For some organizations, there's no business like tradeshow business. But diversifying your marketing efforts leads to better results. Not everyone goes to a tradeshow or has a travel budget for attending. So what are the alternatives to tradeshow marketing?

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Besides tradeshows, what's the best bang for your bucks?

We are in a global business-to-business market, and traditionally we spend almost 75 percent of our budget on tradeshows. At these shows, we show and demonstrate our equipment on 100+ square meters. We want to find alternatives that deliver the same branding and relationship-building vehicle, as this is what our sales force values most. To reach prospects, what alternatives to tradeshows do you suggest?

—Evan, Manager

Other than phone calls to follow up with tradeshow attendees, marketers can grow the relationship with clients using other means for staying in touch. Two ways to get the most out of your tradeshow marketing efforts are to...

  1. Take advantage of your Web site
  2. Send email newsletters

Also, the article "For Best Marketing Results" provides other avenues for building relationships.

Take advantage of your Web site

With all the interactive tools and applications available today, companies can use their Web sites to demonstrate products and incorporate detailed product or service descriptions, benefits, and other information that would be time consuming or not appropriate to bring up at a tradeshow.

Plus, providing attendees with a card that has your Web site and newsletter addresses can extend the relationship. Or have a sign-up sheet at any event, conference, or related venue so you can collect email and contact information. Then, you can follow up with an email pointing to the site and other resources. As a bonus, a regularly updated Web site attracts search engines, helping the site earn a high spot on the results pages—which is another way to get your company's name in the limelight.

Send email newsletters

Like Web sites, email newsletters enable companies to stay connected with prospects and continue to build the relationship. An email newsletter shouldn't be a sales sheet, it should give valuable information to your prospects while highlighting your company's expertise.

"Produce an e-newsletter that highlights your customers in a way that benefits them, your employees (particularly those who have customer contact), any new products or services you may have and tips that will make the customer's life easier or more productive (by using your product or service whenever possible but don't limit it to that)," says Lanier Cordell, president of Alpha Mare Productions.

Cordell also recommends integrating the Web site with the newsletter. "I would also post the tips on the Web site and email the short tips in between e-newsletter editions. Keep in mind that for newsletters to be most effective, they have to be produced on a regular, predictable schedule. If you want to produce one more often, make it a page or two and send it out weekly, with the tip taking priority," explains Cordell.

Web sites and email newsletters work well together. You might consider adding a blog or wiki, depending on your needs and how you would use them. Whatever you do, the point is to mix up your marketing programs and activities so they're seamless and help build a bigger audience.

Next Marketing Challenge: Can You Help?

Show me the numbers

We're a small company, and one of our challenges is creating metrics to help us ascertain how well our advertising and marketing efforts work. A few advertising campaigns we currently have in progress include a search-engine-results-page text ad, newspaper ad, email newsletter ad and an event sponsorship. What are the methods for measuring the effectiveness of an advertising campaign, and which is best?

—Marisol, Marketing Assistant

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Hank Stroll ( is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.