You’ve been asked the question a million times, “I built it. Why didn’t they come?”

Even when your show’s attendance numbers soar, an exhibitor will want answers as to why they alone didn’t get the visits they wanted. When you ask how they promoted their booth in the first place, you get a deer-in-the-headlights dumbfounded stare that immediately tells you they did nothing to promote their booth ahead of time.

One of the best ways to attract new potential attendees to your show is to ensure your exhibitors are promoting their booth to their customers and contacts. You are probably already providing them marketing tools, but are you making it a point to encourage and guide your exhibitors to pre-promote their booths?

Many tradeshows are prescheduling communication tactics through a variety of channels to help their exhibitors get more active in promoting their show.  One of our clients, the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor TradeshowSM and Conference (SHOT Show) recently launched an Exhibitor Academy. For two and half days, their exhibitors were able to meet directly with show staff and learn information to make the entire show experience more fluid and successful for both operations and marketing. Presentations on increasing media attention as well as promoting their booths were part of the Academy. The SHOT Show’s exhibitors left the event with clear tools to maximize their booth presence.

While your organization may not be able to hold an onsite academy, there are several other ways to keep booth promotions top of mind for your exhibitors:

  • Webinars — Build a sense of community with your exhibitors by allowing them to interact with you live through an online webinar. You can create a presentation, or share your computer screen to walk them through marketing tools. CSG creates an Exhibitor Marketing Toolkit for many of our clients, and a webinar is an excellent format to instruct them firsthand on the clever, customized tools included.
  • Instructional Video — Post a video to your website that shows successful marketing examples or screencasts of marketing tools in use. The video can be simple, low-cost and short.
  • Tip of the Month — Include a promotional tip each month in your exhibitor email communications/newsletters.  Remind them to include their booth number on everything: print ads, web ads, press releases, invoice statements, etc.

Breakdown marketing tactics for exhibitors, show them how to do it, and keep it simple. You will be surprised by how many will listen, comply and be impressed by their increased onsite booth visits.