Your exhibitor marketing campaign should be designed to promote your exhibition and enhance positive interaction through carefully selected tasks and tactics. It includes all the marketing effort you implement to attract exhibitors to your event and maintain positive relations after it concludes.
An exhibitor marketing plan is just as important as your attendee marketing plan. Both target audiences are vital for ensuring your event is a success. We’ve put together some simple steps to help you start attracting exhibitors.
Step 1: Start planning early
You should start planning your exhibitor marketing campaign 6-12 months before the event. Most exhibitions begin selling floor space a year before the event. If you’re planning a brand-new exhibition and have no exhibitor connections from previous events, you may need to start planning earlier (14 months) to gain a strong interest from potential exhibitors.
Step 2: Analyse your company’s current situation
To effectively market towards your exhibitors, first you need to identify the qualities your event has that are worth showcasing. Define your event’s purpose to highlight the benefits it offers and how this sets it apart from any potential competitor events. You will need a strong understanding of what your event offers in order to persuade an exhibitor of its value. Once you have determined the events strengths and opportunities, decide how you will position this throughout your marketing. For example, if your events strength is your successful guest speakers, then your marketing could promote learning opportunities and growth.
Step 3: Define your target audience
Create a profile of your ideal target audience based on who you believe will find interest and benefit from what your expo can offer. You may have more than one primary target but be sure to identify all the audience’s you’ll be targeting in your marketing plan. You can define your target audience based on the type of company, job titles, size of company, geographic location, or the years of experience.
When defining your target audience, do your research to discover their problems and concerns to ensure your event can present them with the correct solutions and opportunities. Research your ideal exhibitor to find out what they want, then target that in your marketing. For example, if an exhibitor wants to grow their network, then promote the extra activities and networking opportunities your event offers.
Step 4: Determine your marketing goals
Before you can start implementing your marketing tactics you need to define what these efforts are aiming to achieve. Is your goal to increase exhibitor sales? Or to create positive relationships with exhibitors? Your goal will impact how you choose to target your audience and with what message. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relatable and timely.
Step 5: Choose marketing tactics
Your marketing tactics cover how you will achieve your marketing goal and reach your exhibitors. Complete research on your target exhibitor to find out where they go for information and which tactics they will respond well to. For example, a long-running, corporate exhibitor may not respond to social media tactics the same way that a young, start-up company might. Your marketing tactics will be different for exhibitors who have previously been exposed to your event, and those who haven’t.
Remember to create a logo and a slogan for your expo and include this in your email signatures. You can also print flyers and include these with all your external mail. A great way to get started on promoting your expo is to invest in social media and website content. This will increase your engagement rate and generate hype for your event. Check out this piece from Eventbrite on how you can promote your event on social media in 12 simple steps.
Step 6: Set a budget
Exhibitor marketing should be a priority. You will need to spend some money to make some money. Ensure you have a marketing trained individual, or team, who can coordinate and manage the campaign. Set a budget that suits what you hope to achieve and can realistically afford. You may need to adjust your tactics to stay within budget.
There are different tactics you can use that cost less than others. Low cost marketing tactics include email marketing, social media and landing pages. Cost associated tactics include direct mail, staff time for phone calls and advertisement banners on websites or publications.
Step 7: Running the campaign
Your marketing campaign needs to run during and after the event. When your campaign first comes into action, create written schedules that will help your staff track tasks. Put in place methods to measure your efforts and success. Know what is important to your exhibitors and stick to messaging that suits. Focus on exhibitors that respond to your marketing efforts and leave the exhibitions that don’t until another time.
Developing a marketing campaign isn’t always easy – it involves research, careful consideration and thinking outside the box. Following this step-by-step process will help the process unfold smoothly and allow you to create a plan that suits your exhibitors. For more information on marketing campaigns or how to attract exhibitors, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our blog for more related content.