Exhibitors can easily get into a routine with their trade show marketing, especially if they exhibit at many events and feel pressed for time. It becomes routine to check off the boxes on their to-do list and to move on to the list for the next upcoming event.
However, as show managers you can help your exhibitors adopt new and innovative marketing techniques to help them take their exhibit experience to the next level and see increased ROI and in turn boost the success of your event for all involved.
Often, exhibitors put all of their focus on what is happening during the event—the look of the booth, giveaways, presentations, products on display—and overlook the value of pre-show and post-show marketing. Online marketing, whether it is via email, social media, a blog, or the company website, can be a cost effective way to increase the success of onsite marketing efforts.
Today I will focus on pre-show marketing tools. Lead collection and attendee engagement does not have to wait until exhibitors are onsite and face-to-face with attendees. As the show manager you can incentivize your exhibitors to use pre-show lead collection tools. Whether this is through the use of a networking site like networkNow!, the Attendee Acquisition Widget for eBooth promotion, or a mobile app that allows attendees to request meetings with exhibitors, you can encourage your exhibitors to use these tools by sharing the positive results that past exhibitors have experienced with the tools. You can share these success stories in a blog post, on social media with an infographic or chart, and in your exhibitor newsletter. For example in a2z’s latest newsletter we highlighted the success of two clients through the use of the ChirpE Attendee Acquisition Widget and Native Mobile App. This news was also shared in a blog post for each client and on our social media channels. Sharing the success of your exhibitors who use such tools can encourage other exhibitors to take the leap. Another method for encouraging the use of these techniques is with show incentives offered to exhibitors who implement these tools. The incentives may include additional product announcements or increased free booth badges.
In addition to pre-show lead collection exhibitors can increase pre-show attendee engagement and excitement with online marketing through social media, email, and newsletters. Often the road block is not that exhibitors don’t want to use these channels, but rather that they do not know what to say. You can assist your exhibitors in engaging their clients on social media and in newsletters by offering them scripted suggestions. You could add a ‘Share the News’ section to your website or newsletter that offers snippets that exhibitors can cut and paste, or customize if they prefer, to include in their social media and email announcements about onsite contests, products specials, etc. For example, you may suggest to your exhibitors to invite their clients to a show floor happy hour by asking them to post the following on their social media pages, “Mix and mingle with us during happy hour at ABC EXPO on the show floor, Monday, September 9, 2013. Visit our booth #123 for free product samples and to enter to win a new iPad mini.”
A little bit of encouragement and direction from show managers to exhibitors about how to use pre-show marketing tools can increase exhibitor’s ROI and boost your attendee registration and engagement. Happy exhibitors make for happy show managers!