Are live business-to-business events like trade shows and conferences dying out in the digital age? Not really. Thousands and thousands of small and large trade shows and conferences are held each year around the globe. Some may have had lower attendance or fewer exhibitors, but in general, this industry has done actually quite well. Trade shows and conferences still present an invaluable opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services, and to monitor trends. They also provide a great networking platform.
When planning and organizing your small trade show or conference, you keep in mind that it is not of much worth without attendees. Now, the sheer number is not your only issue. The right attendees are the lifeblood of any such successful event. So how do you make the most of your trade show or conference, especially on a tight budget? Today, there are a few things here you can do right now.
Mobilize Your Attendees
If this is not your very first event, your past attendees are your great asset. Think of them as a channel. Encourage them to spread the word and reward them if they bring in another registration. You will also want to work with the people that have already registered. They are the ones that are interested and going, right? So make them your passionate advocates.
Badges Are a Waste Of Money
You should definitely not waste your money on attendee badges. If you are like most people, me included, you just throw it away right after the event. Maybe still in the building since you are really not keen on being seen running around the city with that on your neck. I don’t even pay attention to what is written on the lanyards. Not talking about the back of the badge that is completely ignored, too.
Sell Special Tickets …
Want mixing things up a bit? Yeah, I like you. Special tickets can do miracles for your event promotion. Take the “Early Bird” tickets for instance. This would be a limited number of discounted tickets to reward people for acting fast. People save money and you get some early sales. You can get creative with “VIP” tickets. These tickets would cost more, but a small group of people who buy them get special privileges. Provide them better seating, a faster way inside the venue, and serve those people some food and drinks. Entice people to bring their colleagues along. Make it cheaper to buy multiple tickets with “Group” tickets.
… Digital Tickets
I am sure third-party ticketing platforms make your tickets sales easy. But don’t be nuts. Why should they know that this guy with a valid credit card likes to go to your event? Don’t give up a lot of your data for nothing in return. You actually even pay them, right? A simple online shop site you own can do a lot more for you. Digital entry tickets are simple, seamless, and fast. People will not worry about losing a physical ticket or realizing the ticket is left at home when arriving at the venue. Such a digital entry ticket is saved in the mobile wallet and that is the most convenient and flexible way I know for people to store, manage, and validate it. I can view and present the digital entry ticket on my mobile phone, even if I lose internet access.
The mobile wallets such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay enable you to have an ongoing supportive connection to your attendees. Digital entry tickets for the mobile wallet are interactive and dynamic. You can provide people useful real-time information. Clickable links on the digital entry ticket backside allow people to check the schedule, read about highlights, download the attendee guide, or locate the venue conveniently directly from their mobile phone. And when you need to contact all attendees at once, all that you have to do is to send a single message. This way, people can instantly be informed about important changes.
Upon arriving at your event, the mobile wallet already suggests people the right digital entry ticket straight on the lock screen of the mobile phone. People don’t have to look for anything. They just tap and show to scan on the mobile phone. People will love them!
Ladislav Poledna inspires readers to “Become Digital” by publishing materials about digital marketing in his Prague Monitor column and aptly named blog. He has built a career around successful relationships and innovation for the past two decades. At present, Ladislav manages the Power Solutions division of a Fortune 1000 company in Central and Eastern Europe and also oversees operations of the producer’s regional office in Prague. Recently, he co-founded a B-to-B software service company making mobile marketing affordable and easy to use. Ladislav’s philanthropic contribution consists of a long-term relationship with a charity focused on funding dreams for people with muscular dystrophy.
Mobile phones are long becoming the main “screen” in peoples’ lives. Mobile marketing is no longer an innovation but a part of important decisions. Read articles on mobile marketing to get inspired on how to connect with people where they spend a lot of their time. Become Digital.