Trade shows are major marketing investments for many organizations. They’re an opportunity for your team to meet face-to-face with prospects, promote your brand, and share product information with attendees. Traditionally, trade show booths are filled with printed literature touting products to hand out to attendees. There’s so much printed literature handed out at trade shows that one of the top giveaway items is bags to carry it all!
Increasingly, trade show attendees are finding all of this paper to be more of a burden than it is useful. Many attendees would rather not fly home with a suitcase full of paper, and then have it sit on their desk back at the office. “I’ll just look at your website,” they say.
It’s critical that as attendees look for solution descriptions, you provide them the most relevant information possible for their target market. If you rely on a trade show lead to go back to their office and google your company name, you’re missing an opportunity to share the right information with them in their immediate moment of interest. Trade show apps are a great way to accomplish this goal.
Mobile Apps Shorten the Distance to the Goal
One of the greatest benefits of a mobile app is that apps are, by nature, designed to serve up only the most relevant content—meaning users have access to information they need literally at their fingertips. By creating a marketing app that promotes your company, and encouraging downloads at trade shows where you’re exhibiting, you have complete control over the customer experience. This is particularly important if you’re attending multiple shows or targeting multiple markets.
One way to account for varied market segments or multiple trade shows is through the use of different Personas, or versions of your app, for each trade show. Instead of creating multiple freestanding apps, the use of a Persona-per-trade show allows you to create one main app, with centralized data, content, and branding, and then modify it with specific details for each show, such as your booth number or information specific to that market.
Another benefit of a mobile app is the ability to send push notifications to app users. Push notifications are a great communication tool, especially at trade shows where you can use them to drive traffic to your booth, conference sessions, evening events, or other special activities. Even better, you are able to proactively follow-up and engage the prospect post-event to prompt follow-up, invite the prospect to follow-up activities, or update the prospect of new announcements and solution updates. The marketing app becomes a long-term prospect engagement tool.
What to Include In Your Tradeshow Marketing App
Attendees may download the app before, during or after the show and you should provide content to meet each of these needs.
Before: Get Attendees Excited to Come to Your Booth
- Provide high-level information about your company and products.
- Include appropriate resources such as white papers or case studies—that you may have previously printed.
- Integrate social media or blog feeds to round out an overall picture of your organization.
- Embed product or company videos—a truly engaging rich media that can’t be replicated in print.
- If you’re using different Personas, place an in-app Banner Message on your default page announcing that a Persona for the specific trade show is now available and link to it from the message.
During: Get Attendees To Your Booth
- Share your booth number.
- Promote and provide a schedule for any conference sessions where you’re presenting
- Invite attendees to any networking opportunities or receptions you’re hosting.
- If your product is digital or mobile, integrate a live trial-version into your app.
- Add a demonstration or information request form in your app and integrate it with your CRM or marketing automation system—such as Salesforce or Marketo.
- Allow attendees to enter contests and giveaway drawings with an in-app form.
- Use Push Notifications to encourage attendees to come by your booth, and announce any special events before they happen, such as conference sessions or networking opportunities.
- Gamify the app with treasure hunts or other items to encourage the prospect to continually come back to your marketing app.
After: Follow Up with Your Leads
- A few days after the show, make your company top-of-mind and send a Push Notification thanking leads for coming by your booth. Direct them to more information, or a request-a-demo form.
- Anytime there’s a new marketing event (e.g., a webinar or new blog post), alert them
- Continually refresh the content with the latest and greatest, such as new products or press releases.
- Make the app a rich source of information that promotes your company as a thought leader.
How to Market Your App
It’s great to build a trade show app, but in order for it to be useful, you need people to download it. Here are a few ideas on ways to promote your company app:
- Send a pre-show email or direct mailer highlighting your participation in the show. Include a call-out encouraging people to download your app.
- Put up a sign in your booth inviting people to download your app.
- Pass out small “download cards” attendees can take with them to download the app at their convenience.
- Additionally, you can include a QR code on each of these promotional items, making it incredibly easy for attendees with a QR scanner on their smartphone to scan and download. You can even create a single QR code that intelligently takes users to the correct app store based on their smart device.
How to Make Your Own Marketing App
This all sounds great, but how are you going to actually make it happen? Mobile projects can be complex, costly, time-consuming, and require serious IT resources. Luckily, they don’t have to. New rapid mobile app development systems have made it easier than ever for a variety of business owners—including non-technical marketing staff—to quickly create beautiful and robust mobile apps.
App assembly systems like Kurogo Publisher empower marketing staff to create mobile apps for trade shows form scratch, without IT assistance. Marketing can create and maintain the app, as well as update content in real-time without requiring resubmission to the app stores.
Advanced features, like Push Notifications, Banner Messages, or Personas are all included and easy to use in platforms like Kurogo Publisher.
A Real Life Example
Modo Labs’ marketing team recently created a Company Overview app with information about our products, a customer highlight list, links to our white papers and case studies, our blog feed, and a demonstration request form. Instead of creating multiple apps for different trade shows, the marketing team created one app with Personas for two very different trade shows: EDUCAUSE 2015 and the 2015 CoreNet Global Summit. These Personas featured specific show information, such as indoor maps with our booth locations, details on conference sessions, and raffle entry forms. They also included fully functional demo versions of our campus app for attendees to try out on their own.
The app also served as an important communication vehicle during the shows. Marketing staff were able to easily keep attendees informed of upcoming sessions and presentations by sending Push Notifications reminders with time and location details.
Each attendee who downloaded the app left with a dynamic reminder on their phone of their visit with Modo Labs, and can continue to easily access important information about the company. This app experience can be continually updated by marketing staff in real-time with no resubmissions to the app stores.
Marketing teams know how important it is to make an impact on trade show attendees, and ensure they are excited and informed about your company and products. As we shift into an increasingly paperless digital world, you can set your company apart by giving attendees everything they need to know on the device they use all day long. Additional features intrinsic to smart device technology can be leveraged even beyond what we’ve discussed in this article—Push Notifications, advanced messaging, GPS geolocation and mapping technology, in-phone cameras, rich media such as videos, iBeacon technology, and more—giving you endless creative options for promotion. Creating a marketing app is not only easier than ever, but it will definitely help you stand out from the printed brochures getting tossed into that giveaway bag.BACK TO BLOG