Whenever exhibitors complain about the volume or quality of the booth traffic they experience, the first three questions I ask to understand and improve their situation for the future are: how did this year’s “official event attendance” statistics compare to previous years, where was your booth located, and what pre-show marketing did you actually complete?
Typically, the issue is that they didn’t focus on pre-show marketing efforts enough. Digging a little deeper, they usually say that’s because they couldn’t think of anything else (or anything at all) to do. So, today, I thought I’d share the first 15 pre-show marketing opportunities that popped into my head. With each idea that you implement, you are raising awareness of your company and expanding the percentage of attendees who will walk past your booth.
So, without further ado:
1. Join (or start) a LinkedIn group focused on your event – participate in discussions before the event to start making connections.
2. On LinkedIn and Facebook, RSVP to indicate that you will attend the event and consider connecting with others on the guest list.
3. Update your various social media statuses to share your excitement about the upcoming event. Are you working on something event related? Tell your followers.
4. Call your clients, prospects, and partners who are likely to attend the event and invite them to visit your booth or schedule a meeting while on-site.
5. Call your clients, prospects, and partners who may not be attending the event but who live in the area and invite them to schedule a meeting off-site while you will be in town.
6. Update your website to include the show details (name, hours, location, etc), your booth number, and information about what attendees would experience if they came by to visit.
7. Update your company description in the on-line exhibitor directory (an opportunity typically offered for free by the show management).
8. Consider event sponsorships to receive additional advertising/promotional opportunities offered by show management.
9. Consider advertising in magazines, periodicals, and any technical journals that will reach the same target audience that is most likely to attend your event.
10. Consider on-line advertising opportunities (social media, search engines, etc) where you can reach your target audience.
11. Publish relevant articles on your blog and with reputable sources (including the hosting organization’s publication, where possible) to show your expertise. Don’t forget to mention your participation in the upcoming event too.
12. Publish a press release to announce why professionals should care that you’re exhibiting at the upcoming event and how to contact you (both there and before) to learn more.
13. List your booth number and basic show information for upcoming event(s) in your e-mail signature.
14. Mention your upcoming event(s) in your office voicemail recording.
15. Send direct mail pieces to announce your participation and invite prospects to enjoy the information/activities you’ll be hosting in your booth and/or clients to receive a special gift.
As I mentioned, these are just the first fifteen pre-show marketing ideas that popped into my head. With some focused brainstorming, I’m sure we could come up with more… Share yours in the comments section below and choose a few to implement before your next event.
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