Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of research and consulting on exhibitor communications. While I’ve lived in and around shows for many years, in the past my focus has been more on revenue, lead management and ROI, and not so much on the service, hand holding and communication of confirmed exhibitors.
Most tradeshows have at least four exhibit segments:
- Anchor Exhibitors – occupying island booths and typically long-term loyal exhibitors
- In-Line Exhibitors – The little guys occupying the in-lines booths; includes some long-term loyal veterans
- New Exhibitors – companies that are new to your show and or exhibitors that have new primary contacts. These exhibitors aren’t familiar with how to fast-track and maximize the opportunities at your show. They need an on-boarding process.
- Booth Contacts – people who typically manage the logistics for the exhibiting company and may or may not share important information with onsite booth staff. These people may also be in the previous three segments.
Many shows appear to guide these exhibitor segments with a one-size fits all communication approach. They create one set of FAQ’s, one set of rules and one exhibit service kit (filled with 60 pages of forms and information that many don’t need).
Show organizers, and their suppliers, need to think hard about each of these exhibitor segments and the communication and service strategy that will help them succeed. Exhibitor bulletins, e-blasts, webinars and service deployment/deliverables should be designed to anticipate the needs of each of these primary groups.
Five Tweaks To Improve Exhibitor Communication
Here are five tweaks you can make to improve your exhibitor communication and service strategy.
1. Balance your communications
When planning your exhibitor bulletin communication strategy, try to limit the number of topics to five or so helpful points each week. Less is more. You’re better off sending more frequent communications than sending out a long list. When considering what to include think in terms of
- Logistics and deadlines
- Tips for success
- Special offers (up-selling opportunities) If you focus too much on up-selling, your open rates will decline.
2. Don’t penalize
Too often communications are sent to all exhibitors requesting information that they’ve already submitted. Revise your processes so that you only send reminders to those that have not responded. A good example of this is online profile. Reminders should only be sent to those that haven’t completed it yet.
3. Think customer service
Include your contact information everywhere. Don’t rely strictly on online FAQs. Shows that provide exceptional customer service and quick answers will have advantage over their automated competitors.
4. Improve relevancy
Think hard about your segmentation strategy for new, anchor and in-line. Challenge your suppliers to think about each segment’s needs for booth furnishings, housing, lead retrieval, drayage, etc. Design your webinars, exhibitor bulletins and website to make the inclusions map to their needs. Consider the IRS has a 1040EZ form for taxes as an example of segmentation. How can you apply that type of thinking and ease of use for the in-line or new exhibitors?
5. Beyond the booth contact
Be sure to map out a communication plan that can be sent directly to the booth personnel. You need to assume that the booth contact (gatekeeper) did not pass on your helpful tips. This especially applies to exhibitor best practices, social media, networking and appointment setting opportunities.
How are you designing your customer service around the primary types of exhibitors in your show? How do you ensure that your helpful information gets into the hands of the booth personnel?
Adapted from original post in TSNN.com written by Dave Lutz.