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Trade Shows Deliver ROI for BKA Content
Case study: How exhibiting at conferences like Search Marketing Expo - SMX yields new customers and enhanced brand.
BKA Content offers high-quality writing services for enterprise companies, small/medium businesses and SEO/Marketing agencies. It specializes in creating all kinds of content, including product descriptions, category pages, blog posts, press releases, social media posts, Web pages and SEO content.
What sets BKA Content apart in the market is that the company includes customized managed services with every order, and it creates dedicated writing teams around clients, rather than using automated systems. BKA Content writers are carefully vetted and rigorously trained, and their work is continuously checked for quality. BKA Content also differentiates itself because there is no minimum order, and there are no contracts or predefined packages. BKA Content prides itself on content a la carte at its best.
Founded in 2010, BKA Content had two marketing challenges to conquer as a young company:
- Find a cost-effective way to get in front of decision makers
- Make a name for itself with top tier clients, in order to propel the company to the next level
Opportunities and Expectations at SMX
Initially, trusted colleagues suggested that BKA Content exhibit at Search Marketing Expo – SMX as part of its marketing strategy. After checking out the quality and caliber of speakers, classes and marketing used to promote the show, BKA decided to make an investment and reserved a booth at the 2012 SMX Advanced in Seattle. BKA Content felt that Third Door Media, organizer of SMX, had clearly demonstrated its expertise in attracting high-level attendees to the expo hall through best-in-class theatre presentations, networking activities with drinks and refreshments, and well-timed class circuits.
“The SMX sales staff did a great job of answering our questions and we really felt like we were being set up for success.”
“They did a really good job of hand-holding us through our first tradeshow, giving us booth spot suggestions and data about the show, and getting us familiar with how the industry works,” says Drew Allen, VP of Sales for BKA Content, giving credit to the show organizers. They checked up with us multiple times before the show, and multiple times during to see how we felt about it and if we were having any issues. To this day, we still haven’t found another tradeshow circuit that has treated us better.”
“In the beginning, we really didn’t know what to expect,” says Allen. “It was our very first tradeshow and just pulling the trigger on getting a booth seemed like a success in-and-of itself. Because it was our first show, we didn’t have any set criteria (that I can remember) that would label it a success other than just paying off our costs of the show and then some.”
“Branding opportunities were just as valuable as the actual sales numbers to us back then. We felt that getting a shot at working with even 1 or 2 large, well-known companies from the show would be enough to consider the investment a success. To that end, I can say it was an absolute success,” Allen says. “We are still working with major clients that we met at our very first SMX show.”
Coming Up with a Game Plan for the Event
The company’s strategy for their first SMX show was to play up their strengths; they chose three factors that differentiated BKA Content from the competitors and then let the business model do the talking.
According to Allen, “the main challenges we faced at that first show were stylizing our booth message for our audience, planning our time and resources to make the most of the show’s opportunities, and then effectively following up with leads once we returned home. With how fast the industry moves, we saw the need to tailor our message to the latest algorithm/SEO updates that were on the table at that given time and making sure we were always relevant.”
Allen’s best advice to exhibitors: “Coming up with a game plan before each tradeshow and assigning responsibilities to the booth staff, will make a world of difference in getting the most out of your tradeshow experience.” He also recommends that new exhibitors to SMX become familiar with the agenda of the show. “Our tradeshow game plan has definitely changed throughout the years to take advantage of classes, after-show parties, meet and greets, social media, live blogging, booth giveaways, presentations and more, but that’s something that comes with time and experience.”
ROI of a Successful Trade Show: New Leads, New Clients
With so much going on during the two-day event, it’s difficult to pinpoint which aspect of the show helps drive ROI. “While we’ve always taken advantage of the classes,” said Allen, “I think, the first day of the Exhibition Hall really is the highlight of the show for BKA Content. We get a constant flow of foot traffic and the opportunity to network with other exhibitors during any slow periods. There’s an excitement in the air and people are legitimately interested in learning more about you and how you can help make their business more successful. We always feel like we we’re providing partnership opportunities to our leads, rather than just trying to make a sale.”
The size of the show works in exhibitors’ favor as well. “It is big enough that we have a lot of potential leads to talk to, but not so huge that we got lost in the masses of exhibitors,” and he continues, “it seems strange to say, but the size of the show really helps us a lot with branding and visibility.”
But the true value of the show for BKA Content and Allen is that the majority of attendees at SMX are decision makers. The caliber of the attendees “helps tremendously in getting face time and pitching our products and services to those who ultimately decide if they have a need for what we offer.”
He says “a lot of the time these people are ready to make purchases and if we follow up right after the show, we generally convert 7–10 leads into clients, per show. We see an average of around 100 new leads from each SMX show, and we’re still converting leads into new clients from meetings at SMX in prior years. Our ROI from attending SMX shows has proven to us that attending SMX shows year after year is a no-brainer.”
SMX Now a Key Element of BKA’s Marketing Plan
With consistent results like that since 2012, the SMX Series of tradeshows has become a key element of BKA Content’s marketing strategy for the foreseeable future. Allen says, “SMX really seems to be at the heart of the industry. When considering other shows, SMX always seemed to have a more attractive lineup of exhibitors, presenters and keynote speakers — the total package. They are affordable and seemed to offer the most value for the price of the show (whether it’s the scanners, extra marketing material, or just quality audience).”
“It seems like new shows keep popping up everywhere (everyone wants a piece of the pie, right?), but SMX has easily been the best mix of show content and qualified leads that we’ve experienced thus far,” says Allen. “We’ve tried a variety of shows and I can honestly say that SMX has treated us the best. We’ve always felt like they fight for our ability to brand ourselves (no turnkey booths — we HATE turnkey booths), they keep pricing affordable and they offer a lot of perks throughout the show to make it valuable. Whether it’s 30 second solution spotlights, theater presentation opportunities, booth scanners, drink cards, bag inserts or meter boards, SMX does all that they can to ensure you have a successful show as an exhibitor. The only thing we don’t like about the shows is the price of carpet, electricity, internet and basic furniture.”
Allen’s ultimate advice: “If you’re looking to make a name for yourself in the SEO/SEM/Internet Marketing industry then exhibiting at SMX is a must.”
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