Presenting at trade shows has a certain magic to it.
The person to person experience. The trade show floor filled with people from a common industry. The mix of people, ideas, products - this can be stimulating and productive for everyone involved.
But trade shows are also a challenge:
You know you need to showcase your brand at trade shows, but what exactly do you present? How does this fit into your broader video marketing strategy?
And since these are often once-a-year type events: How do you know you're getting the highest ROI from your trade show booth?
The solution to these problems is simple.
First, capture the audience's attention. Then, get them to take the next step down your marketing funnel. Easy!
In this article, we'll walk you through exactly how to do this in three parts:
- Preparing for your trade show
- Showcasing your video display
- Follow-ups after the showcase
The core trade show marketing goals: Attention and Action
The first goal: Grab their attention
The rest of this article will go into detail on this one idea. It's the fundamental question you need to ask.
How do you get people interested in your booth?
All the content and work you put towards it should start with this in mind.
It doesn't matter how good your product is, how engaging your presentation is, how innovative your sales funnel is - You won't get results if you can't get anyone to stop at your display in the first place.
The final goal: Positive trade show ROI
Just like most TOFU marketing efforts, it can be hard to measure your trade show display's ROI. The number of people stopping by will give you a good gauge for how well your booth is generating brand awareness, but you'll want to go deeper.
The easiest way to measure your trade show ROI is through prospects' actions. This could include:
- Direct sales
- Newsletter sign-ups
- Special offer conversions
- Requests for information
- Scheduling sales calls
- Interest and questions related to your video's content
- Increased website visits
Preparing for your trade show video display
It can be tough to know where to start and what to include in your trade show booth. We've broken down the key considerations in the sections below.
How does this trade show fit into your broader marketing strategy?
Trade show displays can be used all along your sales funnel. But be aware:
You only have 5-8 seconds in a trade show to capture prospects' attention.
So make sure your initial offer is simple to grasp and clearly helpful. Once you've drawn in the prospect, you can target specific stages of the funnel:
- TOFU: Generate brand awareness, convert passersby into prospects
- MOFU: Develop relationships, build your brand story, establish authority with charts/data
- BOFU: Sales, sign-ups, calls
Create the right content for each stage of your video marketing funnel
You are dealing with short attention spans and a lot of information about your product people initially will NOT want to hear. Focusing exclusively on BOFU content is going to turn people off.
Instead, most of your content should be focused on finding the middle ground and:
- Generating interest
- Building rapport
- Developing relationships to sell them over days, weeks, months, and years
What kind of content should you consider?
- Pre-show content. You will want to let people know you'll be there, set up appointments, explain what you will be doing, and try to own the event if you can.
- Can you give a keynote presentation? Headline at a panel discussion? Something that will help brand your company as a thought leader?
- Visuals and videos that attract attention?
- Brochures? Merchandise? Handouts?
- Additional training for your sales reps?
- It's also important to consider that having in-depth sales content can be helpful, but unlikely to be the best course of action. Think about creating an offer instead.
- Create a landing page for users to submit emails via tablets.
Have a clear call to action
Once you've decided what content to create and where it sits in your sales funnel, make sure to have a consistent, clearly displayed call to action.
This gives the viewers an effortless way to slide down your sales funnel.
Special offers and giveaways help drive action
After visually appealing trade show booths, giveaways are the second most popular way to attract attendees to a trade show display.
Take the time to think about what kind of value-add can be interesting for your prospect, and what section of your funnel a special offer could target.
Consider creating contests, draws, or giveaways if you're just looking to generate awareness. If you're expecting a large number of highly qualified leads, then try including a more generous offer.
But be careful with giveaways. They can bring the wrong kinds of customers - both unqualified and uninterested in spending money with your brand.
Even worse, there are stories of brands losing reputation over not delivering enough freebies.
How can you repurpose your video content?
First, go through the content your brand already owns.
Do you have some high-value scenes that will make grab attention at the trade show?
Next, think about what’s the highest impact content that you can create. For example, could you interview two executives discussing a trending industry topic?
Whatever it is - by creating a strong piece of content you can use it not only for the show but afterwards as well. The best strategies will involve questions/concerns which the market is facing, which are not likely to be trade show specific.
Creating your trade show video
Now that you've thought through what you want to include in your video production, it's time to start creating it!
We recommend hiring a professional video production agency to do the heavy lifting for you. Their expertise will create a much better final product (and be waayyy less stressful)!
If you are going the custom route here’s a few things to consider:
- Scripting and storyboarding: A must!
- Audience: Know who you’re targeting, and their likes, interests, problems, wants, etc
- Emotion: This is what keeps the audience's attention
- Length: Keep it 90-120s, make it relevant immediately
- Speed: Keep your video around 140 words per minute of content
- Branding: Make sure your video is consistent with your brand story
- Be bold: Both in attention and in calls to action - challenge your demographic
- Bite sized: Give them bits and pieces - enough to chew on but not a meal
- Educate: Teach and give them reasons to ask you questions - become the authority
- Repetition works: Be consistent in your messaging and call to action
- Consider making your video text based - so the content can be shown
- Avoid technical details: Keep it simple, make it about outcomes and benefits
- Soundtrack: Contact the event's organizers to see if any music or audio is allowed
Trade show video technical considerations
There are a couple technical points that are often missed when organizations create their trade show videos in-house.
Before you get started, make sure you go over these points.
First, know what format, resolutions and sizes you will need. The large screens used at trade shows often have different aspect ratios than traditional online video. This can lead to problems with the final image quality or black areas on the monitor due to improper sizing.
Consider also how many screens, power bars, wires, etc you will need for your set up. What tool will you use to actually show the video on each screen? PC tower, DVD player, tablet? These kinds of logistics can be surprisingly difficult to figure out at the last minute!
Showcasing your trade show video
When showtime comes, consider that you will likely be using video in one of two ways.
First is from far away to capture attention.
This is your LED big-screen or round screen display. Both are great ways to stand out from the crowd. So what will you need to know?
- When there’s a lot of noise you will appreciate having CLEARLY readable captions on your video (and so will your prospects).
- If you are doing a 360° style video - make sure to test it beforehand. You will need to ensure sizing, spacing and animations fit the screen. This is hard to predict fully in advance.
- Visibility from a distance. Easily readable at a glance.
- Movement. Motion. Make it stand out. Pop. Dynamic. BOOM.
The second way is with tablets and smaller monitors on your table.
Tablets in the hands of your sales team are a great way to start a relationship with your prospects. You've already captured their attention, so now here's your opportunity to start a two-way conversation with them.
A second version of this is to set up a QR code. Prospects will be able to access your video directly on their device - and save it for later viewing.
If you have the budget, develop an interactive video for this up-close-and-personal stage.
This will even more deeply engage your prospects, and gives you a great opportunity to share MOFU content with them.
Screen size does matter at trade shows
It shouldn't surprise you, but the bigger your screen, the easier it is to see what’s on it. For this simple reason you should maximize your screen size.
Instead of multiple smaller screens crammed with information, focus on having one big screen with clear text.
You will want to have high resolution screens for your booth. This also means the render itself needs to be a HQ / HD file render in either MP4 or MOV format with the proper encoding.
Pre-trade show videos: Create some hype before the show
You can think of showcasing your video the same way that Hollywood does their movies.
How do studios get you to pick their movie out of all the other choices? By promoting it!
Research indicates an up to 50% increase in conversions when pre-show promotions are used. You can try posters, email send-outs, even old-school direct mail brochures.
We love video here at Rocketwheel, so we recommend you make your very own Hollywood-style trailer.
Here’s a few tips on making a captivating promotional video:
- Make it about the attendee and event - You can show off your product at the actual show
- Talk about your keynotes, what information you will be sharing, key lessons, give the benefits to attendees - make them excited about your presence. You can even share the link to your keynote's livestream for remote or hybrid workers that can't attend in person.
- Humanize. Pictures. Videos. Team. Go behind the scenes. Show who will be there. We cannot stress this enough!
- Introduce them to your marketing funnel - What theme/question/solution are you promoting for the event?
- Stylize: Quick edits, promotional soundtrack, fast paced, exciting tidbits, bread crumb trail
After it's made, make sure to distribute it. Send it to your email list, upload it to your company YouTube channel, and share clips on your social media. You could even try sending it to influencers in your niche to get an even broader reach!
Post-trade show marketing
Remember: Everyone has been bombarded by marketing and messages during the show. Sending a follow-up email to recap and share your key takeaways is a great way to stay top of mind.
A common way many companies do this is the post-trade show video.
It relives some of the hype and brings back the memories. This can take form in a B-roll mashup, clips of the display and presentations, or even testimonials from customers at the event.
This can help convert prospects that got all the way down to the BOFU at the show, but didn't buy. It's also a great way to thank new customers, build their trust, and draw them into your loyalty loop.
Wrapping it all up
We know we got deep into the reeds on this one.
Once you've decided that a trade show fits into your company's overall marketing strategy, remember that your trade show video is all about attention and action. If your trade show display's content isn't leading towards one of these goals, then cut it out.
And of course, please reach out to the Rocketwheel team if you want an expert to do it all for you!