18 Sep Why you MUST use your in-house contacts in pre-exhibition marketing
You have a company database. Use it.
The goal to pre-exhibition marketing is to target your highest quality prospects and get them interested in visiting your stand at the exhibition. In house contacts are perfect to target as they are already interested in doing business with you.
Over the years your company should have accumulated a comprehensive database of current clients, interested prospects and even lost clients. This collection of information can be invaluable to your pre-exhibition marketing strategy. A solid database is a company’s prime asset – it would be hard to put a price on its worth.
In our previous article we discussed the use of the registered attendees list and how to use it to your advantage, so now we need to cover how to use your own database to its full advantage.
Not everyone in your database is going to be the right person for you to target for an upcoming exhibition. The key to using your database to it full advantage is to segment.
Segmentation of your database can be done in a variety of ways:
- Previous purchases
- Company size
- Website visits
- Abandoned carts
You need to work out how you want to segment your database to give you the best results for each individual show or event. This will give you the ability to target your messaging to specific audiences and makes it easy to send meaningful, personalised marketing material.
- The show you are exhibiting at is in Sydney and you are launching your newest high tech tractor.
- You could segment your database by anyone within 200km of Sydney.
- Then you could segment another level to past customers who have previously bought top of the line tractors.
Depending on your marketing strategy you may have multiple segments in which you choose to communicate with using different avenues.
Communication with these targeted segments from your in-house data should begin 2-3 months before the exhibition even starts. There are many methods you can use to target these contacts (a select few discussed below) and all of them should be personalised to each recipient to the highest level of persionalisation possible.
Offering your ideal target audience personal invitations at attend the exhibition is a proven way to increase the chances of the receiver visiting your stand.
This method of communication is usually directed at your highest value prospects as it can be time consuming to create effective personalisation. These personalised invitations could be completed by email, phone or even a handwritten letter asking them to come and visit you on your stand.
Personalised invitations often work best coming directly from a person of significance in your company, such as the CEO or GM.
The invitations should provide the prospect with a strong motivation reason why they should attend and specifically (referencing job title or job function) why they would want to visit you. The invitation should also include details of the show, dates, times and your stand number.
Make sure to use the tactics on how to write from HERE.
ON -STAND BOOKINGS
Allowing targeted prospects to book a time on your stand for a one-on-one meeting or for a specific product demonstration is a great way to pre book out time slots with highly motivated prospects.
Portraying these bookings to be exclusive and limited makes prospects more likely to book quickly before availability runs out and also makes them feel valued, helping to build your business relationship.
These on stand booking invitations could be completed by email or phone and logged manually, or there are numerous online booking portals you could employ to make this process seamless.
Try to make bookings at the times when the stand will have the least traffic and ensure that bookings are not overbooked.
Staff are often an overlooked communication avenue in pre event marketing. Staff, not even just sales, are in contact with in house contacts every day.
With the increased use of social networking, specifically business networks such as LinkedIn, all staff can help spread the information about your exhibition participation. Get your whole team involved to help spread the word far and wide.
Staff email signatures can also be modified with a banner displaying your exhibition participation and stand number etc.
After the initial communication has gone out to prospects, it is equally as important to follow up; you didn’t spend all this time segmenting and producing content to give up now.
The right form of follow up depends on your over all pre-exhibition strategy, available time and the original method of communication.
Choosing the right method and frequency to follow up can be a delicate process. On one hand, the right follow-up can highlight your brand as proactive and an industry leader. On the other, it can annoy prospects to the point of tarnishing your reputation. Select a frequency and type of follow-up message that makes the most sense for your target segments.
All On-Stand Bookings should receive a confirmation email once the booking is made and a reminder email a few days before the show.