E-marketing insights
for B2B bankers from Vince DiPaolo
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February 2006
E-mail can boost trade show performance

In addition to being an effective marketing tool on its own, e-mail is driving the performance of other more traditional marketing vehicles like trade shows.

Recent statistics from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) underscore the importance of doing pre-show promotions to improve performance.

For instance, one study reveals that business-to-business (B2B) attendees typically plan their trade show time well in advance. Some 76% of trade show attendees responding to the survey said they use pre-show information to determine how they will spend their time at the event. This statistic makes clear the competitive advantage of capturing the interest of prospective attendees as early as possible.

Furthermore, a CEIR study conducted by Deloitte & Touche found that exhibitors investing in pre-show advertising and promotions saw their "attraction efficiency" rise 46%.

The study's attraction efficiency calculation factored in both the quantity and quality of the audiences that exhibitors were able to attract to their booths. Conversion of these audiences to "hot leads" was 50% higher for companies that did pre-show promotion compared to those that didn't.

So, how can you use e-mail to do effective pre-show promotion? One suggestion is to create a mini Web site devoted exclusively to your involvement in the upcoming show.

Include a link to the site in your pre-show e-mail correspondence with clients and prospects. If you will be presenting, show pictures of the speaker(s) and highlight relevant topics to be covered. If you will be exhibiting, promote the benefits of coming to your booth and/or offer incentives to do so. This can help create an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement and ultimately should result in a more productive show.

Electronic invitations

Companies like eRSVP (www.ersvp.com) offer another exciting way to utilize e-mail for pre-show promotions: the electronic invitation.

eRSVP creates trackable invitations that you can personalize and e-mail to clients and prospects. Or, if you prefer, a company like eRSVP can send and track the invitations for you. Your e-invitation should mirror the look of your show presence; create excitement about your booth, session or event; and allow recipients to simply "click in" their RSVP.

SCI e-marketing takes the e-invitation to the next level by incorporating sound and motion. The agency recently launched a series of e-invitations for Nortel, a B2B IT communications company. The invitations were sent via e-mail to Nortel's strategic partners. The campaign generated qualified leads from 55.6% of the attendees receiving invitations, the company says. View a sample e-invitation at the company's Web site.

Targeted headlines in your e-mail messages can be helpful in pre-qualifying attendees. Using a headline like "Attention CFOs – see how the new online document imaging tool is streamlining accounts receivable" can both capture the attention of your target audience and give recipients an incentive to visit your booth.

Post-show promotion

Ruth P. Stevens, e-marketing consultant and author of Trade Show and Event Marketing (www.ruthstevens.com), says "e-mail is the most efficient means for post-show follow-up communications." You can make good use of the e-mail addresses you collect during the event by e-mailing booth visitors personalized thank-you notes, invitations to subscribe to your newsletter and show-related press releases.

Post-show surveys are another effective follow-up tool. E-mail surveys are relatively inexpensive, highly interactive and can help maintain a dialogue between you and attendees. Two such online data collection companies are www.zoomerang.com and www.surveymonkey.com. If you are using an ESP (e-mail service provider) like ExactTarget (www.exacttarget.com), you will find you have the ability to conduct the survey within the body of your e-mail message at no additional charge.

How exhibitors have changed their approach to trade shows in the last year

Michael Hughes, Associate Publisher of Tradeshow Week, cites these trends:

  • More involvement in demonstrations, giveaways, presentations and sponsorships
  • Better pre-show and on-site marketing
  • Big exhibitors are getting even bigger in size.
  • Focus on value (return on investment)
  • Shift from public relations to selling
  • Link to corporate Web site - more onsite sales
  • More advance marketing, more use of the Internet
  • More participation in events off the exhibit floor
  • More sponsorships and hosting more parties/events
  • Attending fewer shows but increasing exposure at the quality shows

 . . .
FPS regularly works with financial services companies to maximize the impact of their client communications, including e-mail and online communications. To find out how we can help you develop effective strategies for communicating with corporate financial executives, contact FPS President Vince DiPaolo at 847-501-4120 or [email protected]. You can also write him at the following address:

Financial Publishing Services Co.
464 Central Avenue
Suite 8
Northfield, IL 60093

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