Pre-Trade Show Marketing Strategy - Fill Your Booth with Attendees

pre-show marketing strategy

With so much focus placed on your trade show exhibit and the event itself, it's really no surprise that the vast majority of exhibitors fall short on pre-show marketing. In other words, so much effort is being placed on the show itself, that companies are neglecting to market to the attendees they're trying to attract.

Currently, the average trade show attracts over 400 exhibitors and of show attendees, as many as 76% come to the show with an agenda of the booths they plan to visit. In fact, the average trade show attendee visits an average of 25-31 exhibits over a 2 to 3 day event.

Given those kind of numbers, it should be obviously apparent that getting on your hopeful attendees' list of must-see exhibits BEFORE the event could make or break your show. In order to do this, you must first allocate an appropriate portion of your trade show marketing budget to pre-show activities - up to 15%. And then utilize that budget to execute a mix of the following strategies:

Involve Your Sales Team Early

Your sales team can be your most valuable pre-show marketing asset. To be effective, be sure that in the few months leading up to your event, they are helping to book face-to-face appointments at the show.

Your sales staff speaks with numerous customers each and every day - and they should be mentioning the upcoming event to each of their contacts. And setting hard appointments whenever possible. Offering an incentive to customers for pre-booking appointments can help to fill the schedule - say a 10% order discount if booked at the show.

Talk It Up On Social Media

If you're not already using social media as part of your on-going advertising and marketing plan, your trade show might be the perfect time to jump into the game. Of course, if you're already routinely using social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn - spreading the word will be that much easier.

In the months and weeks leading up to your show, be sure to Tweet and post information you'll be covering at the show, any promotions you're offering and of course your booth number. And don't stop using social once the show starts. Use these same channels to keep customers that couldn't make the event engaged and claim new followers by being a go-to resource for the event!

Utilize Email and Marketing Automation

Sending short, concise and well-designed email blasts to attendees in the month prior to the show can be quite effective. It only takes a couple of emails over the course of the month and a follow-up a few days before to reap the benefits. Be sure to include any special events or offers you are running at the show - along with your location on the show floor and booth number.

In addition, consider having the email link to a landing page within your website - where attendees can submit a form to request an appointment. Make them an offer they can't refuse!

Leverage Pre-Show Marketing Tools Provided by the Show Sponsor

It is very likely that the sponsor of the event, at which you're exhibiting, will provide a number of pre-show marketing tools. Many of these tools will either be available to you within the cost of your exhibit space or at an additional fee for tools such as upgraded ad space in the event directory.

Attendee lists are almost always available prior to the event and can be used in your email campaigns. These are folks who ARE going to be at the show, you just need to get them to your booth!!

Like a seasoned team of professionals to help make your company's trade show marketing efforts more successful? Give DesignShop a call and let's talk over your trade show program - we'll help you make it more effective!!

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