(photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann)

If you’re exhibiting at drupa, inbound marketing tools such as blogs, SEO-optimised content and LinkedIn campaigns will be crucial for attracting visitors and generating sales leads. Here’s how…

 

In my first blog about pre-show promotions, I explained how exhibitors can use ‘outbound’ techniques like media relations to create a buzz among wide audiences. Now, in this second piece, I will show how to use ‘inbound’ digital marketing tools to help buyers find you.

 

Key elements of an inbound marketing campaign for drupa

Visitors to drupa will be researching online – to find stands of potential suppliers they want to meet. After the drupa.com exhibitor’s list, vendor websites will be the first port of call, and first impressions matter. As a minimum, your company’s website should be easily navigable and rich with informative content that helps buyers in their decision-making. But there’s more.

In this article, I will cover four digital marketing techniques to help you make drupa a success – with fuller explanations below:

  • Website optimisation and SEO
  • Blogs – provide problem-solving content on your website
  • Social media – run targeted campaigns on LinkedIn and join discussion groups to generate leads
  • Email marketing – rekindle relationships with previous visitors and reconnect with customers

 

Competition to attract visitors will be intense – so power up your marketing activities now! (Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann)

Tip #1: Update your website and e-mail signature

This is action #1 because some of this is ‘low hanging fruit.’ Make sure you’re promoting drupa on your website and review your website pages to make sure they are searchable:

  • Advertise your participation at drupa with a banner on your website’s home page, including dates and stand location.
  • Make sure your website is up-to-date with live new product pages.
  • Create a digital media-kit on your website: for more detailed advice on digital and hard copy media kits, see my blog on press relations preparations for the show)
  • Ensure content is optimised for web searches (known as ‘search engine optimisation’ or SEO). Your website builder can help with this.
  • Create a ‘save the date’ trade show banner for your email sign-offs, with stand details and show dates

 

Tip #2: Blog to promote thought leadership

Using your company website to publish informative, problem-solving blogs, you can reach buyers directly, and exactly when they are searching for you. That makes blogging an effective way of growing your business. As Herman Krabbendam, head of Arnhem (Netherlands)-based website and branding agency Vuurwerk, points out, blogs are great marketing tools. They attract potential customers, position the writer as an authority or ‘thought leader’ and provide long-term value, being searchable, sharable, updatable and potentially relevant for years.

 

The runup to a major show like drupa is a good time to start, because the event gives you plenty of ideas for topics to share with your readers. Here are some ideas to get you going:

What to write about in a pre-show blog

  • A preview of what readers can expect at your stand: what’s new? Give a preview of any demonstrations or presentations at the booth.
  • Are you promoting a new technology? The explain what problem it solves – and whose, how it works, and what value it brings.
  • Provide answers to your customers’ common questions or challenges: articulating a buyer’s ‘pain-point’ and how to solve it is an effective way of positioning your company as thought-leaders and experts in their field.
  • What trends are you seeing, and why do they matter to your customers? How does your stand offering help printers adapt to these trends and thrive?
  • A customer case study: case studies are powerful ways to convert sales. Beware, they can take longer to bring to publication as you depend on the customer’s willingness and schedule. Learn more about how to convince customers to do case studies.

If you are convinced about blogging, there are a few provisos (which I will write more about later). Know your current and prospective customers. Your sales and support teams can help you, though research to create buyer personas is eventually needed. Blogging is a long-term commitment that requires planning and time. That said, it’s fine to get started without expecting perfection from the beginning: analytical tools will help you improve over time.

 

What can you add to the discussion on key issues like sustainability and automation? (Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann)

Tip #3: Engage with buyers on social media (LinkedIn)

LinkedIn stands among social media platforms for its reach, networking opportunities and marketing tools. Here are some actions to take for your company’s channel:

Plan a series of posts:

  • Announce your involvement early, two to three months before the show. Make it upbeat!
  • Then plan to share blog and news content that’s valuable to readers. As I mentioned above, topics can be trends, what makes your stand unmissable, why you’re looking forward to drupa.
  • Consider a short video – an interview with the CEO, a sneak preview of the stand

Tips for boosting post engagement and reach

  • Include a call to action on all posts: “Register now” “Hit the link to schedule an appointment”, and so on.
  • Use hashtags to boost your audience, bringing you to the attention of searchers who might not be familiar with your brand. Use the hashtag of the show organiser, your brand, plus those associated with your core product offering, who it’s for and the problem it solves.
  • Encourage staff to like, share and comment
  • Engage promptly with comments

Join drupa discussion groups

  • Keep a look out for drupa discussion groups and join them as early as possible – they may be run by the event organisers, or for specific industry sectors, regions and language groups. Focus on sharing insight and expertise – not making promotional posts about your products.

LinkedIn Advertising

Consider a targeted ad campaign through LinkedIn Ads. You’ll need to have a LinkedIn Campaign Manager account to begin. You can choose your objective, target your campaign according to over 20 audience attribute categories, select format, budget, and schedule, and measure results using the program.

 

After the drupa exhibitors’ list, the vendor’s website is the first port of call for visitors to the show: is your website helping them in their decision-making?

Tip #4: Coordinate E-mail marketing with other digital activities

Though strictly outbound, pre-show e-mail marketing requires organisation and co-ordination with other digital marketing activities.

If you haven’t already, now is the time create an e-mail calendar: tailored, personalised messaging is the way to show your interest in your subscribers. To previous stand visitors, it’s an opportunity to rekindle the relationship. In messaging existing customers, say how much you’re looking forward to catching up and learning about their experiences with your technology.

 

What to say in your e-mail

  • Exhibit highlights of new products, demonstrations – a quick summary with a link to your news release or show landing page.
  • Invitation and reminder to “Register now!”.
  • Alerts to new content on your website, such as a blog, downloadable white paper. Give some context, highlighting why you’ve chosen to publish this now, for example by referring to a recent news development.
  • Share recommendations about an inspiring drupa Cube conference talk that your readers shouldn’t miss. Remember: being helpful and insightful is key to building relationships!
  • Introduction of your team who will be on the stand
  • Include a call to action – e.g. to book an appointment or demonstration.

Comply with privacy laws!

Ensure you comply with privacy laws when collecting and using email addresses. E.g. if you hold and send information to email addresses in the EU, then you must comply with GDPR. There are heavy penalties for non-compliance: seek legal counsel if in doubt.

A word on measuring marketing campaign results…

Digital marketing allows you to measure the success of your campaign. Tools such as Google Analytics allow you to trace where visitors to your website come from, how long they stay – and when they leave. Your website provider will be able to help you with analytics and using the data to make improvements to your site and messaging.

For further support and information

Finally – I wish you a successful show. If your company needs advice or support with website content writing, planning, analytics, editorials and media relations, then Tippetts and Partners together with Vuurwerk can help. Contact adrian@adriantippetts.com for more information!