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Turn Trade Show Attendees Into Booth Visitors With Better Promotions

Because some trade shows have reported double-digit attendee drops during this economic downturn, you need to work harder at getting the attendees that do come to the show into your trade show booth.

One of the most powerful tactics is Pre-Show Promotions – marketing your presence before the show.  So we’ve gathered together 29 intriguing Pre-Show Promotion ideas shared by your peers when surveyed for our new White Paper, What’s Working in Exhibiting.

Want more traffic to your trade show booth? Get creative with Pre-Show Promotions.

So many ways to reach them

There are many Pre-Show Promotion activities beyond the standard ad in the show directory.  Here are a wide variety of Pre-Show Promotion mediums available to you that exhibitors told us they use to reach their target audience before the show:

“Direct mail, emails, and phone calls.”   unknown

“Send out new catalogs prior to a show.”   Ana Tenreiro, LeStage

“Mailings, door drops, bag inserts.”   Henry Gardiner

“Mail outs, web tag line, e-mail tag line.”   Paul Shepherdson, Scale-Tron Inc.

“Email, traditional mail, printed advertisements in journals, online banners.”   Sean P. McCall, Integrated DNA Technologies

“Increased targeted emailings, and full page ad in trade publications.”   Maria Pensato, Viconics Inc

“Targeted e-newsletters.”   Cathy Campbell, WAGO Corporation

“We do small ads in secondary tabloids.”   Steven Helton, National Cremation Society

“Trade advertising.”   Andrew Lippman, EverNutrition, Inc.

“Trade show section on our website.”   Don Strahle,     Acoustical Solutions, Inc.

“Advertising on the web page.”   Pat Stewart, BD Power

Great Pre-Promotional Strategies and Tactics

Your peers are great experimenters and have come up with methods that get more people to their trade show booths.  Here’s a sampling of some of their best ideas.

These exhibitors remind us that trade shows are about the personal touch.  They reach out to clients and best prospects before the show, to invite them for a visit, or even set up meetings and demos:

“Book meeting with important clients and prospects before the show & education session at our stand.”  Valerie Danger, Nstein Technologies

“We send our existing customers tickets to the show to encourage their attendance.”  P. Gibson, Intle Design

“Informing – usually through e-mail – of our intent to exhibit and setting up appointments/dinners.”  Jeff Lawson, Spongex

“Email blasts reminding people of our booth location, including free access to the show, and trying to set up meetings.”  Ryan Marsh, Bright Systems

“Letting some of our good leads know we will be at the show.”  Joyce Collins, Chestnut Cove Log Homes

“Direct notification of potential attendees by mail or email of new developments, offers and/or technology improvements to our processes and products.”  David Stellwagen, The Buckhead Coffee Company

“Call large specific potential customers to invite to stop by.”  Ash Luthra, LSL Industries

“We try to personally contact leads that we feel are a good fit for each show.”  Mary Hamor

“We send out mailers followed up with phone calls inviting them to a product demo and contest entry.”  Dan Laninga, Cygnus Incorporated

“Very targeted, personal contacts to specific individuals.”   Christine Stamm, Wisconsin Department of Commerce

These exhibitors use their Pre-Show Promotions to give prospects a compelling reason to visit their trade show booth, with a compelling or creative offer:

“We are sending early mailers. At the show they will get a card to attendees with a show special discount.”   Kathi Graham, JCI Industries, Inc.

“Invitation cards with a gift draw upon presentation of the card.”  Margo Renoir

“Pre mailers “Bring this card to booth for a free …”  Jessica Adkins, Sodexo

“Mailings and participating in “new product” announcements.”  Bill Wilson, Carriage House Products, Inc

“We send show planners, thumb drives loaded with company information and a letter from the company owner.”  Scott Williams, SiteHawk

“We sometimes offer special events at our booth, such as bring an object for us to do a live demo on.”   Jamie Churchill, Cold Jet

“Scratch-off mailers in which attendees don’t scratch until they get to the booth. They win product discounts and various other prizes.”   Emily Riess, Assay Designs, Inc.

“Using a theme that stems off our advertising campaign and focuses on our show objectives.”  Mary Sheldon, Mate Precision Tooling

Use Pre-Show Promotions to get more people – and more of the right people – into your trade show booth.  You have many ways to reach out before the show, and lots of ways to creatively and personally appeal to your clients and prospects.

Creating Effective Trade Show PromotionsWant even more proven ways to attract more leads with promotions?  Click here to get the free, 76-page Creating Effective Trade Show Promotions book.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

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