’re well aware of the post-show “inbox inundation.”
After all, 81% of exhibitors use email to follow up with leads from a trade show.
Stand out from the sea of emails and maximize your tradeshow investment by sending a post-show mailer to qualified leads that stopped by your booth. Tangible and personal, a direct mail follow up will have much more impact and higher conversion rates than yet another “thanks for visiting our booth” email.
Here are some ideas for post-show direct mail marketing:
- Offer post-show product demos. There’s a lot going on during a trade show, and it’s easy for attendees to forget some of the information they learned at the show. For this reason, a mailer offering a post-show product demo can be extremely effective.
- Personalize follow-ups with a marketing portal. As a modern solution to an age-old problem between marketing and sales teams, a marketing portal centralizes all of your marketing assets in an easy-to-use, online storefront (similar to an e-commerce store). Users have self-service access to order pre-printed and ready-to-ship marketing materials, as well as the ability to customize, print and distribute pre-approved templates. This is perfect for sales follow-ups after a trade show. Sales reps can personalize follow-up letters with discussion points from the show floor along with relevant marketing collateral showcasing the solutions your business provides.
Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show with Jet Mail
Since 1993, Jet Mail has specialized in helping businesses across all industries maximize their trade show ROI. With a state-of-the-art print shop, commercial mail house, full-service fulfillment center, and three fulfillment centers across the country, Jet Mail can create custom solutions that build brands and generate more revenue.
Contact us today to learn how Jet Mail’s infrastructure, technology and expertise can make your next trade show the best one yet.