Trade shows are getting postponed or canceled left and right in 2020. How can you get in front of the business you need? Use your virtual trade show booth.
Today, we’re going to talk about how your website is very similar to a trade show. Digital marketing: similar to a trade show.
Here’s the thing, I think a lot of people have a disconnect, and they feel that this whole digital marketing thing is, new ways of marketing versus the traditional sense. And we go to trade shows and we know that the vast majority of manufacturers are doing that, and they’re still doing that– not to knock trade shows. You do need to do those, they are great, but there’s a lot left. There’s a lot of opportunity on the digital side that could be learned from it. Our insights report that… If you haven’t downloaded it, go do it. In our insights, we talked to 150 manufacturers. You guys told us, the vast majority of manufacturers are doing trade shows. And here’s the thing. a lot of people are a little afraid of jumping in the digital marketing piece because of the unknowns. And so what I wanted to do in today’s episode was just sort of break down some of those barriers, and to realize that it’s kind of the same thing.
You know, it’s interesting when you kind of break it down. This actually came out and we did an episode actually on this I think a couple months ago. But this is going to be a little bit more detailed. We were at MODEX… No I’m sorry, we were not at MODEX, we were at AHR Expo. So this is… I can’t remember the name of the acronym. Basically this was like heating and air… HVAC type contractors, and it was huge in Atlanta. Was probably in January or February of 2019. And so I was there with Joseph, who maybe you’ve met or seen on previous episodes. He does some of the on-camera interviews. And we were talking to a couple people, and he told me after, he said, “You know, I had a really interesting thought. As we’re at a booth,” he said, “Man, the whole trade show experience is exactly like a website.”
So, why? Let’s break it down. The first thing is when you go to a trade show, well, why do you go? You’ve got customers that are existing customers, you have prospective customers there, you have people that could buy your product and service all under one roof for you know, whatever: a day or two or three, whatever that is. And so you set up a booth, right? And the whole point of that booth is you want to get people to your booth so you can talk to them. So your booth, you set it up, it’s a platform so people can come check you out. That’s your website. So think about that: your website equals the booth. The next thing that you want to do, well you want to get people to your website. Well, we might call that booth traffic in trade show land. In digital marketing we’re going to call that web traffic. Same thing: we want to get people to the website. So you’re starting to see some of the similarities here.
So all right, let’s break it down a little bit further. What are some ways that people use to attract people to your trade show booth? Well, all kinds of things. Let’s start off with design and size. You look at a trade show booth with a really nice design, they’ve got slick lights and a really nice setup. They’ve got the couches with the upstairs lounge, and just visually, you walk by and you’re like, “Wow. That looks impressive.” What does that tell you? That creates like a subconscious message in your mind that these guys have got it going on. Why? Because they’ve spent a lot of money and it looks really nice. They just look the part. Now, you and I know that may be true, that may not be. They may not be the part at all, but they darn look good. But that’s a starting piece. That’s the starting thing. Same thing with a website. You go to a website and it looks like crap, what do you think? Or it looks really nice and shiny and clean, you’re like, “Oh.” What do you think– that’s going to make you think, “Okay these guys might have got it going on.” They might not have it going on. It may be a complete ruse! But at least that first step of, “Hmm, these guys look legit…” We start that conversation. You know, start developing that relationship that way. So, think of the similarities.
Okay, what are some other ways people attract people in? All right well… Graphics, digital signage. You know when we were at ProMat this last year, lots of digital signage. lots of video content. And what I thought was interesting as a little bit of a side note is that you were seeing a lot of exploration of digital signage and video use in different ways. So in other words, instead of having just like a TV screen, your traditional like rectangular-shape video, you might have like a whole wall. Toyota had entire sections of their trade show booth that were like video walls, and there’d be a static image. So I remember looking at it and at first I saw it and it was just an image of a warehouse. Until I realized I started seeing a forklift going up and it was like pulling a product off a shelf. And I was like, “That whole thing’s a video!? That’s awesome!” And it literally was wrapped around the whole thing, this whole cube, this box. And then it would change and there would be different content and stuff. And I just thought, “That’s really an interesting and intriguing way of being able to drive you in.” And they’re able to rotate it out. So you’re seeing a lot of that. Maybe video that fits a doorway or different things. So, thinking of a different way of using video. They’re doing that as well. Well, hey. What’s happened on websites? Video is a very strong and attractive way of being able to bring people to your website. To keep them there. The same sort of thing on a trade show. The goal is to be able to communicate your value proposition to somebody across the room. You know, maybe it’s way up, then you’re like, “Oh that caught my eye, that’s interesting. Who is that, what’s going on? Oh, wow. Huh. I think I want to go check that out.” Same thing on your website. You can use that video content to quickly give a synopsis of who you are and to invite them to learn more about who you are. Maybe you can solve their challenge for them. So that’s a really good thing.
So, be thinking. There’s a lot of other things, but design, video content, offers, it’s got to look nice. It has to look inviting. The key word that works in both trade shows and in the digital website world, is “attracting”. We talk about the inbound methodology a lot. We’ve got a great workflow about how to use inbound for manufacturers. And essentially what that is, it’s the idea of instead of us reaching out cold to people who might have a need for us, but they may or may not – again, this is not saying that cold reach is bad, not at all– but attracting people to our website because we’re providing answers to their solutions, using blogs and SEO and other content where people are actively searching. They’ve got a pain, “Oh how do I do… I need a custom pressure sensor for this,” or “What’s the spec,” and boom, it pulls up and then it draws me in. We are attracting people to our website and you do that by providing relevant and valuable information that helps solve challenges for them. So, it’s sort of the same thing. We want to attract people to our websites, so maybe into our trade show booth.
There’s a lot of other things you see obviously in the trade show booth. You have the magician, you’ve got the cappuccinos, you’ve got the food, you’ve got the entertainers, you’ve got all this other stuff. So you’ve got similar things on the website. And maybe you might use things like social media, using ads as ways to kind of grab people’s attention, and drive them to the website. So, same thing. Grab people’s attention, maybe you have that professional actor who’s grabbing people to bring ’em into your website, bring ’em into your trade show booth, so you can learn a little bit more.
Now, once you get to the trade show, this is the next thing. How do we convert leads? Converting leads digitally is, we hop onto your website, we don’t know who you are, how do we get them to identify themselves? And you do that by things like content offers. So what that is, maybe it’s an ebook. Or maybe it’s something that’s going to really help me solve a challenge that I have. I’m willing to put my email address and do that. Okay, what does that look like on the website… Or sorry not the website, the trade show. A lot of people like at ProMat for example, we saw a lot of education going on. So you think of the guys or the gals you know on the booths with the earpiece in, talking about their product, their case studies, or different educational-type seminars that’s happening. Bring ’em in, let’s sit here, I’m interested, I kind of want to look at this. And maybe you’re like… “Oh, I don’t… I’m… Not ready to talk to a salesperson yet,” even though they’re going to come talk to you. You know, it’s going to draw you in and we’re going to start providing education. Same thing digitally, right? We talked about the content offers.
Blogging, this is where it’s really valuable. A lot of people think that blogging is… “Oh it’s the mommy bloggers. We’re industrial, we don’t need to be doing that.” Yeah, you do. Here’s why. Because that is how you get your message out about the pains that you solved, the solutions that you have. But don’t talk about yourself, like, “Oh we’re amazing,” or whatever. Talk about the solutions, the pains that your customers have and how to solve them. That’s going to attract them in. Same thing with the educational-type content. Webinars are another great thing that you use in a website to kind of convert those leads. Attract them, convert ’em, and say, “We’ve got some really valuable content. A case study on how implementing our solution reduced operating expenses by 15% last year for XYZ company. And that 15% was you know, a lot of zeros at the end of that number.” Okay, you’ve got my attention. I’d like to hear how they did that. I will put my information in and I will do that. So, you know back to trade show land. Education piece, website, education, webinars, blog articles, that kind of thing; and we’re converting people.
You know, the other thing that you’re going to see is, obviously you’re going to have some sort of interaction with a salesperson at a… inside of a trade show booth. Same thing online. And that is going to be sort of the quasi-mix of downloading those content offers and engaging there. And we’re seeing things like chatbots. Think about this, think of like a chatbot as sort of a roving salesperson on the trade show booth floor. If you’re not familiar with this, this is when you go to a website and a little button pops up or a little thing pops up, you know, bottom left corner or bottom right corner of the screen; and it’s like, “Hey I’m the Dannybot,” or whatever or, “The company bot.” Or maybe it’s an actual person: “Hey, what are you here for? What can I help you with?” And you start giving them information. Maybe they’re like, “I’m here to learn about XYZ product.” “Oh great, let me move you to this over here.” It’s the same sort of thing we’re seeing at the trade show floor booth. Did I say that right? Trade show floor in your booth, yes. So there you go, we’re converting leads. Those salespeople are talking to people, we’re getting to know them, qualifying them, figuring out where they fit, start getting some education, start on that sales process.
And then, you know what is going to happen both at the end of that trade show and in these interactions we’re having on the website is, we’ve got to nurture those leads. Now you and I both know that you go to a website and the vast majority of people that you meet are not ready to buy. You know, it’s whatever: they don’t have the budget, authority, the need, timing, one of those four things doesn’t fit. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not a good customer for down the road. We’ve got long sales cycles. This could take two years or more to sell in. Maybe shorter, hopefully shorter. But it could take longer. So we have to nurture those leads digitally. And this is sort of the piece that you’re going to see that you should really have across the board with your trade shows and digital, is having email marketing and different ways of being able to continue facilitating that conversation. Particularly with those leads who are not ready to buy, because they’re not necessarily qualified. Maybe they’re marketing qualified, but they’re not sales qualified.
So there you go. This is kind of a little bit of a quick breakdown of sort of that analogy of that you know, really trade shows when you think about it, are very similar to that digital experience we’re having on a website; and when you start thinking about that, the ability to be able to implement digital marketing into your organization really means that you could have a trade show all the time. Imagine that.
Would you be interested in having a trade show every single day, times a hundred?
You know, one of the challenges with a trade show– it’s great, and I’ve seen this before you go there, and all of a sudden you’re overwhelmed. It’s inevitable. You know, you go to lunch, somebody inevitably somebody goes to lunch, they’re gone, and then all of a sudden there’s like an influx of people that come in; and you’re like “Aaah, I can’t get to everybody!” And there’s nothing worse than talking to somebody and then like, you’re eyeing somebody over to the left. You’re like, “Don’t go away, I’m going to finish with you, this is good, don’t go away. Let me just finish. Okay!… Darn it, they’re gone! Agh!” That happens all the time. The beautiful thing about digital marketing is that you can have those conversations at scale. And not just that at a finite three-day window, you can have that conversation all day everyday, 24/7. That’s the beauty.
Now, am I telling you to not do trade shows? No. I’m not telling you not to do trade shows. In fact, you should be doing them. They’re important. Use digital means as a way to really facilitate meetings and conversations before you actually get there. Have email campaigns prepped and ready to go before you actually get there. Make sure you’ve got sales calls and meetings and all that stuff lined up before you hit the floor, not like, “Hey we get here, day one, let’s go.” That stuff’s got to be lined up way ahead of time. Have email campaigns ready to go the second you meet. Let’s say you scan their badge and there’s a whole workflow, whole chain of emails and stuff that go out there to be able to continue to facilitate that conversation. And then on the back end, we want to do the same thing there. Continue on that conversation. Obviously if those who are more sales qualified and ready to go right then and there, boom. Let’s hit it. But you need to be doing this.
So just think about it. Think about it for a second. What would it mean to you? If you do a lot of trade shows, what would it mean to you if you were able to have that trade show experience 24/7 on your website? It doesn’t matter, it could be in all the countries all over the world, wherever your target market is, at whatever time they want to buy that you have that experience ready to go for them. That’s the power of digital marketing. That’s where we’re going. So anyways, it’s exciting. We like it. I bet you can tell I geek out on this stuff. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for you. Hopefully you found this valuable. Take one or two of these things and implement them. Please do it. Just do it, right? Don’t bite off the whole thing. Maybe you know, crawl, walk, run. Take that approach.
So anyways, if you have any questions about this topic, like hey, how should we roll out on this, or what should this look like, just reach out to us. Reach out to us your questions and we’ll answer ’em on the show. So IndustrialSage.com/questions. If you need help developing a strategy or trying to figure this out, let us know. Because we’re rolling out with all these different services around video marketing, digital marketing, road mapping strategy, execution of all these things; And we can help you, and we’ve love to help you, and we’ve got a lot of clients that we’re doing this for to help them kind of like navigate the waters and all that good stuff. So anyways, that’s all I got for today. Thanks for watching. If you are checking this out on social media, share the love, that’d be awesome. If you’re listening on any of the podcasting stations, a review would be awesome. And yeah, keep coming to our website, if you’re not on it, get our email list. We’ve got a lot of great content. That’s all I’ve got for you today, thanks for watching, and I will check in next week with another great episode of IndustrialSage. Thanks.
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