Monthly Archives: July 2016

Grow your Show by Ensuring that your Current Exhibitors Don’t Leave

trade-show-floorFirst a few statistics on customer retention to set the stage*:

  • The cost to acquire a new customer is 5X more than to keep existing ones
  • 80% of your future revenue will come from existing customers
  • Reducing churn by 5% can increase profits 25 – 125%
  • 70% of customers leave because of poor customer service
  • For every customer who complains there are 26 others who remain silent

Enough said! It looks like putting some of your focus on retaining your current exhibitors will go a long way towards growing your event. Happy exhibitors will talk about your event and encourage their customers to attend. Listed below are a few programs we have seen show organizers implement that increase exhibitor retention. And best of all, you should be able to execute all of them with some management focus and a very limited budget.

1.  Give your Exhibitors an Opportunity to Define their Own Sponsorships: Most of your exhibitors go to multiple events. Some of those shows are bound to have good sponsorship ideas that you haven’t included in your event, yet. If an exhibitor finds a sponsorship at one event to be beneficial, then they are likely to be willing to pay for the opportunity to participate in that sponsorship at your event as well.

2.  Increase Attendance: More attendees mean more interactions between potential buyers and the sellers that are exhibiting at your show. One proven way to do this is to get your exhibitors to invite their prospects to your event. Email is a good tool for this job. There is a “free” way to do this and one where you hire a vendor to help.

  • The “free” way. Create a couple of images that exhibitors can use in the emails they send to their customers to invite them to your show. If you want to go a little further, you can generate some HTML code so they have an easy template to use for these emails.
  • Hiring a Vendor. This is pretty straight forward. Companies like ours offer a service where exhibitors can login, generate emails, and send them to their own lists for free. The show pays for the service. The big benefit of hiring a vendor is they will help your exhibitors and encourage them to send those invitation emails.

3.  Encourage Attendees to Visit More Booths: Create a sponsorship, or host a program that encourages the attendees to visit more booths. Most attendees have a tendency to visit the exhibitors they are currently doing business with, and then if they have time they walk the floor looking for other exhibitors.

  • One idea that some organizers use is to issue punch cards to their attendees with a number of sponsors included on the card.
  • Another variant would be to create multiple versions of the card with all exhibitors and hand them out randomly to attendees. At the end of the show you have a drawing where everyone that has visited all the booths on their card is eligible to win a prize.

4.  Enable your Exhibitors to Contact the Attendees Directly: Attendees are often in a hurry when they are on the show floor. They need to see all the vendors they work with, and then they want to learn about the new products that will help them with their jobs. Allowing your exhibitors to send out a pre-show email blasts will give the attendees more information about what booths they should visit, and connect buyer with sellers on the show floor. A couple thoughts on how to do this:

  • You probably don’t want to give the exhibitors the Excel file with all the attendees contact info.
  • Sending emails on behalf of your exhibitors will allow you to protect the attendee list from misuse. Mail Chimp or Constant Contact are cheap tools that can be used for this. It just requires one of your staff members to manage the process.
  • You can hire a company like ours to do it for you. There are many companies that can manage this process for you. Our model doesn’t cost you anything and can generate revenue for the show.

5.  Offer Exclusive Exhibit Hours: Exhibitors get frustrated when the show floor is empty because all the attendees are at sessions or some other show sponsored event. If you’re not already doing it, think about a way to carve out specific hours where attendees are encouraged to visit the expo hall. If the show isn’t productive for an exhibitor, their first complaint will be that it was your fault for not getting enough buyers to their booth.

The truth is that exhibitors need help when it comes to getting buyers into their booths. Show organizers are in a unique position to help them. By helping your exhibitors to be more successful, it will directly benefit your show. Exhibitors will share their success at your event, which will bring in more exhibitors and attendees.

*Statistics courtesy of

How to Write a Top Performing Trade Show Email

EMAIL-Envelope-Image-2Over the last 3 years, we at Event Technologies have sent over 1.25 million pre and post show emails to trade show attendees on behalf of over 1,000 exhibitors.  We have learned a lot along the way, especially that sending emails to attendees requires a very different strategy from other email marketing efforts (newsletters, emails to prospects, customer relations, etc.).  We did a brief analysis of the top performing emails and the bottom performing emails and here is what we found:

Subject line

The subject line is arguably the most important part of your email.  It will often determine whether or not the recipient opens your email.  You can have the best designed email of all time, but if the recipient doesn’t open it they won’t ever see it.  What we found was pretty basic, but seemingly extremely important.  The emails that mentioned the show name in the subject far outperformed those that did not.

Pre-show:  Of the top 50 performing emails (by open rate), 44 of them mentioned the show name.  Of the bottom 50 performing emails (by open rate), only 16 of them mentioned the show name.  Pre show emails that used the show name in the subject line had an open rate of 24%.  Those that didn’t mention the show name had an open rate of 18%.

Post-show:  Of the top 50 performing emails (by open rate), 40 of them mentioned the show name.  Of the bottom 50 performing emails (by open rate), only 18 of them mentioned the show name.  Pre show emails that used the show name in the subject line had an open rate of 30%.  Those that didn’t mention the show name had an open rate of 26%.


Once the email is opened, we gauge the success of an email by the click through rate.  Emails need a clear call to action and something compelling that will entice the recipient to click through to your site.  Here is an analysis of the top 50 performing emails and what they offered.


For pre-show emails, the most successful emails promote an event at the show.  Parties, hosted breakfasts, dinners, and live music.  There is always a clear call to action (Click Here to RSVP to our Event) so it makes sense that these emails perform so well.  Unfortunately, not all companies host large parties at every trade show.  If your company is not hosting any special events, we recommend you promote any new content your company has, a free giveaway in your booth, any seminars and presentations your company is involved in and/or a new product launch.  Make sure to have a clear call to action – Click here to RSVP, click to register, click to download, etc.

Top 50 Post show

Post show emails need to take a different approach.  Because the event is over, exhibitors can’t promote an event.  It’s clear that for post show emails content is king.  eBooks are popular as are whitepapers, case studies and session recaps.  If you don’t have any new content to link to, other ideas that perform well are continuing to promote a giveaway from the show, product launches and showcases, and job  postings.  Again, make sure to have a clear call to action – click to register, click to download, etc.


In conclusion, when constructing a trade show email make sure to mention the show name in the subject line and promote your most enticing offerings with clear calls to actions.  Additionally, mentioning that content in the subject line along with the show name will also help get your message read by the recipients.

If you would like to talk to Kevin Ehlers of Event Technologies regarding email marketing to attendees, you can contact him at  To continue to read the Event Technologies Blog, click here: