You’ve committed thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of dollars and several days of several people’s time to exhibit at a conference this fall. The worst thing you can do is just show up and hope it goes well. As the popular business book is titled, “Hope is not a strategy!”
The success of your presence at an event will be determined long before you ever show up, with an effective pre-show marketing initiative; these pre-show marketing efforts can be divided into two categories:
- Utilizing support from the event organizer
- Those things you need to do on your own
It is in the event producer’s own best interest to make sure that, as an exhibitor, you have a very successful event. They want (and need) your continued support and dollars.
To that end, most event organizers will make available a number of resources to help you promote your presence in the event. It is up to you to take advantage of them and they could include:
- Your logo and company description on the event’s website
- Your logo and company description in pre-event mailings
- Your logo and description in the on-site event program
- Access to the list of pre-registered attendees for pre-show mailings
- A special discount code to share with your clients
- The opportunity to be a sponsor – the event itself or certain aspects of it (e.g. the food breaks, keynote address, literature bags, etc.); while I’m not necessarily suggesting that you must be a sponsor, you do need to consider those opportunities – take a look at the dollars and what kind of benefits you receive for the investment
- Speaking opportunities
Now on to your efforts… think through the kinds of things that you can do to promote your presence in the event…
- Emails or direct mail pieces to the names in your database
- Posts on your website/social media pages
- A note about your exhibit on every employee’s email signature
- Salespeople and senior executives making personal invitations to key clients and prospects
- Pre-schedule in-booth presentations – for specific clients at specific times
- Set goals for your exhibiting… how many leads do you want to capture, how many demonstrations do you want to give, etc. Then work to achieve them.
- In all pre-show marketing, always include event details (dates, location and YOUR booth #)
Your pre-show marketing efforts may or may not bring any additional people to a particular event… but it will ensure that those who are coming will include a visit to your booth in their plans. And that will give you a strong competitive advantage.
Question: What are you doing to help promote your presence at an event this Fall?