Checklist: 5 STEPS for Pre-Event Engagement
We all like to be ahead of the rest, so why wait with differentiating on the event itself?
During an event companies are competing with each other on a few hundred squares meters, however, have you even thought of pre-event engagement?
Attendees do plan what company booths to visit (76% does it), so why shouldn’t you aim at those people, to pre-win their attention and engagement!
Let’s get ahead before the event has started!
#1. How to start?
Obviously you want attendees to visit your booth, however only about 20% of the companies do drive interest and engagement before the event starts, while 76% of the attendees do research which companies to visit beforehand.
So, start with promoting your company, even before the event starts. Research has shown that this can increase attendance to an exhibit up to 33%. (Source: CEIR).
A social media campaign can be a great solution for this.
A good list of sources to create a list of specific audience segments you want to visit your exhibit is critical.
- The show organizer list is popular since it provides contacts that will actually be at the show. (Be careful with timing your order to get as many names as possible, but don’t wait so long your promotions arrive too late.)
- If attendees return to your show year after year, pull a list of leads from previous events.
- Use your house list of existing clients and best prospects. Even though they may not be attending the show, existing contacts may find value in what you’re doing at the event.
- Explore purchasing names from relevant industry publications or associations, or even a third-party list broker.
- Make it easy for potential visitors to set up an appointment beforehand.
- Use Social Media to create engagement and to share the latest updates.
We already touched upon Social Media, but also newsletters, your website and many other forms for event marketing could be used to score. Make sure you have an uniform and recognizable message which convinces people to visit your booth.
#4 Channel list
- Advertise in conference programs or directories, or on billboards, taxi tops, or mobile trucks.
- Use direct mail campaigns. Think beyond postcards, and consider formal invitations, or interesting three-dimensional mailers.
- Instead of traditional email campaigns, use PURLs for even higher response rates.
- Get social. Use the conference hashtag, create Facebook or LinkedIn events, and more.
- Create an event-specific page. (which is very easy to share)
- Place web banners on the conference website.
- Sponsor on-site signage, room drops, or hotel keys.
- There also tools to make event marketing a breeze
Create a timeline for creating and distributing your pre-event promotions that includes time for brainstorming, production and distribution. Start brainstorming at least three to four months out, so you can start production at least two months prior to the event. Depending on what kind of promotions you’re using, you may start sending the first promotions as early as one month out, with continual touches leading up to the show (a “rolling thunder” effect). Many exhibitors tie anticipated receipt of their direct mail campaign with digital marketing efforts so the campaign is more likely to cut through the clutter. And don’t forget to monitor response rates, open rates and clickthroughs, making adjustments on the fly as needed.
By considering the above 5 items, you’ll create successful pre-event promotions that get attendees to put you on their must-see list—and ultimately create more successful event programs.