Digital marketing can help businesses maximise their return on investment (ROI) at trade shows, it has been claimed. Writing for Crain's Cleveland Business, Fathom's online advertising specialist J.J. Anderson explained how the internet can be used to companies' advantage and complement their exhibition strategies.

He claimed that, very often, manufacturers "lag behind" in the digital landscapes, with relatively few fully harnessing the power of online advertising. Anderson offered the view that this is a high-potential area for such companies, providing they are willing to investigate the use of web-based marketing tools.

His first tip is to use pay-per-click advertising to bid on trade show-related search queries. In theory, this allows firms to show an advertisement every time a web user searches online for a trade show they are attending. "Because most people learn more about and sign up to attend trade shows online, you’ll dramatically boost your booth’s and your company’s visibility to trade show attendees," Anderson claimed.

Another option for businesses is to engage with trade show attendees via Twitter and LinkedIn, with a view to creating deeper personal connections. The writer said this is "one of the best ways" to stay in contact with consumers, as all you need to find them is their name. Anderson urged businesses to follow trade show attendees on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. "Most trade shows have a Twitter hashtag that you can utilise in your tweets to interact with fellow exhibitors and attendees throughout the trade show," he told the news provider.

Thirdly, Anderson called on businesses to take advantage of marketing opportunities offered by trade shows themselves. He explained that the majority of trade shows collect attendee contact information and this data is available to exhibitors at a price. "This contact information can then be entered into your email marketing and/or marketing automation system for future nurturing," Anderson noted. He claimed the extra cost is almost always worth it in terms of additional ROI.