Author Archives: Kevin Ehlers

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:

Creating Emails for the Mobile Reader

Mobile Email ImageAccording to the latest US Consumer Device Preference Report from MovableInk, 66% of all email in the US is now opened and read on smartphones or tablets. To break it down more specifically, 49.5% of emails opened were on a smartphone, 33.66% on a desktop, and 16.8% on a tablet.

This presents both a great opportunity as well as a significant problem. First, most mobile devices do not come with built in SPAM checkers thus getting into the attendee’s inbox is a bit easier. On the other hand, with real estate on a smart phone being rather small you must ensure the attendee will see what you intended. Continue reading

The Value of Event Data: Part 1

I read an article by Mike Blackman, Managing Director of Integrated Systems Events, regarding the value of an event’s registration data.  I found it very interesting and thought I would share it:

Tread carefully when considering whether to rent or sell your attendee data to third parties, says Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events.

“Big data.” It’s a phrase that entered into common usage a couple of years back, when it seemed the only companies seriously bucking the recession trend—at least in the Western world—were those engaged in the acquisition, processing and subsequent exploitation of customer data. Continue reading

6 Trade Show Sponsorship Ideas

SponsorshipsThere are traditional sponsorship opportunities that show organizers have been successfully using to boost their show revenue for years. These include sponsorship of badges/lanyards, show directory, banners, and signage to name a few. These avenues are not going anywhere, but as technology evolves more sponsorship opportunities present themselves. The key is finding new opportunities that benefit all stakeholders (organizers, attendees and exhibitors). Below are a few examples that have benefits to all parties involved:

1.  Apps – I was at IAEE’s Expo! Expo! show last December, and it seemed that every other booth was a company that had something to do with Apps. Apps are here to stay, and their increased use at shows is prime real estate for a sponsor. Continue reading

Free Lead Retrieval?

QR Code Lead RetrievalI recently talked to a show organizer who provides lead retrieval to his exhibitors for free. He said they want to provide a higher value experience to the exhibitors. When I asked him how he does it, I expected to hear that he hires someone and covers the bill. I was shocked to hear that he handles the whole process on his own.

He starts by printing all of the attendees’ contact information into a QR code on the badge. He said the technological side of printing the badges is not too difficult. Continue reading

Why Your LinkedIn Posts Have Disappeared

Question MarksI read this last week from Laura Donovan, a social media expert at The Word Pro.  I thought it was interesting and she said I could share it.  Has anything like this ever happened to you on LinkedIn or Facebook?

Why Your LinkedIn Posts Have Disappeared

Last week, when my colleague posted to one of her groups on LinkedIn, the comment disappeared.  Then she noticed that when she posted anything to any of her groups, nothing published.  When she clicked on “Your Activity” under her picture in one of her groups, she found that her posts to that group were in “moderation.”  After doing a little investigating she discovered that when a moderator feels that someone has posted something that breaks the group’s rules, that moderator can put the member into “moderation.” That wouldn’t be so bad, except that once one moderator does this, nothing that member posts to any of her groups will be published until that group’s moderator allows it.  Because so few moderators go through posts marked for moderation. In essence, the member becomes invisible to all of her groups.  If my colleague was spamming, this treatment would be deserved. However, her infraction was to put up an interesting article (not written by her) without a “discussion question.”  The group requires a “discussion question.”  Not a huge infraction, but one that apparently earned the wrath of the moderator. Continue reading

Top 10 Event Technology Trends for 2014

Tradeshow Floor PictureI just read this article on the TSNN website about their predictions for the top 10 event technology trends for 2014.  What do you think?

1.  Organizers will seek integrated solutions – As technology becomes more prominent within the event industry, customers will have higher expectations of the services that their suppliers provide, and seek integrated solutions for registration, online mapping, mobile apps and audience response.

2.   Windows Phone will be the heir to BlackBerry – While many consumers are using iPhone and Android devices, corporate IT departments have been much slower to progress. This is partly because of the high security risk they attribute to iOS and Android platforms, and will see Windows Phone as a way to retain control of corporate networks, in a user-friendly manner. Gartner reports a market share increase of 2.3% to 6.3% from 2012 to 2013. Thus, there will be a higher requirement to cater for Windows Phone with native event apps for the best user experience. Continue reading