Events require a big investment from your marketing budget. You’re already there, so why not make the most of it? When exhibiting at an event, here are ten ways to maximize your return.

Before the Event: Drive Booth Traffic

1. Develop a strategic plan – Don’t wing it.

Event deadlines can sneak up on you, and it’s important to create a plan with a schedule and deadlines far in advance. And set your metrics for measurement – what does success look like?

2. Determine your story

When a potential customer or editor walks away from your booth at the event, what is the one thing you want them to remember? Identify your key message for the event and how your show-floor presence will support that.

3. Create a strong call-to-action resource

Create a landing page on your website with event details, your booth number, an overview of what will be in the booth, why attendees should visit and links to content you’ve created around the event.

4. Consider sponsorships

As digital content forms evolve, event sponsorships are no longer one size fits all. Examine the options, including e-newsletter placements, Show Daily articles and speaking opportunities – and fully leverage anything you secure.

5. Identify your customers and partners on site

A story is always stronger with a partner. Having proof points of customers and/or partners on site at an event can strengthen social media activity and garner more interest from media.

6. Start media outreach and ID opportunities for exclusives

As an exhibitor, you will typically have access to the list of registered media for an event. Use it! Start reaching out to media at least six weeks before an event to pitch briefings with your subject matter experts. In addition, if you’ll be announcing a new product, company initiative or other news at an event, consider pitching the announcement to a priority editor or reporter in advance.

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During the Event: Increase Visibility

7. Engage on social media

Promotion of your presence at an event should start on social media long before the event. But during the event, use the event hashtag, livestream booth tours and speaking engagements, boost posts and engage with others posting about your company. You can also try geofencing.

8. Get the customer’s perspective

Industry events bring your customers together in one convenient place for a limited time. Use the opportunity to do research, through one-on-one meetings, focus groups or other forums. If your company develops customer case studies, take advantage of time on site to interview customers in-person.

After the Event: Leverage Content

9. Follow up on leads

This includes customer leads and media inquiries. Keep those conversations going.

10. Continue leveraging content

The life of content gathered and created during events extends far beyond the event itself. Push out “throwback” posts on social media, develop “what we heard/learned” articles for your blog and more.

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