I attended a great trade show, but overzealous exhibitors nearly pushed me away.
In the weeks leading up to the show, I received a barrage of pre-show exhibitor emails. They lacked relevance and made me wonder if this show fit my needs.
In a cab from the airport with a fellow attendee I asked, “What did you think of all those exhibitor emails?”
His response was clear. I wasn’t the only one bothered by these emails. He was even more frustrated than I was.
As I scan through the dozens of exhibitor emails from that show, here are a few that failed right out of the gate with their subject line:
- Can’t wait to see you!
A bit too chummy for someone I’ve never met..who works for a company I’ve never heard of…don’t you think?
- Visit us at booth #123…
A variation on this theme was used most often. Unfortunately, most failed to give even a hint at a compelling reason for why I should want to visit their booth.
- Come see us at booth #123 and win a [INSERT PRIZE here]
Slightly better in that there’s a WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). But do decision makers and influencers attend trade shows to enter drawings and win prizes? You might generate booth traffic with that message, but I’ll bet it’s not the right traffic.
Generic Email Blasts Push Buyers Away
Not only should your exhibitors stop doing this. You need to stop them from harming themselves and your show.
These moves are annoying! Some even alienate the true-blue, loyal attendees with active purchasing needs.
Generic message blasts are prompting many attendees to register for your show using non-company email addresses (e.g., hotmail, yahoo, etc.). Many open these accounts as “catch bins” for trade show spam that can be removed with a single click.
As I watched this email downward spiral play out, there’s another interesting trend that emerged. Often, the biggest email offenders had little or no content in their exhibitor profile. They’re relying on outdated “push” email tactics, while a growing number of attendees prefer to “pull” in what they need, when they need it.
Event mobile apps are sparking more/better exchanges at conferences and trade shows, be that attendee-to-attendee, exhibitor-to-attendee, speaker-to-attendee, and so on.
Pre-Show Marketing Tips
Here are a few exhibitor tips to share that can improve their pre-show marketing efforts:
1.Where’s The Beefy Profile?
Beef up your exhibitor profile with thoughtful content, smart keywords and messages. Show attendees you know your stuff and can help them improve.
2. All On Board!
Send enough salespeople to cover your booth and attend education sessions at the same time. That’s often where the best conversations unfold and new business opportunities are revealed. Do this well and these people will flock to your booth to learn more about how you can help them solve their problems.
3. Do Your Homework.
Insist that your sales team invests time before the show to reach out to their contacts and personally invite them to the show. You can start with a short, compelling email message template, but customize it so the person on the receiving end feels special. “Hey Bill, we’ll be at the ABC Show — would love to continue our conversation there.”
4. You’re A Solutions Provider Not A Benefits And Features Master.
Stop product peddling and start digging into problems. Invest in smart banner ads on the mobile app that speak to problems you can help attendees solve.
5. Get Social.
Contribute meaningful insight on relevant social media channels before, during and after the event to grow more/better relationships with buyers.
Raise The Pre-Show Marketing Bar
Help your exhibitors raise their pre-show marketing game, particularly in contributing valuable content that’s valued by your attendees. As they improve, you improve!
Unfortunately, those spammy emails are sticky–in the wrong way. They’re having a negative impact on the perceived value of your great show.
Adapted from Donna’s Meeting Innovation post on Cvent’s Event Planning blog. ©2013.
Your turn: What exhibitor tips would you recommend adding to this list?