Exhibitor Pre-Show Emails: Stop Pushing, Become Pullable

Trade Show ExhibitorsI just returned from a wonderful trade show. Unfortunately, the onslaught of pre-show emails from exhibitors was relentless and annoying. I shared a cab ride from the airport to the show with a fellow attendee. When I asked: "What did you think of all those emails from exhibitors last week?" I realized he was even more frustrated by this ridiculous exercise than I was. 

Scooped up from last week's flurry of pre-show emails, here are three examples of what NOT to do with pre-show email subject lines:

  • Can't wait to see you!
    A little too familiar, don't you think? That's a line reserved for my mother, not for some stranger working a trade show booth.
     
  • Visit us at booth #123...
    That line's used most often. Often, there's not even a hint at a compelling reason WHY I should visit in the message.
     
  • Come see us at booth #123 and win a [INSERT PRIZE here]
    We're getting slightly warmer with this one -- but do high-powered decision makers enter drawings to win stuff? You might generate booth traffic, but is it the RIGHT traffic? 

Now for the reality check: Email blasts aren't working anymore.

In fact, they might be turning off the very people you want to see most. And here's the interesting thing: For this recent experience, I matched up the mass email blasters with their mobile app profiles. I looked at descriptions, info, keywords, etc. 

My findings: The biggest offenders on mass email blasts had little or no valuable content in their Mobile App profiles.

Which brings us to today's big tip for trade show exhibitors:

Stop pushing and start becoming more "pullable."

Event mobile apps are sparking more/better exchanges at conferences and trade shows, be that attendee-to-attendee, exhibitor-to-attendee, speaker-to-attendee, and so on. Enough with the spammy messaging.

  • Dive in, beef up your exhibitor profile with thoughtful content, smart keywords and messages that show attendees you know your stuff and can help them improve.
  • Select shows with strong mobile app platforms, RICH in attendee-focused content.
  • Send enough salespeople to the show so you can have booth coverage AND attend education programming. That's where the best conversations happen.
  • Insist that the salespeople you send to the show invest time BEFORE the show to reach out to their contacts and personally invite them. You can start with a short, compelling email message template, but customize it so the person on the receiving end feels special. "Hey Bill, we'll be at the ABC Show -- would love to continue our conversation there."
  • Stop product peddling and dig into problems. Invest in smart banner ads on the mobile app that speak to problems you can help attendees solve.
  • Join the cyber-crowd and contribute meaningful insight on social media channels before, during and after the event to grow more/better relationships with buyers.

And finally, a tip for event show organizers:

Help your exhibitors raise their pre-show marketing game, particularly in contributing valuable content for your mobile app. As they improve, you improve. Unfortunately, those spammy emails are sticky and they're having a negative impact on the perceived value of your great show.

Your turn: What exhibitor tip did I miss?

For more tips on mobile apps, read How Mobile Apps Are Changing the Future of Events and check out Cvent's infographic on mobile use.

(photo by Pop Culture Geek via Flickr)

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