SEO (search engine optimization) is a facet of digital marketing, while exhibiting at a trade show is a method of offline marketing. SEO can be an invaluable to the promotion of your upcoming event and offer a way to improve your website’s ranking due to the benefit of link building via social media. Here’s how to market your company for your next trade show appearance by building links back to your website and drive visitors to both your exhibit booth and your website.
Before the Trade Show
One of the biggest tools in maximizing your SEO benefits for your upcoming trade show is to incorporate social media into your marketing plans. From generating buzz, to connecting with influencers and getting media exposure (you are using social media to connect with members of the media who attending the event?), you will maximize the opportunity for what you create to be shared and linked to.
You can announce your involvement in targeted trade shows through your social media channels, writing blog posts and even utilizing online press release distribution. These all generate links back to your site.
Blog posts should be written with SEO in mind. Ensure that your posts are written for topics that are related to the show, not stuffed with keywords. Provide value in the post; educate, inform and invite people.
What to share:
- Information about the trade show
- Information about your company
- Why you are exhibiting at the event
- What you will be doing at the event
- Who from your company will be there
- Where you will be on the trade show floor – Include your booth number
Don’t forget to encourage people to come visit you.
Pro Tip: Find ways to gain additional exposure that can result in links back to your site. Become a guest author at website(s) related to your business and niche. Be a speaker. Find out from the trade show if there are speaker or presentation opportunities. Not only does this increase the visibility of yourself and your company, it provides people with a chance to learn about you and share your content. Often you will get a link from the trade show’s website when they put up your bio or feature you on their speaker panel or presentation pages.
During the Trade Show
It’s imperative to use social media while you’re exhibiting. Social media gives you the opportunity to share what’s happening, but it also has the ability to drive traffic to your website.
- Twitter: In addition to using the trade show designated hashtag to be found by others, engage with people. Reply to tweets and make connections.
- Live Streaming: Use apps like Periscope or Meerkat to capture video footage of what’s happening at the show. These can be saved for use later. There is even app called Capture for video for YouTube.
- Facebook: Post pictures of what’s happening at the show and upload videos.
- YouTube: Those short video clips can be uploaded from your smartphone with well written video descriptions (to rank) in the SERPs (search engine results page) with a link back to your website in the description.
Pro Tip: If you can have one person at your booth solely responsible for being “all things social media,” this will allow the rest of your team to stay focused on connecting with visitors, instead of everyone on their smartphones. Lastly, don’t forget to take notes about what happened each day at your trade show booth.
After the Trade Show
Once the trade show is over, there is much available to maximize the time and money spent and converts it into SEO benefits for your website. Those notes taken during the trade show become the blog posts that recap your experience there.
All this great content created during the show doesn’t have to be shared immediately. You can have a plan in place to regularly publish fresh content over a couple of months.
Pro Tip: Use a site like Hootsuite to schedule out the content days, weeks and months in advance to your social media channels.
Remember that each piece you create needs to have the SEO basics like keywords in the content and anchor text links.
Many people struggle with ideas for content and link building. Trade shows have ample opportunities to generate content topics. As long as what you create is high quality, interesting and provides value, people will share it. That helps build links back to your site and increase the social signals your brand and website generates. All of that contributes to your SEO.
With a little planning in advance, a trade show can become a valuable marketing channel that develops SEO benefits for your website, beyond the couple of days exhibiting at the trade show.
Timothy Carter is a Digital Marketing Consultant and is the Digital Marketing Manager for the trade show display manufacturer, Nimlok Displays. Timothy is also a featured writer at sites like TSNN, MarketingLand.com, SmallBizTrends.com, Exhibit City News, Business.com and the American Marketing Association.