Email Marketing for Events
Event marketing can be an expensive method of lead generation. With such a large investment in staff, exhibiting space, display purchasing, traveling and other miscellaneous expenses it is essential for companies to get as much return on their investment as possible. Utilizing the power of email marketing is a cost-effective way of creating the desired ROI without diverting much-needed manpower and funds from your other event marketing efforts. Email marketing can be incorporated into each phase of trade show planning and implementation. From the early stages helping your organization build a buzz, to in-event marketing to draw in more attendees and finally post-event follow up with leads. Below I have listed a few pointers on how to get the most out of your pre-, in, and post-event email marketing efforts:
Typically you want to begin your event planning at least 3 months in advance of your show, and it’s best to start your emailing campaign around the same time. While gathering key stakeholders, creating a budget and outlining your objectives are all crucial parts of the initial planning stages, don’t forget to outline your email marketing strategy as well.
The key to effective pre-event emails is your ability to generate interest in your organization’s exhibit/trade show appearance. The first email you send out should be to your current client list. You want to give them a “VIP” invite to visit you at the trade show to show your appreciation for their business. By reaching out to your current clients, you also create an opportunity to have good face-time with them, while also showing them that your brand can compete with the rest of the industry. As an added bonus, clients visiting you at your booth are also great because they can mingle with visitors in your space and hopefully your happy customers will praise you to prospects.
Your second batch of initial emails should be targeted to email list populated by prospective clients also encouraging them to visit you at the event. Emails to prospects can be a bit more fun, you can send out teasers, promotions and other creative lures to pull them in. If all goes well you will have a booth filled with clients and prospects.
Emails, at the very least, should be sent twice a month to current clients and once a week to prospects. The content within your emails should be less formal and sales-oriented and more geared towards information on your booth, what attendees can expect to find in your space, any promotions or in-booth giveaways or calling attention to a product or service that you will be unveiling.
Once you are on the trade show floor your primary job is to engage with visitors, build connections and effectively relay your brand's messaging to the masses. However, that does not mean that email marketing doesn’t play a part in your on-the-floor strategy.
For starters, many trade show attendees discard brochures and pamphlets handed out by booth staffers, and with all of the literature you can rack up at an event who can blame them? To have a more effective approach to marketing collateral, you can have all of your resources sent upon request to emails you acquire from visitors. This way you can cut your marketing collateral cost, and you can better qualify leads.
You can also use the emails you collected from event attendees to send messages updating them on activity in your booth, updates on contest, promotions and incentives for bringing more guests to your booth. Using social media is great for this, but with strong, targeted emails you will also drive tons of traffic to your space.
Arguably the most important phase of trade show email marketing, your post-event email efforts are where you will turn prospects into clients. Hopefully, if you had a strong showing at your event you should have plenty of leads and prospects to follow-up with. During this time, it is best to send out emails that are individual in nature to capitalize on the face-to-face connections that your booth staffers have established.
By this time, your booth staff should have already prioritized leads and have taken detailed notes for post-event follow-up by your sales force. Any leads that have strong notes attached to them where a prospect is requesting quotes, case studies, white papers or other “buying signals” need to get emails sent to them ASAP. Weaker leads can be mass mailed with a semi-personalized message like “Thanks for visiting us at the trades show! We’d love to continue the conversation”.
Great post-event follow-up email campaigns keep the connections going, and they are sure ways to elevate your event marketing ROI when combined in a larger post-event marketing strategy.
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