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5 digital marketing tips for exhibition marketers to increase attendance

5 digital marketing tips for exhibition marketers to increase attendance

Turning online communities into sold out shows

by Sian Bennett
Head of Music and Events
4th September 2018
In a growing industry of trade shows and exhibitions, how do you convince people to attend yours? Given that most people who attend exhibitions will spend the majority of their time on social media and digital platforms engaging with their fellow community - digital marketing is more important than ever.

Our top 5 tips for your exhibition marketing campaign...

1. Encouraging word of mouth marketing through digital

Whether your hobby is computer gaming or collecting vintage football stickers - you will rarely participate in this alone. The chances are that you enjoy this with a group of friends or an online community. And what’s the cheapest way to entice that group into attending your event? Get their friends to tell them about it!

Incentivising word of mouth marketing can create a ‘snowball’ effect within your target community. Ambassador schemes are the perfect way to turn your potential customers into digital ambassadors for your event, providing them with commission for tickets they sell and also extra incentives such as vouchers for completing tasks such as sharing social posts or sending Facebook event invites to their friends.

Rewarding social engagement mechanisms is also effective. For example, offering people the chance to win tickets for their friends if they tag them in the post is a great way of increasing organic reach and awareness about your event.

2. Targeting video consumption

Ever got stuck in a worm-hole of videos related to your favourite hobby? The likelihood is that your audience does too. YouTube advertising is the perfect way to capture your audience’s attention whilst they’re browsing through industry related content. We recently ran a YouTube pre-roll campaign for the Northern Angling Show which resulted in over 129,000 video views, a view-through rate of 34.43% with a cost per view of just £0.002!

3. Spark a debate, create a community

Your exhibition is a place for like-minded people to meet and interact about their favourite interest. How can you translate this engagement into your marketing campaign? Make your social channels a hub to spark debate, discussions and thoughts on the latest trends, topics, technologies... the list is endless! A customer is not likely to follow your social page to look at ticket warnings, but they are likely to follow your page to find out the latest industry news. Try inviting industry influencers to host your weekly podcasts, host regular polls to encourage your audience to vote on their favourite topic, or promote user generated content by inviting your followers to send their favourite memories. Soon enough your social community will become regular attendees!

4. Who doesn’t love a discount?

Running a membership or registration campaign is a great way of building up a valuable database during your marketing campaign. Audiences highly engaged with your industry will have high potential to be interested in your exhibition, so offering exclusive rewards as an incentive to register can be very effective for future remarketing. This can also provide a way to integrate your marketing campaign with your sponsors and traders, offering awareness of their brand through special discount offers, interviews and merchandise give-aways.


5. Ho, ho ho…

Struggling for a Christmas present for a loved one? The go-to inspiration for gifts is often based around hobbies and interests - why not send them to an exhibition full of their favourite gadgets and goodies? Developing a Christmas campaign to promote tickets and packages targeted to wives, husbands, children or friends of your potential attendee could create a spike in sales for your exhibition during the festive period - and cross one present off their Christmas to-do list! We’d recommend trialling Amazon’s advertising platform to advertise exhibition tickets during the festive period as shoppers are browsing.
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