Five Ways to Maximise ROI from Your B2B Trade Show

By Tom Leatherbarrow on 23rd May 2018

Attending trade shows is expensive, with some B2B marketers having cut them entirely from their marketing plans.

However, the recent MACH exhibition at the NEC was highly successful for a number of our clients, and the Machine Tool Association’s own visitor numbers claimed a five per cent increase in attendance.

So, if trade shows remain a key part of your marketing mix, how can you maximise your impact and ROI?

 

1. Focus on one or two specific products for pre-event promotion

It’s tempting to give every product manager equal time and resource in the run-up to a show, but we would recommend taking a more focused approach, particularly for pre-event digital promotion.

Focusing on one or two key product areas can maximise the reach of any social media promotional spend and provide real ‘clout’, rather than dissipating focus and spend across too many product areas – ultimately diluting the impact.

 

2. Use personal LinkedIn profiles, not just the corporate feed, to drive interest

Once you have identified the key products, it is important to use both the corporate and personal social media feeds to drive interest.

The corporate feed is an important resource but people do buy from people, and the personal feed of one of your key product managers, amplified with a small promotional spend, offers the ability to make a one-to-one appeal to potential customers to meet up at the show.

Our LinkedIn account manager tells us that employees have 10 times the reach of the company page, so it is worth capitalising on this potential.

 

3. Get your individual LinkedIn profile in shape before the show starts

If you are going down the route of using a personal feed, you need to make sure it is fit for purpose before the show starts.

That means refreshing the product manager’s LinkedIn profile with a strong background image and good-quality content such as long-form posts and product videos, to lend an air of real authority to what they are saying.

 

4. Use LinkedIn InMail to drive pre-event interest

Once you’ve updated individual profiles, LinkedIn InMail is a great tool to put specific trade show messages in front of the right people. InMail can be targeted at individuals in key sectors, and refined by job title, geographic location and company.

What’s more, the open rates far exceed email marketing. In fact, with a recent campaign on behalf of FANUC targeting wire EDM users for their ROBOCUT machine in advance of MACH, we were achieving a 56.3% open rate – significantly higher than the typical 18.4% open rate for an e-shot in the manufacturing sector.

 

5. Use dedicated landing pages to generate meetings with customers pre-event

The goal is to have your salespeople selling at the show. One way of achieving that is to use LinkedIn to encourage attendees to arrange meetings on the stand. We use a dedicated landing page equipped with a simple booking form, driving traffic to the page via LinkedIn InMail.

The numbers are unlikely to be huge (with a recent campaign for FANUC, we achieved six meeting requests) but those who do respond are likely to have high intent to purchase and, if the unit price of the product is high, it only takes one conversion to achieve a very healthy ROI.

 

The Author: Tom Leatherbarrow is a Director at WPR Agency specialising in B2B PR and marketing.