Trade Show Marketing for Manufacturers: Power Your Trade Show With HubSpot

We’ve been going to trade shows since fishbowls, raffle tickets, and QR codes were cutting-edge. Things have changed a bit since then, and today’s digital marketing tools can help companies in every industry take things up a notch and get a better return on their trade show investment.

And trade shows are an investment – especially when considering the cost of your booth space, designing and constructing your exhibit, travel and hotel for your team, and your marketing efforts. To prove ROI, you need a plan and a few tools.

Recently, Lake One has helped several manufacturing companies plan their trade show marketing campaigns by putting HubSpot’s marketing software to the test. Here we share some of what we learned and offer tips on how to use HubSpot’s capabilities to improve trade show marketing for manufacturers.

Image of a manufacturing trade show
Source: Damotech

Trade Show Marketing for Manufacturers at Every Stage

Pre-Show: define your targets, create demand, solidify your schedule

Just because a lead is in your database doesn’t mean they care you’re headed to a trade show. HubSpot’s unified data helps you get more intentional and targeted in your pre-show marketing efforts.

Start by defining your goals. Are you exhibiting? Sponsoring an event? Speaking on a panel? Each of your answers takes you down a decision tree of potential HubSpot uses. For example:  

  • An automated social media outreach campaign to key accounts
  • A show-specific landing page backed with keyword advertising
  • A geofencing campaign that targets at-event mobile devices and drives them to your booth for a demo

When your approach is targeted – and includes a clear and strong call to action – you’re more likely to generate excitement, drive demand and fully book your calendar long before you leave for the airport.  

Screenshot of Geo Targeting for a Manufacturing Trade Show

At the show: strengthen connections, capture data, advance priorities

You’ve arrived at your trade show with comfortable shoes and a full schedule. Now HubSpot and its ecosystem of tools can support your goals in a variety of ways:  

  • If you’re an exhibitor, this could mean scanning badges and capturing leads
  • If you’re an event sponsor, this might be running an onsite contest
  • If you’re hosting a party, it may include a social media campaign to generate buzz

And you can support broader goals, too. (Because while your sales team is there to meet leads and prospects, your executives want to meet new channel partners or distributors, and your R&D team wants to meet potential vendors.)

HubSpot can help everyone on your team stay focused and organized onsite, knowing they’ll return to unified and actionable data from the show.  

Post-show: analyze details, target follow-ups, report results

Your team doesn’t have to settle for bland, post-event email blasts. Instead, put all your strategic decisions, pre-planning, and targeting efforts to good use. With HubSpot, you can build targeted follow-up campaigns that capitalize on that post-show buzz and engage leads and prospects effectively. For example:

  • New lead: If someone stopped by your booth, follow up within 72 hours and offer them something of value – like an email with three event takeaways or an ebook. This keeps things low-pressure and doesn’t assume they’re interested in what you offer. If the lead checks out your resource, then it’s time to ask for a meeting. 
  • Highly engaged prospect: Because your prospect is already in HubSpot, you can see that they clicked on a social ad, visited your website, downloaded a whitepaper, read several blog posts, and then booked a booth visit at the show. Offer this prospect something special, like a personalized email or a collection of tailored gifts to choose from.

HubSpot tools make this kind of targeted follow-up possible and allow you to track attribution – both of which are necessary to report on your show’s effectiveness.

Start small, build from there

Our best advice for manufacturers that want to use HubSpot or another CRM to maximize their trade show participation is to keep it simple. Can you design a complex and targeted outreach strategy using HubSpot? Sure. But that doesn’t mean you have to use every feature available. Start small and build from there. For example:

  • Create a booking link for the show to eliminate email back-and-forth and make it easy for people to schedule time with you.
  • Test a new lead capture approach, like using an iPad and a simple form to collect information. Your sales team will thank you.
  • Pilot HubSpot with a portion of your team rather than asking everyone to implement the tool simultaneously.  

Implementing a trade show marketing campaign before today’s digital marketing tools was incredibly challenging – lots of manual work with few provable outcomes. 

In contrast, the Lake One team is seeing great success with HubSpot and its ecosystem of tools. Once set up, the platform is easy to use and includes various reporting options that make ROI clear.

Manufacturing trade show HubSpot meeting link screenshot

We Got You- We Can Guide Trade Show Marketing for Manufacturers

If you’ve considered adding HubSpot to your trade show marketing plans, we’re happy to help you brainstorm ideas or assess your options. Reach out!