For many show management teams, the task of selling out an exhibit floor is an all-consuming process, so the idea of additional revenue generation falls by the wayside or lands squarely in the lap of the sponsorship team. Allowing exhibitors to enhance their online listings is a great way to give your exhibitors extended coverage and improve the attendee experience.
Common enhancements are extended length profile listings, press releases, and additional space for logos and branding. Think of the last time you visited a major retail website like Amazon. If you search for any given product, you most likely skipped by the results with minimal details and went straight for the one with photos, specifications, and reviews. Attendees react to exhibitor listings in the same way. If your exhibitors don’t update these in advance, chances are attendees won’t spend much time or energy on learning about their products.
Below, I have assembled a list of six tips that can help you generate additional revenue from enhanced exhibitor listings easily and efficiently.
1. Put the candy in the check-out aisle
Let’s face it, once you have secured a contract for exhibit space, it can be difficult to revisit the sales process with the average exhibitor. One of the easiest ways to draw their attention to additional opportunities is to list them directly on the exhibit space application. I personally employed this method with a one-time attendee list rental and saw our revenue from that opportunity almost triple in the first year it was added to the contract.
2. Seeing is believing
Generally, the person buying the booth isn’t necessarily the person handling the marketing, but if you provide a side-by-side comparison of a standard listing next to one decked out with enhanced content, it is hard to deny the difference in impact. If you are using an online space application, it is very easy to link out to a screen shot of a great example.
3. Lead by example
Some people need to see someone else take the first step toward a new trend. Try applying some of your listing enhancements to your own association’s booth or offer to help some of your top sponsors build their listings. Now you have a great, real-life demo listing to show your other exhibitors and you have helped leverage these add-ons to improve visibility for your association and partners.
4. Try before you buy
If this is your first year offering a new option, try giving it for free or at a dramatically reduced rate the first year. Everyone loves something free and this will give you a foot in the door with an otherwise trigger-shy audience. Of course, you should be very clear with your exhibitors that this is a new, trial phase so they don’t have sticker shock in year two.
5. Offer incentives
Sometimes you have to allow some leeway for the adoption curve, both on the exhibitor and attendee side. In year one, the exhibitor may not be prepared to put their best marketing foot forward in this new medium and attendees may not be on the lookout for enhanced content. For this reason, it can be helpful to offer a multi-year rate to ensure that exhibitors don’t throw in the towel after the first attempt. This also gives you the chance to revisit everyone’s listings, as well as what your buying audience responded to, and make helpful suggestions for improvement for the following year.
6. The proof is in the pudding
Showing exhibitors the shiny new listing they could have and even helping them build it is great, but people want to quantify the value they gain from their purchases. Running analytics from your tradeshow website and registration companies can give you tangible proof of the increase in traffic to exhibitors’ online profiles and tradeshow booth spaces. In some instances, I have seen this traffic increase two or three-fold based on adding enhanced content to an online listing.