We all know industrial companies like trade shows. In fact, according to our 2019 survey, the majority of manufacturers consider trade shows to be their #1 marketing tactic.
A lot of companies probably put more care and effort into their trade show booths than into their corporate websites.
We saw this firsthand at the AHR expo in Atlanta, where Danny and Joseph were surveying the world of the HVAC industry and the many gigantic brands there.
While discussing the need for digital tactics with different manufacturers, Joseph had a realization.
YOUR WEBSITE IS A TRADE SHOW BOOTH ON STEROIDS.
Everything your booth does, your site can do– but better. If you’ve prepared it to do so.
53% of manufacturers also agree that they’ve seen a decline in leads from trade shows over the past few years.
Part of the reason for this change is that, as B2B buyers grow younger, they are supplementing or even replacing trade show attendance with online research.
Reaching them is a simple matter of replicating what you do at trade shows…with your website.
1. YOU’RE INVESTING IN EXPOSURE AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
You should be building and improving your website for the same reason you build and improve your trade show booths regularly: to bring in traffic.
People are everywhere: traveling by, getting distracted by all your competitors, and judging your entire set-up with one quick glance.
How are you holding up in their sight?
Have you been using the same small, dusty ‘booth’ for over a decade?
If you want to attract passersby, you need something that looks inviting; sleek; and impossible to mistake for anything but your brand.
The more visitors you get, the more leads you’ll get; and that will lead to more sales.
2. FREE STUFF BRINGS PEOPLE IN
There’s no point in beating around the bush about this: we all know that tchotchkes and cappuccino machines bring in more visitors at trade shows and expos. Celebrity endorsements prompt questions. Business cards flow in like confetti whenever someone holds a drawing for a prize.
Some attendees even map out their second or third pass around the floor based on which booths have food or gear to offer.
Free downloads and content offers are a great way to attract online traffic, spark conversations with prospects, and collect contact information.
The best of these souvenirs are always useful to the recipients, be they umbrellas or eBooks. So offer them what you have – training, presentations, webinars, case studies, you name it!
More importantly visitors recognize that you’ve put time and money into connecting with them; which makes them more willing to hear what you have to say after they arrive.
3. VIDEOS ENGAGE BROWSING VISITORS
While ideally you want a sales rep for every visitor, the truth is sometimes booths can get overrun by crowds. Losing visitors because your staff is too busy? That’s the worst.
Also, not everyone browsing at your booth (or site) wants to be roped into a conversation right away. If they’re not ready to buy, they may still stick around to watch your videos.
Videos attract and educate traffic from a distance.
The more videos your booth (or website) has, the more passersby it will likely draw in. It’s a faster way to give your company pitch from 500 yards across the hall, where your reps can’t reach.
Also, if you don’t have enough representatives to service every visitor to your trade show booth at once, a video will keep their attention and inform them about your business while they wait for a response.
Likewise, if you share videos around your website and on social media, that garners the same attention and even preemptively answers questions visitors may have.
4. PROVIDE INSTANT ACCESS TO SALES REPS
The more sales reps you have at your booth, the more opportunities you have to collect leads and close more sales.
Conversion forms and chatbots are the online version of collecting business cards and answering the questions of visiting passersby.
If someone is just browsing, they should be able to educate themselves with your booth/site. If they decide they want to learn more, you should make it easy for them…and for yourself.
Instead of paper, your forms and content offers can connect straight to your digital CRM, so everyone on the sales and marketing teams have the same data.
5. SITES CAN SURPASS BOOTHS
More importantly, trade shows end. Booths have to be deconstructed. And as hard as you may try to send staff to every possible expo, you can’t.
Your website is your opportunity to have a virtual trade show booth that’s international, and open 24/7.
If you’re only based in one country, now you can have representation on the other side of the planet. You may be located in Chicago, but someone in Australia can visit your ‘booth’ and learn all about you and find answers to their questions, all while you’re sleeping!
Does that mean websites are instant sales magic? No. But then again, neither are trade show booths. You get what you invest in.
So which website do you have? Is yours the dusty corner booth that hasn’t changed in a decade, with the same banners and piles of brochures as always?
Or do you have the twenty-yard block party with live demos, ceiling-high LED displays, and enough merchandise to fill the bed a pickup truck?
We certainly know which one you’d rather visit.
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