April 24, 2014 by Donna Kastner
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:
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 They’re relying on outdated “push” email tactics, while a growing number of attendees prefer to “pull” in what they need, when they need it.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.
Here are a few exhibitor tips to share that can improve their pre-show marketing efforts:
Beef up your exhibitor profile with thoughtful content, smart keywords and messages. Show attendees you know your stuff and can help them improve.
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.
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.”
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.
Contribute meaningful insight on relevant social media channels before, during and after the event to grow more/better relationships with buyers.
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?
Filed Under: Sponsorship & Exhibits
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