Monday, June 6, 2011

How to use Microsites to Increase Booth Traffic at Trade Shows

One of the most successful "pre-show" marketing campaigns I ever executed included a show-specific microsite and a direct mail postcard.

For those of you who don't know what a microsite is - the best explanation I can provide is that it is a secondary, topic, event, or keyword specific website that lives completely outside of your main website. A good example of this is our "trade show display rental" microsite. Our main web address is ( www.cdsdisplays.com ) but we also have several additional websites that are technically "microsites." One of them is ( www.tradeshowdisplayrentals.net ) this is a keyword specific microsite that shows up on the first page of Google when someone specifically searches for "trade show display rentals." Another one we use for our business is ( www.expandproducts.com ) We are a dealer for Expand and the microsite allows us to focus on their product line and also comes in on the first page of Google.

This particular "pre-show campaign" included a product specific microsite that housed a video demo of the new product launch that was to be showcased at the upcoming industry trade show. This was for the medical device market. In order to create buzz before the show and additional traffic at the booth, we created a contest with a laptop giveaway.

A postcard was sent to pre-registered attendees that provided teaser information about the new product launch and drove traffic to the microsite with a contest promotion. Once at the microsite attendees could enter to win the laptop. Of course the entry form included some pre-qualifying questions and asked if the visitor would like to schedule a meeting during the event.

Approximately 3,000 postcards were mailed and the site received 1,800 visitors which is by far the highest response rate we have ever seen from a single postcard mailing.

Surprisingly only half of the visitors entered the contest, but of the nearly 900 who did enter 22 of them also scheduled an appointment for a one-on-one meeting at the show and 16 of the 22 actually showed up and met.

I don't know about you, but anytime you can have 16 pre-qualified, interested party meetings scheduled at your booth 30 days before a show from a single postcard and microsite you are off to a great show.

In addition to the microsite response, bringing the postcard to the booth would also enter you in the laptop giveaway and over 300 attendees showed up at the booth with the postcard. This pre-show marketing campaign was one of the most successful that we have seen and the microsite was the anchor in its success.