Nick McCallion is the President of Trade Show Ready, a 15-year-old agency that specializes in generating revenue solely for trade shows with services that encompass data mining, attendee acquisition, exhibitor leads, membership renewals and social media solutions.
The Four Key Selling Points to Increase Event Attendance
All trade shows, conferences and other events primarily exist for one reason: to allow the opportunity for face-to-face selling between attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. Of course, there are other reasons for events, such as education, but a trade show is its own ecosystem and its goal is to have growth with the perfect balance of qualified attendees and exhibitors. For the purposes of this article, the word “exhibitors” also includes sponsors.
How do I increase my event attendance on a consistent basis? Take a look at the four key selling points that are outlined below and you might find an answer or at least some tidbits of knowledge.
Let’s disregard the specific market your trade show addresses for the time being, as these four selling points can be implemented as an outline, with your branding and call to action (COA) added to further the success of your efforts.
Networking: One important reason for potential attendees to attend your trade show is the perceived level of opportunity for networking with peers and meeting new contacts. If a person does not feel that the expenditure of their resources will yield a greater Return on Experience (ROE) for networking, and all other aspects of the show, he or she is not likely to attend.
Education: The second key for selling to attendees is education, especially for shows in the technical and medical fields. Remember, you have to offer enough benefit for a person to leave their place of work, invest in the costs related to your event and compete with anything else that could be an investment of their time. Offering Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) brings credibility to the educational portions of your show and is a vital sales component.
Technology: Regardless of your industry, or if your show is independent or association-based, technology is at the heart of the event. New and emerging technologies must be communicated to potential attendees, as well as how these technologies will assist them on a daily basis. The more research (or the more you know) about each potential attendee and their organization, the better you can sell specific benefits in order to get the registrations and aisle density that you desire.
Venue: The fourth key to success is venue. Why do you think cities like Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando do so well as trade show locations? People like to go there and the cities have worked very diligently to build a great reputation. Not many people want to go to Arizona in the Summer nor Minnesota in the Winter. Some shows like to stay in one locale, while others move on a regular basis. Regardless of your show’s location, you must communicate the highlights of that city.
In conclusion, if you weave a compelling story that combines all four of the key selling points while making the message as specific as possible to your potential attendee, you will greatly increase your overall event attendance. This should be incorporated into all forms of attendee communication, including phone, email, print and social media.