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Engaging With Your Trade Show Audience Year Round

11.17.2021
Joseph Colangelo Co-Founder and CEO
By
Eric Misic

Trade shows are an excellent way for companies to showcase their latest and most innovative products and services. Over the last two years, planning for trade shows and conferences have continued to evolve as the world has juggled both virtual and in-person events.

 

Those businesses that have leaned into hybrid events have had to be more flexible than ever, to see an appreciable return on investment (ROI) across multiple event formats. As an industry, we saw conference audiences’ willingness to engage with event organizers digitally from the comfort of their home or office.  

 

In this post, we’ll look at how you can engage with trade show attendees year-round. Read on to find out more.

Survey

The legacy approach in the industry to understanding audience is by surveying your trade show attendees. It’s a simple and elegant tool for understanding what your sample audience has identified what worked and what didn’t at your event. You can improve your interactions at future events by creating a personality for your event based on this qualitative insight.

 

The survey should be short and straightforward. The more questions you ask, the less likely people are to fill out the form.  

 

About 10 questions are generally enough for a quick survey. You can ask questions about what they remember most about your booth, the experience of the event, and their satisfaction level.

 

People aren’t necessarily going to think much about your event until they experience it firsthand. Consequently, you should focus on promoting your event brand before the event or right after to maximize word-of-mouth buzz

Post Event Virtual Happy Hours or Educational Sessions

Engaging with your audience via virtual happy hours or educational sessions are two excellent ways to increase engagement levels. By focusing on a “recap” for what those experienced a month or two earlier is a strong way of keeping your event brand relevant.

 

Depending on the size of your trade show, you can quickly and easily hold virtual happy hours via online platform like Zoom or Slack. You can also schedule a Google Hangout or Facebook Live session for your attendees.

 

Generally, happy hours or education sessions are interactive and involve recapping sessions or bringing back previous speakers to build upon their trade show experiences.

Engage Previous Conflicted Industry Experts

Have a cohort of speakers who wasn’t able to make your last trade show due to scheduling conflicts?  Find the time to do a mini expert roundtable.  Trade show attendees are always looking for ways to take their businesses to the next level – that’s a 365 exercise for them. Extend the learning by bringing in a fresh group and deliver the content live and then on-demand.

Seasonal/Holiday Marketing & Promotion Campaigns

The holiday season can be a wonderful time to reach out to your audiences with a friendly check-in. If your industry focuses on a particular season, you can leverage your event to promote your exhibitor and sponsor seasonal products and services.

 

Trade show attendees can be highly receptive to seasonal marketing approaches. In fact, many of them visit trade shows to find out about the hottest trends in particular seasons. This includes not only the latest fashions but also plant-based foods during spring, tools for fathers-to-be during Father’s Day, toys during Christmas, and so much more.  

Automate On-site Engagement Follow-Up

The power of face-to-face is undeniable.  As people return to in-person events and the trade show floors seen increased engagement concentration, those engagements can have a longer tail.

 

By harnessing the data that is being collected about those engagements and helping automate the pushing of that data to the irrespective exhibitors and sponsors will add to the overall ROI each company can derive from the trade show floor.  By capturing the proper engagement data from the days of the show, you are able to provide a tangible asset back to your customers so that they can continue to engage long after the event ends.

Extend the Life of Your Event

Trade show attendees are increasingly expecting to engage with their show organizers via social media, mobile applications, and live streaming video. However, the value in today’s market is a more comprehensive multi-week focus on event engagement.

 

By using these tips, you will be able to drive more value for your trade show audience.

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