Direct Mail Still Works for Trade Shows.


Believe it or not.

 Trade Show Visitors

By: Gordon Conner


It’s the electronic age. If you want to do anything with marketing, it must be done digitally, right? If you want to distribute information, you have to do it on the web, with website content, blog posts and social media sharing. So why go to a trade show? No one wants to trapes all over a convention center and leave with sore feet. Let’s just go sit in Starbucks and read all about it on our smart phones. Yeah, it’s a different world.

But is it really? How much do you really learn about that new software package by looking at a picture on it’s website. And, how can you really appreciate the size of a warehousing system that’s as tall as Madison Square Garden. So, sometimes you just have to go put on your running shoes and go to the trade show. And how are you going to know it’s the right show for you. Because you probably received a nifty direct mail piece, or two, from one of the exhibitors, inviting you to visit with them when you get there.

In this digital world of electronic communications and gadgets, direct mail is still one of the most used methods for trade show marketing. In fact, today direct mail averages 30 percent of advertising budgets being spent to attract trade show attendees. Even “snail Mail” is still highly affective a getting folks to the show.

How to make it work.

 Trade Show Giveaways.

So the exhibitor doesn’t just send out a postcard and hope to see folks at the show. They have to start about 4 weeks out and create some awareness. Send it to all of their customers and prospects. That list is extremely important for them to be successful. They need to let ’em know they’re on the way. Put it on your calendar. And start thinking about what you can expect to see and learn at the show. Then, about 2 weeks out, they hit you again. Now, they’re getting you excited. Getting the non-planners to start planning. Time’s gettin’ close. With today’s technology advancements in printing, they can send different versions for different audiences. Split it up all they want. You and your spouse may each get a piece. A different piece. Then send you something. Like a flash drive with some really good information. Here’s the thing about freebies. This is something you can touch and feel. They can never do that on the Internet. How about some complimentary tickets? Offer you something free when you visit their booth.

And speaking of that booth. Count on them knocking your socks off with that. Make the graphics BIG! Don’t dilute the message with a whole bunch of little stuff. You will just glaze over that. They’ll make it all tie-together. The direct mail, the letters, the freebies, the booth, and even their attire. It’s all stacked against you.

And, they’ll track it all. They need a database of customers, response rates, and what got the most attention. Direct mail still has its place in the trade show world. And it’s an important role. So don’t get caught up in the hi-tech world thinking that’s what’s necessary to make the show work. The tried and true methods can still be very effective, especially when combined with some of today’s innovations to boost response rates. Direct mail can be effective and fun. After all, it got you there.

If you need some help with putting your message in front of this market, give me a call.


About the Author

gordon-at-st-john[2] Gordon Conner is a Copywriter, content writer and blogger who writes “Snappy Copy That Sells Stuff”. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at or


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