How to create a rush of visitors to your exhibition stand
You’ve made a commitment to a trade show. How do you get all your ducks in a row to make the most of your investment and attract the right visitors? And just how many ducks are there?
By Maxine Davenport, Head of Client Services, FortuneWest
You are competing for attention. Visitors take time out of their busy work schedules to attend exhibitions in search of the latest solutions that will help solve their business problems and make their working lives easier. Their time is precious, so savvy exhibition attendees arrive with a plan of who they want to speak to and what they want to achieve. To attract the right visitors and maximise your ROI, a strong pre-event marketing strategy is a must. Make some noise to let potential visitors know that you’re there, what you have to offer and give them an opportunity to book a time to see you. Here are some tactics we use to get you started with your pre-event marketing…
Use the exhibition organiser’s marketing tools
As an exhibitor, many promotional opportunities will be available to you. Depending on the exhibition, these include:
- Website listing – create a stand-out company profile on the exhibition website. Attendees will visit the exhibition website in advance of the show to see who is exhibiting and you need get their attention. Make sure you’re listed and include information on any new products or services you’ll be showcasing, plus contact details should anyone wish to pre-arrange a meeting with you
- Sponsorship – exhibition organisers offer various paid-for sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorship can suggest leadership. If your budget allows, make the most of opportunities such as co-branded e-newsletters to registered visitors, brand seminar rooms, supply branded items, brand directional floor tiles, or see of you can sponsor the beer mats!
- Advertising – there are many online and offline advertising opportunities open to exhibitors. Exhibitions tend to have media partners who publish special show editions. Plan ahead with your advertising and negotiate inclusion in relevant editorial
- Exhibition guide – submit your company listing for inclusion in the printed exhibition guide, and include information about company heritage and product innovation
- Broadcast – some exhibitions have live TV broadcasts. Contact the organisers to sell-in your story, and keep footage for re-use after the show
Integrated communications campaigns
You should also run your own campaigns to reach current customers and new prospects in advance of the show. Some of the tactics we use for clients are:
- Email marketing campaigns for customers – send personalised communications to your contacts and invite them to visit you at the event. Entice them with product launches, special offers or hospitality. You could host a drinks reception on your stand to thank customers for their business
- Email campaigns to attract new prospects – consider purchasing a targeted database to reach potential new customers. As an exhibitor, you may have a promotional code to share with invitees offering a discount or queue jump entry
- Your website – during the build up to the exhibition, share useful content on your blog, talk about your plans for the exhibition and what you can offer visitors. Create promotional banners for your website and email signatures
- Social media – share your content via media channels and join in with relevant conversations and event hashtags when promoting your stand activities
- Media relations – Establish what’s newsworthy and share with the media. Editors need good stories; invite journalists to interview your company spokespeople. Prepare press kits in advance of the show and have them ready to hand out
- Video – if you capture video of conversations with visitors to your stand, it’s a great way to extend the life and value of your show investment
These are just a few ideas to get you started.