Meeting Planners – How to Use Direct Mail Marketing

Meeting Planners - How to Use Direct Mail MarketingEvery year, thousands of different association conventions, group meetings, and shows take place in convention centers and large halls around the country, and meeting planners make it all happen. These focus solely on introducing new products, technologies, and services to people involved in particular industries. Essentially, it’s all about marketing. The people who organize the booths, tables, and displays at these events for different companies and organizations are meeting planners, and they are involved with many different types of marketing methods. One of the largest and most popular is direct mail marketing.

Convention and Events

While meeting planners may do everything from deciding what color tablecloth should go under the display to the organization of the production of professional-quality video messages to be played during the event, their main goal is to attract as much attention as possible and gather contact information for future marketing purposes. To satisfy both goals, a direct mail list is the answer.

Once the table or booth is booked at an association convention, the meeting planner needs to get people to come look at it during the open hours of the event. Using a direct mail list a one or two months and again a few weeks prior to the event means more people will come to find the display in particular. As people stroll by the display on the event days, capturing their interest and their data means future opportunities to make a sale or get a signup.

Tips for Marketing Association Convention and Events Before the Date

Proper planning requires an early start. Large or small, events like conventions or B2B or public meetings have multiple facets that need attention. These range from how the table or booth will look to the people passing by, whether you will use digital media or not, if you can become a speaker at the event or have a script ready to go at the booth itself, and what giveaways, promotional materials, or information you will hand out. Planning all of these things correctly means the difference between association convention success and watching people hurry by on their way to the bathrooms all day.

The most important thing a meeting planner must consider is how to get people interested in the particular table or booth before the convention doors even open. Businesses want people coming to the convention to see what they have to offer in particular. The right direct mail list combined with an attention-grabbing letter or postcard can make this happen.

How would meeting planners get a list like this? The first potential method is to use an already existing list that the company compiled from their leads, customers, and clients in the past. Once someone made a purchase or hired someone to do a job, chances are they are still interested in coming back for more. Of course, this depends on the quality of the product and customer service they received. This in-house list represents the best chance a meeting planner has to get people to the convention booth.

Traffic at the meeting should not be limited to people who have already done business with the company or organization, however. There will be hundreds or thousands of people strolling past the display and catching their eye is important. Sending out a postcard, letter, or email blast to the most highly targeted direct mail list will boost not only traffic that stops to learn more, but also the chances of attracting future customers and clients.

Once you have a steady stream of traffic visiting the association convention specifically to look at the meeting planner’s well-designed booth or table, you need a way to capture their information to continue the business to business relationship after the event is over. Direct mail to the rescue once again.

Tips for Meeting Planners Who Want to Build a Direct Mail Marketing List

Build a new direct mail list of interested people with efficient data-collection methods. Augment the names you collect with additional B2B lists bought or rented from a list broker like Bethesda List Center.

1 – Set up an easy way for booth visitors to give their contact information. An old-fashioned method that may still work for some industries is a guest book and pen laid out near the front or side of the table. Invite everyone to sign it and add their phone number, email address, or physical office address.

Many people may not want to take the time to write this all out by hand. Some will not want their personal or professional information visible to everyone who also signs the book. Meeting planners understand this and usually opt for a tablet or laptop on the table. A simple contact information database with signup screen can be used to collect information privately and securely. It will even be in the best format for use later during a direct mail marketing campaign.

2 – Incentivize signups to encourage more people to give their information. Things like promotional pens and keychains are fine freebie giveaways at an association convention, but they will not convince anyone to permit a newsletter subscription or future marketing contact. Give discounts, coupons, free items of value instead. This can range from a sample of a food product from a new organic snack business to 20% off the first order with a plumbing supply company.

Meeting planners who get the job of designing an entire booth or table presentation for an upcoming association presentation need to handle a vast array of different tasks. One task responsible for greater ongoing success of the company who is presenting at the event is building a direct mail list.

convention and eventsStarting with an in-house list of current customers, clients, and B2B contacts helps attract more attention to the convention itself and will give a boost to the popularity of the display. Gathering contact information from more visitors means more lead generation and increased chance of landing new business accounts. When it comes to marketing your company or professional offer at a meeting, convention, or another event, understanding how to get attention and keep it far into the future makes sense. Direct mail marketing helps meeting planners tackle both aspects of a successful association what they pay experience.

David James

President, Bethesda List Center, Inc + Bethesda Emedia Marketing.