How to Repurpose Trade Show Dollars Into Activities That Drive Great Leads

With thousands of conferences and tradeshows having been cancelled globally, many marketers are finding themselves with extra budgets they don’t know what to do with.

While too much budget is hardly a problem, knowing how to spend budget wisely can be difficult. To help brainstorm ways to repurpose trade show dollars into activities that will drive great leads, our team has put together a list of ways you can re-shuffle your money to engage your audience through ongoing digital activities.

Continue to Sponsor

Use budget to continue to sponsor digitally

Many conferences are going virtual and are encouraging companies to keep sponsoring digitally. While going digital means you have less face-to-face interaction, it’s still a great PR recognition opportunity, it provides support to the community, and might even give you the attendee list. In some cases, being a digital sponsor might even open the door for new opportunities too, such as hosting a virtual break-out session, or even securing a guest speaking spot that you might not have been able to nab if things were in person.

Pros:

    • you’re connecting with the right audience (and a potentially larger audiences due to reduce prices)
    • sponsoring is good PR; it gets your name out to audiences & can show good-will
    • opens opportunities that might not have been possible if the conference were physical (such as virtual sessions held when traditional coffee breaks happened)

Cons:

    • not as engaging or interactive
    • missing the one-on-one interaction; potentially loses some impact

Ad Things Up

Use budget to get into adspace.

Advertisements can get pretty pricey pretty quickly and, if you have a limited budget, it can be difficult to justify spending hours putting together a campaign of “only” a few hundred dollars. Use your trade show budget to fund a really honed in, tight campaign that costs more, but has a higher payoff.

Pros:

    • ads can be incredibly targeted ways to reach either your audiences – we’re talking filtering by geographics, demographics, behavior, and even job titles!
    • there are so many great avenues to use ads on, such as google adwords, linkedin, in-app ads, and more!

Cons:

    • no guarantee that lookers (or clickers!) are buyers
    • ads can get costly quickly

Invest in Employees

Use budget to invest in your people’s knowledge.

In many technical & creative firms, an organization is only as good as its employees. By investing in your employees, you invest in growth and a culture of learning. Hopefully this is something that then “pays it forward” – the knowledge from your employees will be shared on an organizational level, making your team smarter and bringing more value to clients.

Pros:

    • improves your organization’s value proposition
    • makes employees feel that you’re invested in them

Cons:

    • this won’t necessarily result in short term leads, but instead long-term organizational improvement & a culture of learning

Join a Membership

Use budget to grow your network.

Great leads often come from referrals and referrals often come from within your network. Join a membership to expand your network and to learn more about your industry and its trends. Research your vertical, your peers, and any aspirational organizations to get an idea of what organizations, associations, or councils might be beneficial to you.

Pros:

    • networking opportunities for you to meet with other organization leaders or peers in your industry
    • resources for you to use (ie: online job boards, webinars, advertising opportunities)
    • publicity for your brand (ie: speaking panel opportunities, website exposure)

Cons:

    • leads don’t usually come directly from becoming a member all in itself 
    • you’ll need to be engaged to really leverage resources

Host a Webinar Series

Use budget to create and execute on a mini webinar series.

By holding a multi-part webinar, you’re networking, building credibility, and getting your name out there. Invite prospects to your webinar – as guests or as speakers – to get them familiar and interacting with your brand and organization. Use attendee lists to capture leads, and use attendee questions to generate new ideas for content going forward.

Pros:

    • positions your brand as a thought leader
    • gives itself to making new content (social media clips, blog pieces, articles, etc)
    • enables you to draw in prospects & capture leads

Cons:

    • takes planning – from where it’s hosted to how to market and what to say
    • aren’t a quick turnaround; to market successfully you’ll likely need a few weeks lead time

Curate Strong Content

Use budget to generate new content.

By curating strong content, you’re able to invest in materials that you can promote and share over and over. Put budget into larger assets that can be used to generate new leads and (simultaneously!) be broken down into smaller pieces of content. Bonus: align your content with your webinar series, and you can get double the bang for your buck!

Pros:

    • can be used in multiple ways and mediums
    • tons of services exist for finding content creators
    • quick turnaround time, allowing you to create often

Cons:

    • finding a universal tone can be difficult if writing is being done by multiple sources
    • often a long-term lead generation activity, as users are not usually ready to convert from just one interaction

Revisit Your Nurture Strategy

Use budget to examine your nurturing strategy & martech.

Having leads is great, but it’s how you qualify them and nurture them that makes the biggest difference in cost per conversion. Take the time to review your nurture strategy is – the steps, the audiences, the goals – and investigate what technologies you’re using to help you accomplish those goals. Maximize the effectiveness of your nurture strategy by creating strong customer workflows and investing in a detailed scoring model to track and monitor your incoming leads.

Pros:

    • strengthens your lead process
    • gives you a way to better qualify leads, making your process more efficient
    • identifies technology redundancies or gaps in technology

Cons:

    • finding the right strategy can be time consuming
    • technology can get pricey quickly, especially if you find you need to invest in multiple softwares

Strengthen Your Website

Use budget to strengthen your website’s impact.

A website is one of the first impressions that you have on potential clients and it makes a major impact. Use budget to strengthen the impact of your website, whether it be through refining the messaging you’re giving off, or even doing a design refresh to make sure your website gives off a powerful message in line with your branding. A strong website helps to generate and nurture leads, so it should be a key focus of your brand.

Pros:

    • promotes a brand image you have complete control of
    • allows you to form a stronger connection with users
    • effective way to prompt users to perform actions (ie: download whitepapers, sign up for newsletters)

Cons:

    • can take a lot of time to redesign
    • there’s a lot of groundwork to lay and it’s hard to know where to start
    • if you don’t know what you’re doing, costs can add up quickly

Now What?

Our team excels at helping organizations drive digital transformation. Whether we’re consulting on how to create effective web campaigns, or rolling up our sleeves and getting deep into the code of highly complex CMSs, we always work to bring value to clients.

Learn more about how we help clients transform their digital platforms into digital experiences. Reach out to us at any time–we’re happy to connect!