IT Services Trade Show Marketing: 3 Tips To Maximize Your Investment

Robin Robins IT Marketing, MSP Marketing, Technology Marketing

t-services-trade-show-marketing-tipsIf you’re looking for quick list building and lead generation for your IT services, then adding strategically targeted trade show marketing is a must.

Benefits Of Trade Show Marketing

On the surface, purchasing a booth or exhibit at a trade show might seem like a huge investment. You’re putting thousands of dollars on the line with hopes to at least break even in trade show-generated sales.

But trade shows present unique advantages that aren’t immediately evident. Here are some major benefits of using trade shows to market your IT services:

Reduced Sales Barriers To Accelerate Relationships

For starters, trade shows remove the barriers of email, voicemail, gatekeepers and distractions from your path.

Trade show attendees invested in the event because they’re eager to learn about the space. Getting a booth or exhibit puts you in front of the right audience in the right mentality.

Prospects are walking around, easily approached and in a more relaxed mindset than at the office. I often hear clients say they like having vendors at our shows so they can have conversations they otherwise put off, block and ignore once back at home base.

Market Exposure To Test And Improve Your Offering

Getting real audience feedback is invaluable. And trade shows allow you to gauge a particular market’s interest in your services and fine-tune your messaging to hit home with the people who matter most to your business.

At my Boot Camp trade show this year, a vendor was unable to get people to attend their speaking spot. The simple truth is, they’re NOT known as a channel-friendly company and sold exclusively to home users for years. Now they’re trying to break into the channel and B2B business, and it won’t be easy.

They were right to sponsor our event where they could have productive conversations with the very audience they need to win over. But the market gave them direct, blunt and obvious feedback on their obstacles. If they take that onboard and revise their messaging and approach and stay the course of rebranding, our event will be a very productive investment.

However, if they choose to be disappointed and grumpy about the cool response, they’ve learned and profited nothing.

Networking Opportunities To Develop Strategic Partnerships

Another major benefit of trade show marketing is finding other strategic partners. All sponsors are there to sell to the same audience. They might be fantastic joint venture partners for other events, marketing and advertising (perhaps even a joint seminar OR as a sponsor to one of YOUR events).

Be sure to take time to engage with them during downtime, when everyone else is in session. One of my clients actually brings a little canvassing “goodie” bag to give to fellow exhibitors that includes breath mints, hand sanitizer, a Starbucks gift card and a few other sundry items. Many other members have taken one of the sales-letter themes I’ve created and used it as the basis for their booth.

For instance, one client created a “sitting duck”-themed booth to sell cybersecurity services based on one of my packaged IT services campaigns. The client even allowed attendees to shoot the ducks with a kids’ foam-pellet gun to win prizes and gave away copies of his book (and of course little ducks with a promotion tied to their neck.) All very well done.

Of course, trade show marketing creates ample opportunity for your IT services business to both learn, generate leads and sales and develop profitable partnerships. But only if you make an effort to stand out and follow the example of other successful trade show marketers.

Just don’t forget: Fast, persistent follow-up immediately after the show ends is critical to turning opportunities into real value.

Want more IT services marketing ideas? Check out my Technology Marketing Toolkit, a library of resources, marketing campaigns and coaching calls you can implement today.