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The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) TRANSACT will attract nearly 4,000 payments professionals and over 200 exhibitors to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from May 10 to 12, 2017. ETA is the largest payments trade association, and TRANSACT is a prime industry event for networking, collaborating and keeping up with trends and best practices. The whole industry gathered together at a high-profile event makes ETA TRANSACT a great trade show marketing opportunity.
As you are getting ready for the show, juggling travel schedules and booth shipping, make sure you aren’t overlooking some trade show marketing basics that can mean a big return on sending your team to ETA TRANSACT. Here are six tips to help you get the most out of the show:
- Appointments. A jam-packed trade show agenda means if you really want to connect with a partner or prospect, you need to make an appointment. If your intention is to meet when you both have a spare moment, it will probably never happen. Set appointments in advance, giving yourself enough time to walk or travel to the meeting place.
- Booth Staffing. It’s also important to coordinate your own team’s schedule during the show. Make sure your booth is always staffed during expo hours, and ensure people who need to be at appointments or events aren’t tied up at the booth. Also remember to divide and conquer — it’s not necessary for your entire team to be at the booth or to be in on every meeting. Use your resources wisely to cover all the bases.
- Giveaways and Promotions. Build an effective strategy for bringing a steady flow of traffic to your booth. Companies are increasingly creative in their efforts to capture attention on an expo floor — everything from discounts and prize drawings to free massages, show-inspired cocktail recipes, and all types of tchotchke to fill up show bags. Always be budget conscious when it comes to giveaways, however. Make sure there will be a return on the investment you are making. You may want to consider only offering giveaways and promotions that tie back to your business, so there is a traceable return on your investment in the promotion. While you are looking for unique ways to turn show-goers’ heads, remember you also need first-rate sales literature. Develop content with strong brand messaging and contact information to give to bona fide prospects that look beyond gimmicks and want to learn more about how your products and services can help their businesses.
- Lead Capture. Make sure there is a way to collect contact information so you can reconnect with the people you meet at ETA TRANSACT after the show. Train your team to engage visitors to your booth and guide them toward lead capture vehicles such as sign-ups, entry forms, or “fishbowls” for business cards. It’s smart to make lead capture as easy as possible, both for the booth visitor trying to cover a lot of ground at the expo and for your team. One idea we’ve come across is snapping pictures with smartphones of prospects holding up their event name tags after productive meetings. Another idea is to send the show list an email with a QR code before the event that helps capture their information when they stop at your booth to redeem it for a prize or contest entry.
- Scope the Competition. Of course, your focus at ETA TRANSACT will be on new business, but also set aside some time to see what your competitors are doing. Spending some time probing your competitors’ marketing strategies will shed light on their perspectives on industry issues and perhaps provide you with some marketing ideas you can use to advance your business.
- Follow up While It’s Fresh. Make it a priority to debrief about ETA TRANSACT as soon as possible after the event. Use travel time on the trip home to begin to assess your business’s marketing success at the show and formulate the messaging you want to share with your new leads. When you get back to the office, immediately add new leads to your CRM and begin to nurture them through email marketing and calls.
Trade show marketing can be exhausting, but invigorating. Nothing can re-energize your team or inspire new ideas and motivation like a good conference. It takes planning and strategy to capitalize on the opportunity, however. Follow these tips to ensure your time at the show will result in more booth traffic, more leads, and, ultimately, more new business.