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10 Tips to Maximize ROI at Manufacturing Trade Shows

By | February 25, 2014

Tradeshows are a popular sales, marketing and branding effort in the Manufacturing world. While many industries have moved away from spending money on setting up booths, many manufacturers continue to tout tradeshows as an effective way to get out their brand name, showcase new products, nurture relationships with existing customers, and build relations with new prospects.

What hasn’t changed in 20 years is the need to prove that money spent on tradeshows turns into revenue for your company. I’ll be writing plenty more about this topic in the coming weeks, but today I offer you 10 ways to maximize ROI at your upcoming tradeshow.

#1: Press Release – Creating a press release to be distributed online is essential. It should include the basics like keywords that are relevant to your products or services, along with a link back to your website. But it also should address:

  1. If you’re exhibiting at the tradeshow, give the booth number and tell attendees what they can expect to see from you.
  2. If you will demonstrate new products. Are experts at your booth showcasing your widgets? Give prospective customers a reason to stop by.
  3. If you’re available to meet with the media. Trade publications and local reporters assigned to cover the show may look for exhibitors with whom they can connect. Make it easy for Reporter X to set up a time to chat.
  4. If you’re unveiling a new product at the tradeshow. A great way to generate buzz for your company and to pique the interest of current and prospective customers.
  5. If someone from your company is speaking at the show. Many shows have a conference component, so if a salesperson or the VP of product development will be discussing industry topics, be sure to let your audience know.
  6. I caution you to limit tchotchkes, but they’re pretty much a guarantee at most tradeshows. If your company is giving anything away for a promo or holding a drawing, make sure the giveaway is something of value and relevant to your company. Too many items end up in trash cans. Tchotchkes can guarantee you booth visitors who come by to grab your wind-up toys, but you’re there to get qualified leads.
  7. Offer a discount code – unique to your company – for anyone in your industry who might want to attend the tradeshow.

My journalism professor used to say it like this: Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em what you told ’em, then shut up. To say it a little nicer: write the press release telling readers that you’re attending the tradeshow, tell them what to expect from your company, then… stop.

#2: Home Page CTA – Create a noticeable call-to-action on the home page of your website that tells visitors – current customers and prospects – to visit your tradeshow booth. You can include the discount code from the press release here, too, to incentivize attendees to check out your products in action or be wowed by your latest product in person.

#3: Use Paid Search – Begin bidding on tradeshow keywords with your PPC budget. While the focus of this PPC campaign is to merely connect your company’s name with that of the tradeshow, you’ll want those who do click through to put their email address into a form on the landing page. So offer something of value to get their email: a whitepaper, guide to the tradeshow, your industry newsletter, etc. Make sure all copy is tailored to tradeshow attendees with clear calls-to-action.

#4: Blog! – Write a blog post about your attendance at the tradeshow before you go, and write another post once you return wrapping-up the event. This gives you fresh content on your website, chances to plug in relevant keywords, and showcases your industry expertise.

#5: Spread the Love – Circulate those blog posts on your company’s social media channels. B2B marketers should focus on LinkedIn, as this is a great place to show industry connections what’s going on with your company. Have your employees – especially salespeople – post the blog to their personal LinkedIn pages, too.

#6: Get It All on Video – Is your company spokesperson speaking to an audience or conducting interviews with media at the tradeshow? Record it on video and post everything to your company’s YouTube channel. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, create one today. This valuable tool isn’t just for teenagers who want to watch skateboarding dogs. 

#7: Save the Trees – At every tradeshow and conference I’ve attended, I inevitably walk away from some booths with loose papers that end up in the hotel trash can at the end of the day. Stop giving literature out to every passerby. If someone is a qualified prospect, get their email address and offer to send them all the information they’ll need after the show … so they don’t have to carry it. And so it doesn’t end up in the trash can. Best of all: you’re building your email list.

#8: Relationship Building – Are company partners or vendors attending the tradeshow? Stop by their booths and introduce yourself. Putting a face to the name gives you the opportunity to strengthen your company’s relationships.

#9: Don’t Forget Those Who Got You Here – Schedule time to meet with existing customers at your tradeshow booth. A bonus tip: schedule time to meet with prospective customers at the same time. Many times your happy existing customers can be a natural selling tool for prospects.

#10: It’s Time to Break Bread – If you have an email list of qualified prospects, host a breakfast before the tradeshow kicks off to discuss a topic of interest in your industry. If you advertise in an industry trade publication, consider asking the publisher to co-sponsor the breakfast for additional publicity. This is a great way to establish your company as an industry thought leader.

Next week, I’ll discuss more tips for maximizing manufacturing tradeshow ROI in the digital world, focusing on email and social media.

I’d love to read in the Comments section any tips you have on maximizing tradeshow dollars or any questions you have about tradeshow promotion in the digital world.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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Discover The Power of Testimonial Videos for Manufacturers

By | February 5, 2014

It is human nature to want to feel a connection with others. This is true in all aspects of life, including making purchasing decisions. And this ideology doesn’t just ring true in the B2C and retail world. It is also important in B2B industries. In particular, the manufacturing industry is highly built on relationships and connections.

A powerful way to capitalize on our humanistic need to connect with people is to produce testimonial videos. This is a great way to give your potential customers something to relate to. However, it is important to use authentic, professionally done testimonials. It is important that your customer giving the testimonial not only talks about how great your product is, but also tells a genuine story about how your product impacts day-to-day life, whether at work or at home. These types of stories will resonate better with your audience, making the video more memorable and actionable.

To get a better testimonial, make sure you ask the right open-ended questions and more importantly, make the speaker feel comfortable. Here are seven great questions to ask:

1.  Give me a brief history of your career and business success.

This is to relax the person, get them talking about themselves and the company in an open, comfortable forum.

2.  How did your company get involved with us?

Get the person more engaged in talking about your company in a general sense.

3.  What was the reason you decided to engage with our company?

This is really the first actual testimonial question, it is designed to get them talking generically about your benefits.

4.  What was most important when making your decision? Price, delivery, service, quality?

This question gets more specific and sheds light on what’s important to your customers.

5.  What has been your experience with our company?

Give the person an opportunity to sum up what makes your company great or unique in their own words.

6.  Have you been approached by any of our competitors? If so, what did you tell them?

This answer could be gold! Get to know exactly what separates you from your competitors, directly from your customers.

7.  If someone asks if they should do business with us, what would you tell them?

This is the heart and soul of the testimonial. This is exactly what your potential customers are looking for.

 Asking questions like these can help you get your customer to tell the story of why they chose your company and what value your products or services brought to them.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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10 Inbound Strategies for Your 2014 Manufacturing Marketing Budget

By | January 8, 2014

manufacturing-marketing-ideasOutbound marketing was good while it lasted, but with inbound marketing customers have the ability to find you. Organizations spend a large amount of their annual marketing budget on outbound marketing, missing out on valuable leads and customer engagement that inbound marketing can achieve. Inbound marketing uses a variety of paid and natural search- engine marketing efforts to be successful.

For someone in charge of spending a company’s marketing budget it is logical to pay for the most budget-friendly, effective solution available. Paying to have your company or your brand presented to the correct audience is also important. The new year is knocking at your door; open it with these 10 ways to use your manufacturing marketing budget effectively and engage with your audience.

1.) Blog Post

The term “thought leadership” has been used quite a bit lately, but it’s a vital characteristic. If you are an expert in your field, blog about it. Show your audience what you have accomplished and share your advice freely. Doing this will help you become an established industry leader.

2.) eBooks

If a single blog post doesn’t give you the ability to thoroughly express your concept, an eBook is a great option. Once an audience member expresses their need to download your eBook, they will take this valuable information with them and reference back to it when needed. It’s a win/win situation; you receive an interested lead they receive quality content.

3.) Infographics

Infographics are one of the most shared content formats. They allow you to show facts, percentages, statistics and data all rolled up into a visually appealing graphic. What’s not to love about information combined with text and images, designed to show complex data that tells a story.

4.) Case Studies

Case studies are a great way to show your company’s performance and allow potential customers to see processes you have taken to solve the challenges of other customers. If you want to focus on flexibility and customization for clients, show the steps taken and the results that followed.

5.) White Papers

White papers offer a powerful way of sharing industry information, strategies and research. Whitepapers are more text heavy than an eBook and relate to industry insiders rather than the general consumer.

6.) Video

You want to keep visitors on your site for as long as possible and provide the right content for them. Videos are a great to engage users. Videos should be fairly short and provide the user with the content they are seeking in order for them to learn more about your brand.

7.) Social Media

Social media is a useful tool to increase brand awareness. Your customers are online researching you; constructing a social media strategy based on where your target audience is most active is a great place to start. Check out these 7 ways manufacturers can make the most of Linkedin.

8.) PPC Advertising

Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a great way to drive very specific targeted traffic to your website.  With PPC you will know exactly how much money you are spending which allows you to judge the effectiveness of the overall PPC campaign.

9.) Landing Pages

Landing pages should be created to satisfy a specific need visitors are searching for. Once a customer has landed on a specific landing page, having a call to action (CTA) strategy is vital. What do you want that visitor to do once they have reached the landing page?

10.) Marketing Automation

Marketing automation allows you to nurture quality leads through highly targeted, personalized messages that meet their specific purchasing needs.  The ultimate goal with marketing is to generate more revenue. In order to achieve this, traffic needs to be driven to your website. Converting that traffic into leads is the next step, followed by turning those leads into customers. Marketing automation can greatly improve the conversion and closure steps of this process.

Even though all 10 of the above options may not be in your 2014 marketing budget, they should be considered when your company creates an annual marketing plan. The strategies should be customized to meet your company’s goals for each new year.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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Manufacturers Should Educate Potential Clients with Internet Video

By | October 21, 2013

production_printAccording to an early 2013 article posted on the Reuters website regarding the growing use of Internet video – largely due to mobile access these days via smartphones and notebooks – it is the “fastest-growing form of online advertising.” This really isn’t surprising, since one of the easist and most popular features of mobile devices is watching videos of news clips and music performances, just as the advent of transistor radio made music and news accessible to its mobile users.

For the manufacturing sector, the uses of web video must be diferent, more strategic, and more about conveying the value of products or services offered by your company. That’s because video for manufacturers should not be based upon entertainment or even advertising but education. Videos placed strategically on your site have great power to educate. The use of video for content marketing purposes – selling without being pushy and by informing objectively – is right for manufacturers.

By placing videos on key product/service pages on your website, you leverage the vast communication powers of moving pictures, graphics, narration and music to deliver a powerful multimedia presentation. As increasingly visual learners raised on the big screen of cinema, the small screen of television, and the smaller screen of the Internet, this form of messaging is the one we understand best, and most efficiently – particularly in the short amount of time spent visiting a website page.

A few of the smart uses of web video for manufacturing websites include:

  • Facility tours, where viewers can see your operations, factory size and overall conditions of your facilities in order to understand the cleanliness and integrity of your company
  • Equipment spotlights, where the capabilities of that new CNC drill system or CAD system for enginering design can be shown-off to your viewing public
  • Process videos, where your buying prospects can watch and learn how key manufacturing procedures are executed smoothly time and again by your trained staff
  • Demonstration videos, featuring your new widget or time/energy-saving device in-action so that viewers can grasp its value even if they’re thousands of miles away from a showroom or sale person

Considering that Internet videos have been documented to keep visitors on pages longer for SEO value, can communicate synergistically the value proposition of your product or service, and can be featured on video portals such as YouTube as well as on your website, there’s simply no reason not to leverage this excellent digital marketing format to educate and inform your sales prospects.

Manufacturers should use Internet video NOT to advertise or entertain but to educate potential buyers on your processes, equipment, facilities and services. Watch your sales increase and your company grow in sophistication as you tap into this highly efficient communications medium that can be repurposed time and time again.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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Top 10 Reasons to Utilize Video Marketing

By | June 10, 2013

1.    Conversions: Studies have shown that video can increase lead generation and shopping cart conversions. Videos are great for increasing open and click through rates in email, increasing form completions on PPC landing pages, and increasing conversions on any website.

 2.    SEO: Video has the ability to drastically impact universal search, and its interactive tendencies result in high click through rates from web pages, which ultimately impacts SEO for the better.
3.    Brand Awareness: Video is a great medium for creative, engaging content that in turn lends itself to a higher rate of social sharing, ultimately getting your brand in front of more people.
4.    The Demand: The demand for engaging video content is constantly on the rise. Each day, over 100 million Americans watch online video, an increase of 43% since 2010. Even in B2B marketing, according to Forbes Insight, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch a video rather than read text. It’s important to give your consumers what they want.
5.    Referral Traffic: Video is a great way to build initial attraction off-site and engage the viewer to visit a specific website.
6.    Customer Reassurance: A customer has a higher chance of buying a product after seeing how it works and its uses. Also, there’s a personal interaction that forms between the viewer and the video, which helps to build product trust.
7.     Better Education: People learn from video faster than they do from the written word. In fact, the information retained in 1 minute of video is about equivalent to 1.8 million words. Video is one of the best training tools and can be used both internally and externally.
8.    Keep Up With the Competition: More than 85% of colleges and universities have a YouTube presence. Over 70% of B2B companies use online video marketing. Your competition is most likely using video. You should too.
9.     Customer Retention/Brand Loyalty: Product launch and thought leadership videos are a great way to keep current customers up to date on your latest solutions, and present expert knowledge that positions your company as one of the best the industry has to offer.
10. Engaging, Versatile Content: The demand for engaging content is at an all time high, and compelling, storytelling videos are a great way to offer that to customers and generate ‘buzz’ for your brand.

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