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5 Tips for Powerful Pre-show Marketing Before Events

7 Jan, 2013 By: Kendall Tucker, Evolved Office imageSource

Tradeshows and in-house events should be anything but ordinary.

The New Year has arrived and with it comes a new season of trade shows and local events to prepare for. Whether you’re a vendor exhibiting at industry expos such as ITEX & the BTA, or you’re a dealer looking to draw prospects to your local events, pre-marketing needs to be a big part of your branding strategy – and the time to start planning is now.

For vendors, national and regional tradeshows provide unique sales opportunities that help in generating new leads, assessing the competition, and improving brand awareness. For dealers, in-house events are essential in attracting local prospects and building a stronger customer base – think of small, lunch-and-learn events that allow dealers to interact with your prospects on a personal level. And while large tradeshows have very different functions and dynamics than smaller, dealer-driven events, they both require advanced planning and share many of the same pre-marketing strategies required to maximize RIO and ensure ultimate success.

Here are five great pre-marketing strategies that will help ensure that your tradeshow or in-house event investments of time and money pay off by translating into better leads, brand awareness, and more closed deals.

Get the word out with email

Prepare an eye-catching email inviting your contacts to attend your next event or meet you at a tradeshow – but don’t overdo it. One or two emails in the month prior will do the trick. Include information on any special promotions or prize giveaways you’ll be offering at the event. You can also send out a reminder email a day or two before the event with last-minutes event details that might be helpful to attendees – directions to your location for in-house events, or a layout of the show floor highlighting your booth’s location for a tradeshow.

Schedule one-on-one meetings in advance

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), “Seventy-six percent of trade show attendees rate face-to-face meetings as extremely important in choosing new products and making lasting connections.” So, contact as many attendees as you can before a tradeshow and invite them to schedule a quick one-on-one meeting with you during the show. To encourage prospects to agree to a meeting in advance, offer them an incentive, like 15 percent of your products or services if they sign up at the show. For local dealer events, make sure to have enough reps available to spend some one-on-one time with each attendee to capitalize on in-person meetings that are often so effective in closing deals.

Utilize your sales team in advance

Your sales team talks to customers and prospects on a daily basis, so why not use them to generate buzz about upcoming shows or events in the weeks and months beforehand? Encourage your sales team to mention something about your next event or tradeshow on every call. This is possibly one of the best ways to get your customers and prospects excited about meeting you and putting a face to a name.

Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.

It’s time to jump on the Twitter bandwagon (if you’re not already) and recognize that your clients and prospects use this popular social media site as a primary way to stay connected. For tradeshow marketing, be sure to send out tweets in the weeks and days leading up to a show to announce any show specials, and tweet out updates on where your booth will be located and offer incentives or prizes for people who stop by. Check with event management to see if they have created hash tags specifically for the event, and if so, use them as often as possible so you can target the tradeshow attendees. For private, lunch-and-learn events, send out tweets that encourage registrations and highlight any bonuses that might entice busy professionals to attend – think prize giveaways, catered food and drinks, or special guest speakers.

Get Creative

Tradeshows and in-house events should be anything but ordinary. Remember that people have to take time out of their busy work days to attend these events, and they are expecting to be wowed! So this year, use your creative license to drive prospects to your private events or tradeshow booth by generating excitement early on. For tradeshows, try organizing a special promotion that gets show attendees involved. Send hot leads a specially designed event t-shirts and let them know you’ll be handing out a prize every hour to the first person you see wearing one on the show floor. This will not only generate buzz for your brand when people start asking why everyone is wearing your logo around, but it will drive significantly more traffic to your booth. For local events, add an element of fun to your standard routine. Try hosting your next event at a local golf course and invite attendees to join you for a round after your presentation. They will enjoy the free play, and you will benefit from spending a few extra hours pitching ideas to your prospects.

Need help with your pre-marketing for an upcoming tradeshow or in-house event? Contact a capable marketing expert or firm for further assistance in developing a comprehensive Event Marketing Package that makes it nearly effortless for dealers and vendors to successfully market their events ahead of time. Consider Evolved Office, a leader in professional marketing that can provide these targeted services.

About the Author: Kendall Tucker, Evolved Office

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