15 Attendance Promotion Tips
by Michael R. Hough
- Take a holistic approach to attendance promotion --
the direct mail piece is only 10% of the total effort needed.
- A successful show brings the right number of qualified
attendees to the show floor. Work on all three elements
and you will have a very profitable event.
- If you manage the expectations of your exhibitors, you will
not need to produce huge numbers of warm bodies. Under promise
and over perform.
- Rule of Thumb: budget $50 per verified attendee for all marketing
expenses. This is for direct costs only and does not include
- Focus on power buyers as attendees vs. users.
Power buyers buy (for example) 1000 units whereas users buy
only one unit.
- Be sure the community of interest is large enough to
support your show. On average, 1% of the community (or universe)
will come to the show.
- Rule of Thumb: plan to generate 10 verified attendees per
100 nsf (one booth). To illustrate, if your show has 300 booths,
you should have 3000 verified attendees.
- Take it as your responsibility to be sure your exhibitors
get a ton of quality leads.
- Focus your public relations on those magazines (and associations)
who actually influence your industry.
- Open the show to all associations and publications serving
your community of interest – not just the sponsor.
- Direct mail remains the preferred medium – but use it effectively
by concentrating on the 20% of the universe that generates 80%
of your attendance.
- E-marketing is gaining as the preferred medium – but be sure
your understand "permission marketing," specifically
what true "opt-in" means.
- Telemarketing can work, but make "warm" (rather than cold)
calls to past attendees and inquirers.
- No shows (those who pre register but don't show up)
are very costly. Have a separate promotion plan to convince
them to come.
- Finally, measure the results of each promotion effort so you
know what improvements to make next year.
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Michael Hough is an industry consultant and author
of The Profitable Trade Show. He welcomes discussion on this topic