Like all global industries, the tech industry is being challenged in unprecedented ways as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact everyone’s work and home lives. The health and safety of employees, families and communities is, of course, paramount. At the same time, work is continuing in the midst of the crisis.
With that said, you’ve no doubt spent considerable marketing dollars (and hours) on developing plans and materials for tradeshows and conferences, which are now being systematically canceled or postponed. But all is not lost. Here are some ideas for leveraging those papers, presentations and booth materials to help you stay in touch with existing customers, as well as attract new ones. Here are the top 6 ways to repurpose your tradeshow investment.
1. Conduct a webinar
Webinars can offer high value, both for you and your target audiences, and they are a great way to make use of presentation materials originally intended for a tradeshow or conference. First, identify the audience you want to reach and implement a digital marketing campaign to reach them – lead generation ads on LinkedIn typically perform the best. Set up the registration to qualify the attendees as you would when scanning a badge – this will allow you to vet your leads and receive all of their contact information, including a physical mailing address.
Invite viewers to complete a short poll at the end of the webinar, asking if they’d like to receive more information. Follow up with an email packet of materials, and send them a thank-you gift from your stash of booth giveaways. To encourage feedback, pick a name from those offering useful comments and send them your best swag offering or a gift card from their favorite online store.
For those unable to attend the live event, make the webinar available for viewing afterward on your website. Send out the link in a customer newsletter or e-blast with catchy copy to encourage readers to click through and watch.
2. Hold a virtual contest
This could be as simple as setting up a click-through link or creating a brief poll for visitors to your site. Submissions make them eligible to win a prize you’d planned to give away in your show booth, e.g., a new tablet computer.
If you’d mapped out a booth scavenger hunt with partner companies or customers, make it a virtual hunt. Coordinate with your collaborators to post hints for contestants to find on your websites – have visitors fill out a form at whichever company’s site they visit first, at which point a code is generated that they have to enter when searching for the hidden image or phrase on each additional site. Once they’ve found them all, their name is automatically added to a pool from which the winning name will be drawn. The winner, of course, will receive the prize, and all the contestants will be sent collateral and some of those booth giveaways.
3. Develop interactive product briefs
Live product demos are always popular at industry events. While you can’t currently display your offerings in an up-close and personal manner, you can do the next best thing. For a quick boost to your collateral sheets, you can turn them into video versions using a DIY platform such as Animoto, Typito or Lumen5. For a more dynamic approach, revise any outdated content, then shoot some brief, dynamic footage of your product in action, and embed it in the online document. Make these briefs available from the relevant product/solution pages on your website and link them to your online newsroom. This makes them a valuable resource for both customers and media.
Take it a step further and create 3D virtual tours that are gated behind a registration wall. Set a tour date, and send interested parties branded VR headsets that work with their smartphone so that they have them in time for the virtual tool demo.
4. Produce a podcast
With everyone currently working remotely, you have a captive audience looking for information that will hold their attention. Podcasts are extremely popular, and they’re cost-effective to implement. Designate a host (or series of hosts) comfortable with driving the conversation; a few media training sessions may be in order before launching the podcast. For each installment, focus on a topic relevant to content you had planned to present during a show. The dialogue can take any form you like – you could interview an intended presenter; have a customer or partner as a guest sharing the benefits they’re gaining from your technology or product; or hold a mini-panel of two to three guests discussing an industry trend or debating how to solve a challenge. To promote the podcast and ensure listenership, create and run digital ads on LinkedIn.
5. Create a white paper program
You know that content you used for your webinar? It also provides great source material for a thought leadership white paper that you can host on your website behind a lead-gathering wall. Use well-designed creative assets to engage the right audience on your social media platforms.
A white paper can also serve as the hub of a hub-and-spoke campaign, out of which you can create other lead-generating assets, such as infographics, videos, and blog posts. Learn more about turning your white paper into a lead gathering machine here.
6. Craft a series of contributed articles
Most industry publications are hungry for content, and mining papers and presentations for article fodder is an oldie but a goodie. Since you’ve already worked hard to put together material for one or more shows, you can typically repurpose it to create one or more technical articles, or a series thereof, as well as potentially a viewpoint or thought leadership piece focused on high-level content and related trends.
While we’ve included recommendations for using digital marketing to leverage some of these projects, all of them (and virtually anything else you do) should be promoted on the social media platforms in which you participate. The point is to make the most of what you have to attract the folks you need to reach with your product and technology messages.
We know that, for many of you, resources are at a premium right now. That’s why we are offering complimentary 30-minute brainstorm calls with our tech team to help set you on a path to successful solutions for your trade investment. Get in touch with our team now!