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Using PR to Maximize Trade Show Success

by Gwen Parsons 13. March 2013 22:11

PR is a great tool for calling attention to your trade show presence—as well as your products and services. Here are a few tips from our guest blogger, PR professional Lisa Goell Sinicki, on how to maximize your pre-show publicity.

1. Send your press releases to the right list. There are lots of services that you can use to generate huge lists of potentially interested journalists. However, everyone else is using those same lists too. As a result, journalists are over-run by news, most of which doesn’t really even fall within their specialty. Because of this, it's impossible for them to read most of the pitches they receive.

The solution is to vet your press list in advance. Research each reporter to learn what she really writes about. Then send each release individually to just those journalists who are a good fit. 

2. Get personal. Send every journalist on your A-list a copy of the release personalized just for them. Start out by telling them exactly why you feel their readers will be interested in your story. 

3. Schedule meetings. If you have something to show and tell in your exhibit, email reporters (and follow-up with phone calls) inviting them to schedule a time to meet in your booth. Arrange to have the appropriate company officer there to give them a demo or share a sound-byte.

4. Think  about holding a press conference. If you have an announcement that many publications will be interested in, a press conference is a good way to reach everyone at once. If you represent a smaller niche covered by a handful of reporters, it will be more productive to meet with each reporter individually.  This way, they are able to gather content tailored to their readers and feel like they are getting their own scoop rather than the exact same content as their competitors.

5. Leverage the web and social media. Post your press release to your own website. Make sure it is keyword rich and contains tags to make it more search-engine friendly. Then use your social media outlets to drive people to your news. Ask your employees to use their social media to drive other industry colleagues to your news as well.

For companies who don't have a way to optimize their press releases on their websites,  www.PitchEngine.com can help. It enables you to post and easily optimize your press announcement, but it doesn't send the pitch out for you. You will still be able  to use social media and email to drive the people you want to your story.

Lisa Goell Sinicki can be reached at lisa@lgscom.com.

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Trade Show Tips

You Work Hard For Your Leads; Don't Let Them Slip Through the Cracks

by Gwen Parsons 5. December 2012 02:51

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the average exhibitor invests 39% of their annual marketing budget on trade shows and events. But there's a lot of frustration around how to demonstrate results from that investment. Part of this no doubt has to do with the fact that – according to a study from CEIR - most companies do not have a tracking system in place to monitor the performance of their events which directly affects their ability to measure ROI.

You'll want to get a formal lead tracking system in place, but until that happens, make sure to take care of these basic lead tracking issues:

Establish WHO is responsible BEFORE the show. Yes it takes a village to go from show to sale. Don’t leave room for assumptions. Appoint individuals to perform the functions of a closed loop system: Who will collect all of the leads” Who will fulfill them? Who will enter or upload them into your database, and who will provide the follow-up? According CEIR’s exhibitor sales lead trends study, 45% of companies send their leads to sales for follow-up while 39% send them to marketing.

Define WHAT information to collect from visitors. Your sales team can help you define this more specifically.You have only a few minutes with each visitor so develop a few questions that will provide the answers key to qualifying them. CEIR’s exhibitor lead study confirms that only 30% of the companies surveyed qualify leads at their first encounter. Train your booth staff to incorporate those qualifying questions. Print them on your lead card or program them into your lead reader. The answers can be used to rank leads and formulate your follow up plan.

Define WHEN to follow-up. The same study by CEIR shows that 42% of survey respondents followed up within one week, and another 38% follow up within two weeks. My advice is to get started immediately. Research indicates that the average sale happens after the fifth contact so continue the momentum started at the event. At the very least, send them a short email to thank them for visiting you and let them know what to expect as the next step.

What strategies have you used to make sure your leads don't fall through the cracks? 


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Trade Show Lead Management

How to Demonstrate the Sales Value of Trade Shows

by Gwen Parsons 27. November 2012 22:39

Study after study shows that companies believe trade shows are an important part of their annual marketing plan. However, while companies are gradually beginning to invest more in marketing, they still want to know the results from that investment. After organizing a compelling trade show booth and promotion campaign marketers return from the event.  Then the time comes to demonstrate the value of their participation in trade shows and events.  This often leads marketers to express frustration.

 At Exhibitor2011 there were more than 20 sessions on trade show measurement and demonstrating ROI – something we help you do in our brochure on successful exhibiting. In fact, it’s one of the most popular topics at the annual conference. So I asked colleague and workshop presenter, Susan Brauer of Brauer Consulting Group.

Susan reports that workshop attendees often jump to wanting to measure their ROI without having any kind of closed-loop lead system in place. They describe some of the obstacles to measuring ROI as

  • Lack of accountability for reporting if marketers organize and promote the show and leads are turned over to sales

  • Insufficient time to collect and compile the information

  • Internal system silos that make it difficult to link sales recorded in accounting with leads recorded in a database

  • Lead times for actual sales are longer than can be reasonably tracked

Susan teaches that the purpose of the trade show is to accelerate the sales process. She believes the bigger issue is that exhibitors don’t understand what can and can’t be measured so helps them set measurable goals that move the sales process forward.

Leads are sales opportunities and we've provided tips on how to convert those leads to sales after a trade show. Most, if not all, exhibitors tabulate the number of contacts they make at the show. However, quantity is one data point. Drill down further to uncover key indicators that reveal the show’s impact on future sales. Some clues might include:

  • Number of visitors that received a product demonstration

  • Number of companies that indicated a desire to meet with your sales team or were ranked hot by booth staff

  • Number of potential new partners you met

  • Number of companies you met for the first time

  • Number of customers that acknowledged plans to renew their contract

Build upon a baseline from your past show to formulate goals for your next show. Then be sure you have methods in place to record the results and compare them to the goal.

You can also find some additional tips by downloading our Successful Exhibiting Guide in our Resources area.

What frustrates you about trade show and event measurement?