The first edition of The Profitable Trade Show by Michael Hough ...
is now sold out. But we are working on the next edition which we hope to publish in late 2004. Meanwhile, this web site provides practical, "how-to" information for all who produce face to face events such as exhibitions, trade shows and conferences.

Profit Tips
White Papers
Large Show Roundtable

Also Available

White Papers Index

W1 - All is Not Well

W2 - Sample of a Memo to Content Partners

W3 - Ten Commandments for Speakers

W4 - 100 Tips in 75 Minutes

W5 - All About E-Newsletters

W6 - The Other Two Legs

W7 - Five Mistakes Associations Make

W8 - 15 Attendance Promotion Tips

W9 - Ten Questions to Ask When Considering a Launch

W10 - 15 Cost-Saving Tips

W11 - 15 E-Marketing Tips

W12 - Strategic Review of a Show

W13 - Launching a New Event

W14 - Avoiding Attrition Penalties

W15 - The Case Against Audits

W16 - Co-location for Fun and Profit

W17 - Improving the Association Show

W18 - International Attendance Promotion

W19 - Helping International Visitors Obtain Visas

W20 - Fixing the Machine

Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum

Large Show Roundtable


15 E-Marketing Tips

by Michael R. Hough

  1. The best application for e-mail marketing is to communicate with existing customers/prospects rather than troll for new prospects. Spamming is a no-no.

  2. To develop a quality e-mail list, follow the rules regarding permission marketing/opt-in.

  3. Drive traffic to your web site – put the URL first on everything including ads, direct mail, etc. Bribe them to go there, such as offering "15 E-Marketing Tips for Trade Shows."

  4. Link your Web site with as many relevant sites as possible, such as exhibitors.

  5. Do not make visitors navigate through your association or corporate site to get info on a specific show – point them directly to the show’s home page. In fact, use a unique URL to bring them right to a targeted page.

  6. Avoid complex graphics and other "flash" that tend to increase download time. Aim for no more than 12 seconds download on a 56K dialup system.

  7. Establish a well-thought-out privacy policy and apply it consistently. Always offer a way to opt-out (that is, to say they do not wish to receive any further e-mails from you). Acknowledge this request by sending a "sorry to lose you message."

  8. Understand how to use search engines effectively, but do not pay for preferred position.

  9. Be careful with the Subject line of any e-mail you send out. Certain words (such as FREE) may get your message bounced as spam. Mention the name of your show plus promise a benefit (such as 128 Innovative Products at Widget Expo).

  10. Personalize the e-mail from a real person (Jane Smith, Vice President) rather than from Marketing Department, Widget Expo. Also, embed personalization within the e-mail text (such as Dear Jane Doe and mention her firm name).

  11. Say right up front – "Here is the information you requested about Widget Expo." Put your best sales pitch in the first sentence (many recipients will be using a form of page preview).

  12. Never use rich media (audio and/or video) within the e-mail -- link to a rich media web page.

  13. Keep the e-mail short -- no more than one screen and never include an attachment. Link to pages on your web site to give them more information.

  14. Don’t look like a spammer – keep your tone friendly and informative. Avoid overblown (hyped) language.

  15. Finally, keep your e-mail prospect list clean. Send a post card cleaner twice a year. Plus, collect every bounced message and either correct the address or delete it.

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Michael Hough is an industry consultant and author of The Profitable Trade Show. He welcomes discussion on this topic at