Free Small Business Marketing Tip – Pre-Promote Your Trade Show 1 of 3

If you’ve ever spent $5,000–or more–to exhibit at a trade show and came away with half the leads–or less–that you forecast, then you know first-hand the pain of wasting your money and your time at an event where you know you should have snagged new customers or referrals.Before your next show, make sure you secure the pre-show attendee list. Then you can mail out a promotional offer to drive traffic to your booth. If your pre-show attendee list contains emails, then by all means send an email out, too.You may have to pay for the list. A moderate processing fee is fairly standard. But some trade shows try to turn the list into a profit center; they charge far more than needed to cover the actual data processing and administrative labor cost required to put that list in your hands. These shows may charge $500 or more for their pre-show list.Even at that price, you may find it worthwhile to pay it, if you are already committed to exhibiting at the show. But just remember that there are usually several show you can choose to exhibit at; and next year when you do a cost-benefits analysis of which ones you’ll spend your marketing money on, factor in both the availability and the cost of the pre-show attendee list into your decision-matrix.The physical make-up of the direct mail piece requires careful consideration. Simple and direct is usually best for a B-to-B mailing such as this; and a postcard, self mailer or letter will all work well. There is no use trying to create a full-blown direct mail package with letter, brochure, lift note and reply device. This specific sub-category of event-marketing promotion requires a brief, well-written format with an offer appropriate to the audience.One important note: make sure you mail your piece out first class, presort. This is no time to skimp on money and mail it out standard (third) class mail. Don’t do it! Yes, we are huge fans of standard class mail for general promotions: nine out of ten times standard class is your best direct mail option. But the timing of the trade-show correspondence is simply too critical. Your standard class piece that is mailed nationally may take up to three weeks to arrive in your prospects mailbox, and that’s just unacceptable for a B-to-B mailing with a time deadline like this one.The cost of every piece of mail that arrives after your prospect gets on the plane for the show is 100% wasted.Above we mentioned the importance of delivering the correct offer to the prospect. The next two articles address that topic. Because, you see, there are at least two different audiences out there.Remember: People (customers and employees) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + Brand (who you are) = Marketing Success.© 2006 Marketing Hawks