There is no shortage of tools available for exhibitors to market their presence at a trade show. In the past exhibitors only had available a 50 to 100-word description in the printed show directory. Now with digital directories, they can upload photos, brochures, videos and white papers. The sky is the limit.
But every event organizer knows, getting exhibitors to completely fill out their profiles and upload all that great information is a struggle. It’s frustrating because attendees need that information to plan their time at your event. Exhibitors need to give attendees that information if they are to see a return on their investment in your show. Like it or not, when the exhibitor fails, they tend to blame it on you, the show organizer.
Here are some ways you might be able to convince your exhibitors to complete those profiles.
Contests and Incentives
You’d think making more sales would be incentive enough but sometimes you need to up the ante. You might enter exhibitors in a raffle for each section of their profile they complete. Maybe it’s one entry for filling in their company description and uploading their logo. Give two entries for every video they upload. Offer prizes that will motivate them.
• First appointments to reserve and select booth space for next year.
• Free show services (vacuuming, lead retrieval device, plants, booth photography)
• Upgrade to padded carpeting
• Free attendee mailing
• Feature in attendee newsletter
• Free drayage
Why not show the offending exhibitor what their profile looks like next to a competitor’s filled out profile? Just a simple note that says, “If you were an attendee looking for accounting software, which booth would you head to first?” Then, just to be sure they have no excuses, give them the link to log in and complete their profile.
Show Them the Data
Hopefully, you have a system that allows you to track activity on exhibitors’ profiles. You should be able to track how many views a profile receives and how many actions (downloading PDFs, viewing videos, opening pictures) each viewer took. Explain how attendees use the system to look for exhibitors. Share statistics on how many actions incomplete profiles vs. complete profiles receive.
It’s Not Them; It’s You
If you notice that very few exhibitors are completing their profiles you have to ask yourself, is it too complicated? If the system is not easy to figure out, your exhibitors will simply give up. Try sending step-by-step instructions or screen shots of how to complete just one aspect of their profile each week. Include the time that particular step will take. For example, “How To Upload Videos” (time to complete - 15 minutes).
Chances are your exhibitor contact does not have all the information available and must enlist the help of other departments or people. Make it easier for your contact to manage the information needed by creating a checklist they can use. Include what pieces of information are needed. Leave a space for the person responsible for providing that information and a date it is due. Include a checkbox for when the task is complete or overdue. Sure, they could do it themselves, but why risk it.
Is all this effort worth it? Absolutely. Ultimately these profiles are a tool for your attendees. You are making their experience better by providing them with all the information they need when planning their trade show floor schedule. The more booths they visit, the more successful your exhibitors are, and successful exhibitors are returning exhibitors.