We hear from many trade show organizers that their attendees are growing increasingly wary of exhibitor email blasts. Some have given up altogether and simply do not allow exhibitors to send any emails to the registered attendee list.
Recent technological advances have given rise to a number of alternatives organizers are using that include social media mentions, listings in the trade show APP du jour and one-on-one meeting scheduling systems. The latter offers a lot of benefits for the attendee who knows who they want to see but also requires effort on the attendee’s part.
While all the new approaches have their merit, I believe there is still a place in this arena for the humble email, especially when it is done right. And to do it right the organizer must be the gate keeper for quality, frequency and above all the privacy of the attendee’s email address. You can NOT do this by giving the list to every exhibitor and hoping for the best. So here are some things to consider:
1. Organizers should review each email message before it goes out to make sure the messaging is appropriate.
2. Organizers should limit the number of emails that are sent and make sure they are spaced out so the attendees are not bombarded in the few days leading up to the event.
3. Providing attendees with a way to opt-out of the whole pre-show marketing campaign using a central unsubscribe gives attendees a way out.
4. It should be clear to the recipient why they are receiving the email.
This can easily be accomplished by offering a new or expanded sponsorship level that includes the opportunity to send a pre-show email, post-show email or both to a small subset of the exhibitor base. Those that really want it will pay for the opportunity and provide more than enough revenue to cover the increased costs for the quality and control. As I have said before, most attendees are not opposed to receiving selective exhibitor communication, just not 100 lbs of it.