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How’s Your Pre-show Marketing Campaign Shaping Up?

You have a few months before you really need to start thinking about pre-show marketing, right? Not likely! When registration opens, Catersource attendees, (96% of which have purchasing power), will start shaping their agendas. According to Trade Show News Network, about 70% of trade show attendees, in general, create an exhibitor hit list months before an event. Now is the time to start thinking about how your company will be on every attendee’s list of “must-see” exhibitors. How do you ensure this happens? Here are three top channels to include in your marketing mix:

The easiest thing you can do is to start with the obvious: reach out to your existing contacts including customers, known prospects, media, and influencers.

In addition to the simple, “Come see us at Catersource 2018” messaging, offer an incentive for coming to see you! Leverage the Catersource Invite-A-Customer program, for example, which allows you to offer your customers complimentary tradeshow access or $50 off conference access. Catersource 2017 post-show metrics showed that exhibitors who utilized the Invite-A-Customer program had 19% higher booth traffic than those that did not. Invite-A-Customer launches next month—stay tuned for details.

Don’t neglect your social reach: as details about the event are released, re-tweet and share to stimulate a little #FOMO among your followers.

Plan on targeted messages for your key segments with a value proposition that is appealing and offers a thoughtful incentive.

Email campaigns
Email campaigns to your existing customers won’t blow your budget and offer great insight into how much engagement your message is earning. Also consider adding outreach to the show’s existing attendee list. Whether you choose to promote new products through a print ad purchase in our yearly issue of Catersource magazine, or position yourself as a thought leader in the industry through sponsored content in Catersource’s Attendee eNewsletter, there are a range of options to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

Use email communication judiciously and avoid broad stroke communications. Plan on targeted messages for your key segments with a value proposition that is appealing and offers a thoughtful incentive.

Direct mail
Direct mail is not as well utilized as it used to be, which is exactly why it’s a great option. Postcards are one of the most effective direct mail assets, especially those printed in unique shapes and designs. The copy and graphics should be eye-catching, memorable, and consistent with your overall show campaign. Time your mailing so it arrives approximately 10 days before the show. Any earlier, and attendees may set it aside. Any later, and they might not receive it in time!

Also consider leveraging Catersource’s annual print magazine, which will cover the state of the industry and show information, and also include a polybag for individual insertion such as a brochure or postcard. This is an optimal opportunity to integrate your message into a resource distributed directly to attendees from the show organizer.

Don’t let pre-show marketing get lost among the blur of planning and logistics because getting on your prospects’ agendas in advance is all too important to leave to chance. 

Angie Ridgeway is Catersource's Customer Success Manager. She can be reached at [email protected].

Click here to learn more about exhibiting at Catersource 2018!