Trade shows offer a unique way to connect with your target audience for a little face-to-face time. Businesses in a range of industries including technology, construction, electronics, health & wellness, medical, business services, entertainment, etc. use trade events as a part of their overall marketing strategy. They provide an incredible opportunity to influence decision makers during a quick, in-person presentation or conversation.

There’s really nothing like it today. Businesses of any size get to experience exposure to a large number of potential customers with the ability to interact with them personally. Customer engagement is at its highest when attendees and company representatives have some time to begin communicating and building relationships.

Many companies understand that in order for this to happen there are a few key trade show aspects they need to have in place – a well-designed display and booth that grabs attendees’ attention, great giveaways, a drawing or contest and marketing collateral. If they do this well, they’ll leave a lasting impression that can produce results months down the road.

And while trade shows are undoubtedly valuable, companies still struggle to deliver ROI. According to a Regalix B2B Event Marketing Survey Report, 40 percent of marketers state a lack of conversion-optimized event marketing strategies is their biggest hurdle.

With average exhibit space costs anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 per event, a display going from $2,500 to $5,000, marketing materials/promotions and giveaways adding another $3,000 your investment is significant. Clearly companies need to maximize their presence. They can actually begin accomplishing this prior to ever attending the event.

A key strategy worth implementing is cross-channel event marketing. Three preshow tactics in particular can help produce solid leads at your next industry show. Get ready to see your sales team smiling.

Create impactful messaging. To drive booth traffic and engagement, craft creative calls to action that can be used in emails, a microsite, blog posts, tweets, and all your communications about the event. Describe how your products and services can help prospective customers and the value they’ll receive by visiting your booth.

Develop an event microsite. Create relevant content for an event you will be exhibiting at in the future to increase brand awareness and promote attendance. The microsite should include all the essentials about the trade show, booth location and promotions. Target copy to your audience and include calls to action that will get potential attendees to interact with your brand.

Generate buzz with event-related social posts. Utilize social platforms to talk about what you will be featuring at the event. Write blog posts on topics about event sessions, speakers, breakout sessions, etc. Consider using LinkedIn to promote posts as sponsored content to garner more interest in visiting your booth. Also, post to Facebook and Twitter to reach different audiences and emphasize event promotions.

These tactics are all about spreading the word in advance of the event. You’ll generate an active and receptive audience before the show that in turn can increase high-quality interactions during the event. Event marketing that involves a preshow strategy has the ability to help companies produce a positive ROI.