February 10, 2023
Maximize your trade show presence with the right trade show platform. Learn how to choose, set up, promote, and measure success with your platform.
Written by Justin Post, Regional Vice President at Map Your Show
Are you ready to take your show to the next level? A trade show platform can help get you there. Trade shows provide a great opportunity for companies and entrepreneurs alike to showcase their products, services, and ideas in front of an audience that is interested in learning more about what they have to offer. With so many options out there when it comes to choosing the right trade show platform, it's important to understand how each one works and which will be best suited for your needs. By taking the time now to plan ahead and set up a successful trade show platform, you'll be able to position yourself and your event as a leading show in your industry, while also gaining valuable insight into customer preferences.
A trade show platform is an online tool that allows show organizers to create a central hub for their trade show(s). It provides features such as floor plan creation, sponsorship sales opportunities, lead generation, and analytics throughout your show’s timeline. It can also be used to promote your exhibitor’s presence before, during, and after the event.
Definition of a Trade Show Platform: A trade show platform is an all-in-one solution, allowing your exhibitors to create their unique digital presence at physical events like conferences or exhibitions. The platform typically includes tools for exhibitors like purchasing their choice of booth directly from the online floor plan, increased visibility through more effective promotion strategies (i.e. sponsorship opportunities), and more. This also engages attendees, as they can plan their unique experience directly from an attendee online agenda planner! Some features include selecting their favorite companies and products, favoriting interesting events (from speakers to a dinner event), and more! As for the show organizers, they will benefit from tracking engagement metrics (e.g., page views and keyword searches), analyzing ROI performance post-event, higher engagement from attendees and exhibitors alike, added revenue from sponsorship sales opportunities, and overall ease of use when working with their event.
💡 Key Takeaway: A trade show platform is an all-in-one solution, providing cost savings, increased visibility, and better lead capture capabilities, resulting in improved customer experiences.
Choosing the right trade show platform is essential for ensuring your event runs smoothly and successfully. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision.
Consider Your Needs and Goals: Before selecting a trade show platform, it’s important to consider what you need from it. Think about how many people will be attending, if there will be any virtual components, what type of content you want to display, and other features that may be necessary such as payment processing and registration integrations. Knowing exactly what you - and other stakeholders within your organization - need before making a selection can save you time in the long run.
Research Different Options: Once you have an idea of what features are most important to you, start researching different event technology options that are available on the market today. Look at (and ask for) reviews from current customers and compare pricing structures between platforms to get an understanding of which one offers the overall best value and potential ROI gain. These reviews will explain why they prefer working with one event technology company over another. It’s also helpful to read up on customer service support provided by each provider so that if any issues arise during setup or during the event itself, they can be addressed quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption.
After narrowing down your list of potential providers based on cost and customer service support levels, take some time to evaluate their feature sets more closely in order to determine which ones offer the most comprehensive solutions for your specific needs. Consider factors such as scalability (can it handle the number of attendees and exhibitors you have?), integrations with other systems (will it integrate easily with the software you utilize for registration, etc?), ease-of-use (is it user-friendly?), and mobile compatibility (will attendees have access via their mobile device?). By taking all these factors into account when choosing a platform, you can ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout every stage of planning and execution leading up to, and during, the event itself.
💡 Key Takeaway: When choosing a trade show platform, consider your needs and goals, research different options, and evaluate features such as scalability, integrations, ease of use, and mobile compatibility to ensure the best solution for your event.
Once you have decided on your event management platform and your dashboard is live, you can begin encouraging exhibitors and attendees to interact with the software and/or program. This is an important step in ensuring that they can make the most of their trade show experience. After all, your audience’s success is your success.
Recommend exhibitors to get signed up and on board. They will be able to create an account and upload content for buyers and industry contacts to review. Attendees will access this information and begin interacting with exhibitors by favoriting products, companies, and contacts they are interested in before attending the show. This can provide a good forecast for exhibitors, too, as these people are very likely to stop by the booth.
Promoting your trade show presence is important to ensure you get the most out of creating and managing a trade show. Social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter are great tools for sharing updates about your show, you can highlight exhibitors who are attending, highlight events and speakers at the show, promote discount entry prices for early registration, and other updates! Social media lets you get more creative with your show’s advertising. Include posts with short videos; this is recommended for higher engagement with your posts!
Utilize Email Marketing Strategies: Utilizing email marketing strategies is another effective way of promoting your show. Create engaging newsletters with images and GIFs/videos showcasing some of the events and attractions coming soon to your show - this will create anticipation among attendees and exhibitors leading up to their visit.
Using paid advertising tactics such as Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads can help reach more potential attendees who may not already be aware of your event, but would likely benefit from knowing about it. These ads should include all relevant information regarding location, date/time, cost (if applicable), etc., and visuals that capture attention quickly - think of eye-catching graphics with your show’s branding. With this in mind, the end goal is for these ads to draw enough attention so people actually click through and learn more about your event. MYS is the perfect platform for you!
💡 Key Takeaway: Promoting your trade show presence can be done through social media, email marketing, and paid advertising tactics such as Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads to reach more potential attendees.
Measuring success with your trade show platform is an important step in ensuring that you are getting the most out of your investment - and one that I’ve seen ignored more often than not. Tracking engagement metrics such as page views and highly searched topics, or looking at high-performing exhibitors, their products, and the sponsorships they invested in can give you insight into how your show is doing and how to pivot into the next year. This ensures informed decisions for your next show, which is a hard thing to come by post-covid!
For more insights into your show’s data, we suggest requesting a “Post Show Report” from your trade show platform. This is a meeting that can be requested at any time after your show and can provide insights into your show year after year. You can use this information to refine marketing strategies for future events and see what exactly your exhibitors and attendees were engaging with at your show. To continue, monitoring ROI performance is essential for understanding whether or not a trade show platform has been successful from a financial perspective. These post-show meetings have become some of my favorite weekly activities over the last year. See how MYS can help you reach your show goals!
Even before COVID, a lot of the most successful trade shows and conferences had digital or virtual content. A hybrid or virtual trade show is an online event or platform that allows businesses to showcase their products and services, network with other industry professionals, and build relationships with potential customers from the comfort of their home or office. To be fair, I think this industry has learned a lot about virtual ROI for exhibitors over the last couple of years, and your trade show platform should be well-positioned to show off content to prospective attendees.
To host a successful hybrid or virtual trade show, the process is very similar to what you have read so far; the difference is how your exhibitors and attendees go to the event. You will still need to promote it through digital marketing such as email campaigns, social media posts, and ads; provide clear instructions on how to access the show platform; offer engaging content like webinars; and facilitate networking opportunities by providing chat rooms or video conferencing options. By following these steps, you can ensure your virtual components are successful in connecting buyers and sellers from around the world before, during, or after your trade show or conference.
With the right platform, you can create an engaging experience for your visitors that will help you stand out from the competition. By taking the time to choose the right platform, setting it up correctly, promoting your presence effectively, and measuring success accurately, you can ensure that your trade show efforts are successful.
Are you looking for an efficient and reliable way to create your trade show? MYS is the perfect platform for you! Sign up today and start taking advantage of our powerful tools – it’s never been easier to succeed in the competitive world of trade shows!