Have A Well-Defined Promotional Plan
A significant part of your marketing includes promotion – pre-show, at-show and post-show. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas. Budget is naturally going to play a major role in deciding what and how much promotional activity is possible. Developing a meaningful theme or message that ties into your strategic marketing plan will then help to guide promotional decisions. Know whom you want to target and then consider having different promotional programs aimed at the different groups you are interested in attracting. Include direct mail, broadcast faxes, advertising, PR, sponsorship, and the Internet as possible ways to reach your target audience.
Use Direct Mail Effectively
Direct mail is still one of the most popular promotional vehicles exhibitors use. From postcards to multi-piece mailings, attendees are deluged with invitations to visit booths. Many of the mailings come from show management’s lists and as a result, everyone gets everything. To target the people you want visit your booth, use your own list of customers and prospects–it’s the best one available. Design a piece that is totally benefit-oriented and makes an impact. Mail three pieces at regular intervals prior to the show, starting about four weeks out, to help ensure your invitation is seen. Wherever possible, use first-class mail. There’s nothing worse than a mailing that arrives after the show is over.
Give Visitors An Incentive To Visit Your Booth
Whatever promotional vehicles you use, make sure that you give visitors a reason to come and visit you. With a hall overflowing with fascinating products/services, combined with time constraints, people need an incentive to come and visit your booth. First and foremost their primary interest is in “what’s new!” They are eager to learn about the latest technologies, new applications, or anything that will help save them time and/or money. Even if you don’t have a new product/service to introduce, think about a new angle to promote your offerings.
Have Giveaways That Work
Tied into giving visitors an incentive to visit your booth is the opportunity to offer a premium item that will entice them. Your giveaway items should be designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or increase recognition of your company. Developing a dynamite giveaway takes thought and creativity. Consider what your target audience wants, what will help them do their job better, what they can’t get elsewhere, what is product/service related and educational. Think about having different gifts for different types of visitors. Use your website to make an offer for visitors to collect important information, such as an executive report, when they visit your booth. Giveaways should be used as a reward or token of appreciation for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest, or as a thank-you for qualifying information about specific needs etc.
Use Press Relations Effectively
Public relations is one of the most cost-effective and successful methods for generating large volumes of direct inquiries and sales. Before the show ask show management for a comprehensive media list, and find out which publications are planning a special show edition. Send out newsworthy press releases focusing on what’s new about your product/service, or highlighting a new application or market venture. Compile press kits for the press office that include information about industry trends, statistics, new technology or production information. Also include good product photos and key company contacts. Have staff members at the booth who are specifically assigned to interact with the media