Serious trade show attendees make a list of their planned trade show booth stops before ever arriving on the show floor. Serious exhibitors use pre-show marketing to get on those lists. By creating a compelling draw – a new product introduction, product demonstration, educational presentation, show discount or relevant contest – visiting your trade show exhibit becomes a can’t-miss appointment.
But, how do you get your message to your audience when they’re making their list? It depends upon your goals.
If your goal is to create widespread awareness, be sure to include the show name, location, dates and booth number in your pre-show advertising campaign. An ad in the pre-show guide will also get you in front of attendees. If your budget allows, check out visible opportunities on the show website and smart phone app, if they offer one.
You can also purchase the show’s attendee list (last year’s and this year’s so you get the broadest spectrum of those likely to attend the show – even late registrants) and use direct mail, email or a combination to put your message into the hands of attendees several weeks before the show.
Sponsorships offered by the show help exhibitors reach every participant. The show may sell ads on email alerts, confirmations and reminders to attendees. Placing your ad on hotel key cards is an expensive option, but it gives you one more chance to make the list by putting your message in the hands of attendees as soon as they arrive to the show city.
Got a new product or service? Submit a news release announcing the introduction to your industry’s trade media, free Internet news distribution services, bloggers who cover your industry and on your own website. If it’s really unique, pitch the story to the most appropriate publication. Be sure to include the show name, dates and your booth number in your release so people know where to see the product.
Afraid you might be overwhelmed by attendees who aren’t prospects? A product or service discount, free trial or contest offering your product as a prize will help prospects self-select. After all, who’s going to enter a contest for a peristaltic metering pump, for example, if they don’t need a peristaltic metering pump?
If you haven’t used pre-show marketing, what’s been stopping you? If you have, what approaches have been the most successful? Let us know in the comments.
From setting goals to execution to measuring results, the Creating Effective Trade Show Promotions guide book will assist you along the way. Click here to request your free copy that will help get crowds into your booth.
About the Author: As Marketing Communications Manager for Skyline Exhibits Iowa | Nebraska, Mark True has earned a reputation as a brand warrior by providing years of candid, brand-based communications advice in marketing firms and corporate settings alike. He has organized and implemented trade show strategies, so he knows their value in delivering a purposeful, consistent and authentic brand experience with Iowa and Nebraska trade show displays.