Exhibitor Pre-Show Emails: Stop Pushing, Become Pullable

I 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?

Check out Cvent’s infographic on mobile use.


Written by Donna Kaster.