Allegra Network offers these tips for small business, nonprofits
For the small to mid-sized business owner or nonprofit organization with small marketing budgets or an even smaller staff, participation in a trade show or event can offer great visibility at an affordable price. Participation in these events can generate attention, help develop sales leads or donors, and can sometimes offer valuable media exposure.
According to Allegra Network Vice President of Marketing Jessica Eng, “A new generation of show attendees needs solid information that will help them do their jobs, delivered in a variety of formats that takes into account their communications preferences.”
The event-marketing experts in Allegra Network’s franchise system are locally owned centers throughout North America operating under the brands Allegra, Insty-Prints and American Speedy Printing. Eng offers these seven key strategies for event marketing success.
1. Before you start, make a plan. Think about the audience you want to target, and get as specific as possible. Do you want to connect with college-aged males? Active senior citizens? Clothing manufacturers? Engage in trade shows that attract your target audience. Then, plan what you will do to gain their attention before, during and after the event.
2. Create an online presence, and maintain it. Whether you’re hosting your own event or participating in a conference or trade show, put the information online. Put an announcement on your company’s home page. Create a landing page for the event. Make sure it’s accessible and easy to view for people viewing on their tablets or smart phones. Put the event information on your company’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. And remember to stay in touch with those who “like” or “comment” on your social platforms.
3. Reach out to your customers and prospects directly. Send your existing customers an email and give them an incentive to bring a friend or two to the event. If you’re sponsoring an event, ask for a list of registrants and send them direct mail with an incentive to visit your booth at the event. Provide a coupon that they can redeem for a small gift when they bring it to your booth.
4. Use incentives to attract visitors. Sure, everyone loves big bowls of candy, but also consider some unique giveaway items to give to visitors. Put your logo and contact information on them. Consider having a business card draw with a good prize for the one that gets pulled. You’re left with contact information for many prospects. Offer free information – studies, white papers, product samples – for those who provide contact information. Again, this gives you a way to follow up with prospects.
5. Make your booth stand out. Try to reserve a high traffic area. Make your display visually appealing with bold graphics that grab attention. Freestanding posters should reinforce your messages. Use a video or computer screen to provide interaction, movement and sound. Schedule demonstrations in your booth to grab the attention of those walking past.
6. Get publicity. Send event information to reporters, bloggers and news outlets. Schedule meetings with reporters who will attend the event. Prepare your spokespeople with talking points.
7. Follow up with the contacts you made at the event. Send follow up mail or email to booth visitors who left contact information. Send them additional information or a token “thank you for visiting” gift. Try a follow-up survey of booth visitors or event attendees. Remember to stay in touch the contacts you made.
About Allegra Network:
Allegra Network LLC is one of world’s largest marketing, print and graphic communications franchises linking more than 450 locations across North America. The company ranks in the top 300 among all franchise companies in the world and is considered a leader in franchise training, technology implementation and system profitability. Allegra Network was founded in 1976 and today supports three primary brands under its print division – Allegra, American Speedy Printing and Insty-Prints, and the Signs Now brand under its sign division. For more information on Allegra Network, please call (800) 726-9050 or visit www.allegranetwork.com.