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Trade Show Tips Series Part 1: Direct Marketing

12 Jan, 2015 By: Charlene Soucy, Questex Media Group

In this multi-part series over the next few weeks, we’ll share best practices and
tricks of the trade for maximizing your trade show experience.

By exhibiting at a trade show, you’ll be executing against a critical tactic in your marketing mix. One that while on its own can drive excellent results; however, paired with an effective direct marketing campaign can double, even triple the results of your overall exhibits investment.

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 76% of attendees plan a list of whom they’re going to visit before ever entering the convention center doors.  An additional survey conducted by CEIR and Deloitte & Touche reported that “those exhibitors who conducted a pre-show campaign raised by 46% their 'attraction efficiency'"- meaning the quality of the audience they were able to attract to their booths. Similarly, the conversion of booth visitors to qualified leads rose 50% when a pre-show promotion was used. These stats alone makes plain the power – and necessity – of pre-show exhibitor outreach.

Consider these activities to reach your customers and prospects before you even hit the show floor…

Share the Wealth"
Most organizers, if you are buying a booth, provide you with exhibitor guest passes and marketing materials to use to promote. Additionally, if you’re speaking or hosting a networking reception at the event, be sure to let them know – this is a great thought leadership and customer relationship builder opportunity.

Be Connected
Organizers also offer access via eblasts or pre-show advertising opportunities to reach the registered attendee list. You should conduct some outreach to them - or a segment of attendees that might be interested in you.

Act like a Local
While you're at it, make a substantial effort to contact and make appointments with your local clients, suppliers, or anyone you do business with in the geographic area of your show. It's a simple way to get face-time with folks you might not otherwise be able to sit down with.

Get Social
Increasingly, conferences create their own Twitter hash-tag, so participants can communicate with one another from the show floor. Exhibitors are using twitter too –gaining more attention for their booth or promoting special on-site offers.

Make it Happen:

  • Create a logo or banner ad that can be dropped into your website, e-mail, e-newsletters, invoices, letters, etc.
  • Create a microsite that describes your activities at the upcoming trade show. Populate it with your press releases, announcements, exhibit details, contact information, speaking schedule, testimonials from past events – whatever will inform or excite your customers and prospects.
  • Send out discount registration offers to the trade show via social media and email. Ask if the trade show has guest passes or customized codes assigned to exhibitors. Some events even promote guest pass contests for exhibitors
  • Send a letter plus a map of the exhibit hall, with your booth location highlighted
  • Offer a time-limited incentive, to create a sense of urgency. “The first 30 people to visit our booth will get a special prize!”
  • Advertise in pre-show issues of your industry trade publications and eNewsletters
  • Get personal! Send a personal letter from a senior executive at your firm. Include the dates and locations of your trade show activities, and explain why they should come. Use the executive’s personal letterhead stationery, and mail it first-class.

Are you exhibiting at ITEX? If so, don’t miss out on all of the marketing opportunities available:

What are you doing to promote your trade show presence? Comment here and let us know!


Ruth Stevens

About the Author: Charlene Soucy

Charlene Soucy, Marketing Director

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