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Brands Monetize Trade Shows Using Text Messages

Trade shows are expensive. Whether you’re simply attending the show or you have a booth, trade shows cost. It’s not just the monetary cost of attending trade shows, but the time factor as well. Far too often we let trade shows slide in terms of ROI. We see them as line items on the marketing plan which junior associates are going to tackle. Not something us big shots have time to worry about… It’s time to kill that thinking. Brands need to monetize trade shows to maximize trade show return-on-investment. Trade shows can be a ridiculous revenue generator for your business.

In this article we are going to dig into how brands can monetize trade shows right in the moment using mobile.

Monetize Trade Shows to Generate Ridiculous Revenue Ripples

Ridiculous Revenue Ripples… Say that 5 times fast.

It may sound like a bad joke, but I assure you it’s no laughing matter. When executed properly, trade shows can generate tremendous value for a brand. That said, before you can enjoy the revenue ripples, first must come the initial purchase. That proverbial first wave which rolls outwards from the purchase that just hit the water. In a conference center packed with your target audience, and these consumers are usually the tip of the spear in terms of evangelists and early adopters, brands are crazy not to monetize trade shows.

The number one reason brands attend trade shows is to capture leads. The traditional trade show strategy has been to use a booth presence to generate awareness, engage attendees, and ultimately entice those attendees to drop a business card into one of those awful fishbowls or jot down their contact information on a paper form. Brands love this until they leave they show and realize that most of those hot leads from the show have either provided incomplete contact information, their handwriting is illegible, or worse, they have moved on.

Capturing leads at trade shows is a must for any brand, but why not take it one step further and lock in these potential future brand evangelists with a sale on the spot? If trade show attendees take time to enter your booth, engage you in a conversation, and provide you with their contact information, then a certain percentage would also be interested in purchasing your product or service on the spot IF it’s easy to accomplish. Once you have locked a customer in with an initial purchase, future purchases will come a little easier. Over the course of time, it leads to ridiculous revenue ripples from those customers, all stemming from that initial purchase at the trade show.

monetize trade shows

How to Monetize Trade Shows Using Text Messages

Ok, great, so you get it? After 4-5 paragraphs of me droning on about the Why  and the What, let’s get into brass tactics: The How. How can brands monetize trade shows? Well through mobile technology of course. Mobile and WiFi are the initial bridges between digital and physical. Other components of those bridges will be available in the future, further reducing friction when moving in between digital and real world environments, but even today brands have the tools they need to monetize trade shows on the spot.

Here’s how it goes down:

  1. Always start with the experience first. Define the attendee experience that you would like to bring to life within the trade show booth. Include how selling products and services can be wrapped around that experience to further amplify the value attendees receive when engaging with your brand at the show.
  2. Determine which of your products or services would be best suited for the audience attending the trade show. Ask yourself a few key questions:
    • Which products or services would fit in with my overarching trade show strategy and objectives?
    • Which products or services have the potential to wow booth attendees, possibly even going viral and spreading from attendee to attendee?
    • When would I deliver on sales (in the booth by handing products to attendees who make a purchase, deliver through regular e-commerce channels post-show, deliver a service later in the show (creating anticipation with the customer and getting them back to your booth a second time), etc.
  3. Select and configure the appropriate technical components to help facilitate the experience. A few key areas that you want to consider are:
    • Platform identification and testing
    • Hardware needs
    • Wifi requirements
    • e-Commerce transaction processing
    • Content delivery to your target audience

This isn’t about forcing unwanted products and services onto your trade show attendees. The most critical point above is point number 1, start with the experience first. If your objective is to use your next trade show to drive real-time sales, but also to create a pipeline of high lifetime value customers, you do that by using the trade show to create a magical experience around your brand. From there, find a way to tie in a product or service that compliments the experience, or better yet, amplifies and extends the experience. If you start with the experience and then select the right technology to help manifest that experience, the results are sure to amaze.

Use an iPad to Text e-Commerce Links to Trade Show Attendees

Let’s just get right after it, we have an experiential marketing platform brands can use to monetize trade shows.

Brands can run OnSpot Social on iPads in your trade show booth and associates can trigger text messages containing e-Commerce URLs right to trade show attendees’ mobile phones. Attendees can simply click the link to make a purchase.

3 Tips to Help Brands Monetize Trade Shows

Here are a few tips to help monetize trade shows and create ridiculous revenue ripples for your brand:

  1. Find a product or service which has organic viral attributes. Trade shows are a breeding ground for ideaviruses. If you find the right combination of trade show booth experience and the right product or service to sell, attendees will be sharing your story around the convention center. This will create natural intrigue among those who have yet to stop by, opening your brand up to additional traffic and opportunities to increase sales throughout the course of the show.
  2. Staff your trade show booth with WOW associates. Trade shows are a great opportunity for potential customers to get to know your brand and your staff. If you want to leave a specific impression on booth attendees, be sure the staff exudes the qualities which will help to manifest the appropriate customer experience. Trade show staff are on the front lines, it’s a good place to invest. Make sure the right personnel are running your booth.
  3. Deliver. Not delivery, but deliver in terms of payoff what you promise during your trade show experience. If you want the experience to go viral, deliver. If you want to capture leads who will actually convert into customers, deliver. If a goal is to create ridiculous revenue ripples, both short-term and long-term, deliver.

It might seem like a lot, but to monetize trade shows, brands can really boil it down to:

  • Craft an amazing trade show experience and staff your booth with the WOW associates
  • Select appropriate technologies to help remove the friction and allow associates to manifest magical trade show experiences for attendees
  • Find unique opportunities to sell naturally viral products and services around your trade show experience

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