Over and over, surveys show that the quantity of qualified prospects and customers is the major factor in value and return on investment for exhibitors. Since exhibit sales are the primary revenue source for trade shows, filling the aisles with crowds of qualified buyers is an important metric for any show. A new survey, conducted by Lippman Connects, Exhibit Surveys Inc. and Trade Show Executive Survey delves into the topic of attendee acquisition, the strategies used by event organizers and the costs associated.
The survey, available through Lippman Connects, covers a lot of great data but the most
significant numbers are those related to marketing budgets and the cost to acquire attendees. According to the report summary published by Trade Show Executive, “Attendee promotion represents 14% of the average show’s total costs. An average of $308,561 is spent on attendee acquisition, or $32.66 per net attendee.” That doesn’t even include the cost of staffing associated with the efforts.
The survey also revealed that 39% of show organizers experienced no growth or an actual decline in attendance last year; not a great sign for the long-term prognosis of exhibitor retention and overall health of the show. If you want to avoid joining this group, we have a two part plan tailor made for you. And not only is it simple and easy to implement, saving your staff hours or weeks of work, InGo customers average a cost per acquisition of only $11, a savings of 65% on the average reported in the Lippmann study.
The bulk of the cost associated with attendee acquisition comes in the form of the need to market to tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of prospects to identify the particular people who are qualified buyers for your exhibitors. Traditional tools, like telemarketing and direct mail, and even many newer ones, like email blasts, SEO and digital ad placement, involve “spray and pray” tactics - get my message to as many people as possible and hope that not only does it reach the right people, the message is convincing enough to get them to take action. All this is highly labor intensive and these tools, while never perfect, are struggling to provide even the results they used to.
To solve this problem, we need to ask the question, “Where are these qualified buyers and how do I reach them?” The answer - they are in the networks of your current attendees. Your current audience of qualified buyers are connected on social media to many others in their industry, including current colleagues, past colleagues, and connections from other events.
So, how can you reach these unknown qualified attendees? Let your attendees do the marketing for you! By mobilizing advocates for your event, you can use the power of social media to identify the qualified candidates in your attendees networks and convince them to attend your event. Here’s a more in-depth look at how to mobilize advocates for your event.
Get Your Exhibitors Involved
Your exhibitors are investing a lot in booking space at your event. What better way to show them value than to give them the tools they need to get the most ROI out of your event. Here’s three tools that are integral to the InGo Suite that do just that.
1. Who’s In
By installing Who’s In on your home page and registration pathways, you can show exhibitors who is registered to attend. They can search for their customers or potential customers or even by target titles. This means they can reach out before the event to schedule time with their best customers and prospects, maximizing their ROI. (By the way, this is a great tool to help you sell more exhibitor space too.)
What if their customers are not registered to attend? The invites tab makes it easy for them to select their best customers and personally invite them to attend your event. With just one click, they can send messages directly to the social profiles of all their contacts not already attending to join them at the event.
3. Social Emails
InGo recommends sending 4-6 Social Emails per event and at least one of these should be to your exhibitors. These simple but effective emails allow you to nudge/remind/incentivize your exhibitors to invite their friends, contacts and colleagues to the event. Even better, with the InGo code snippets, they can see see who’s going, post about your event and invite their network, all right from their inbox.
By mobilizing your exhibitors to advocate for your event, both they and their customers achieve maximum value and you increase retention and growth rates for both metrics. That’s a win-win-win!
Ready to save money on your attendee acquisition costs.