This post was first published by Beth Brenner on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
B2B marketers have been allocating a greater portion of their 2013 budgets to trade shows, to support sales efforts and increase brand visibility.
Tech companies, and in particular, hardware suppliers, have said that conferences are their number one source of leads. So, it’s critical that organizations strategically map out how to capitalize on their investments and ensure that they take advantage of all of the PR opportunities before, during and after events.
Last month, I outlined how B2B tech companies could stand out from the crowd and get on their target audience’s radar prior to a tradeshow. Here are three ways organizations can extend those PR efforts and guarantee success while on-site at industry conferences.
1. Integrate PR with the networking opportunities that trade shows offer.
In the IDG Enterprise-sponsored survey previously referenced, B2B marketers cited networking as the most effective tactic for creating qualified leads at conferences. Remember your elevator pitch, and engage attendees with your news and other content marketing efforts like a new whitepaper or piece of commissioned research. Use social events to also mingle and share your latest events with press, analysts and other industry influencers with whom you were not able to pre-book a briefing.
2. Forget booth babes – employ more meaningful tactics to draw reliable leads to your stand.
Have a customer or third party willing to speak on your behalf? Consider promoting and hosting mini guest presentations at the booth to attract attendees and press attention as well as business inquiries. Offer an incentive like an exclusive demo of a new product or higher value gift to strong prospects, or invite them for a closed breakfast session before the expo floor opens up to the masses, if possible. This will be infinitely more respectable and do a lot more for your business.
3. Continue to use social media to highlight your trade show presence.
Show attendees that you are plugged into all of the industry conversations – blog about the event’s keynote sessions and other presentations, or tweet using the conference’s hashtag to engage with others, build connections and consider scheduling impromptu meetings while on-site. Don’t forget to use location-based apps to ‘check in’ to the events, and take photos and videos to help in your marketing and PR efforts after the trade shows, too.