When you’re organising a trade show, your success depends on the success of your exhibitors- the amount of valuable leads they generate dictates whether they will return. Attracting lots of attendees is extremely important, but it’s not always just about numbers. Think about the kind of attendees your exhibitors are interested in. If those attending are not relevant to those exhibiting, it’s disappointing. As an organiser, you have to balance both quality and quantity of visitors.
Your marketing campaign must target the right attendees and effectively communicate the whys of your event. Here are 10 ways to do just that and increase the positive results for all event stakeholders.
1. Promote Early On
A common mistake organisers make is leaving their pre-show communications to the last minute. Some of the bigger and more successful trade events begin promoting their next edition right after the doors close on their current show.
Your ‘save the date’ promotion email should be sent a minimum of eight months before the event to ensure you reserve a place in peoples’ diaries. From this point, build up your communication to keep everyone up to date and to remain at the back of peoples’ minds. Ideally, keep these lines of communication going all year round.
An event app is another great device for keeping in touch with your attendees throughout the year.
2. Contact Associations
Typically, industry associations won’t sell email lists of their members. They may agree to add news of your show to their members’ communication, if they feel that your event would be of interest to their members.
You can boost your chances by approaching them with exclusive offers for members, such as free or discounted tickets. Consider also offering them a free stand at your show to help them boost their membership.
3. Partner with Press
Another great source of industry contacts are trade publications. Usually you can strike a commercial deal to send out an email marketing campaign to their subscriber base. You could also pay for advertising in their magazine or online.
If you’re on a tight marketing budget, you can suggest a barter agreement whereby the publication is given exhibition space at the show, and you are given free promotion in return. If you’re having keynote speakers on the programme, you could also arrange an exclusive interview with them, so they’re getting high quality content too.
Your event app provider will supply you with a sponsorship promotion pack. Encourage trade publications to become sponsors of your event and showcase them in your event app. ROI is recorded and is quick to download, use this data to showcase your event to sponsors for the years to come.
You could boost your attendance at the same time as slashing costs by joining forces with a related but non-competing show. Co-locating can increase the attractiveness to attendees, essentially offering them two events for the price of one.
Large, well positioned venues come at an enormous expense. It makes sense to share the cost with another event.
According to Meetings & Conventions, 44% trade show organisers are considering co-location.
5. Provide Promo Tools
The whole reason that companies choose to exhibit is to attract the right kind of attention. Make it easy for your exhibitors to promote their attendance at your show by providing them with a range of marketing materials.
Design banner ads they can add to their website, a customisable e-blast they can send to their customer database, and a branded email signature, so their show presence gets promoted with every email they send.
Encourage them to build their profiles into your event app, or do this for them with information they provide. Company bios, logos, websites etc. can all be added into the event app. As well as this, offer exposure via a roll-over banner ad. This way, you can offer maximum exposure to your exhibitors on the event app.
Just make sure you track their activity with custom tracking codes, so you can see which exhibitors are proactively helping to promote the show (and drive ticket sales), and which ones are not. This will help guide on where to spend most of your attention.