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PLANNING AN EXHIBIT OR EVENT? Here’s how to use pre-show mailers to boost attendance and ROI

I’ve designed more pre-show mailers and post-show mailings over the years than I can possibly count. And I know that the return on these mailings is well worth the cost as long as they are strategic, support the company’s brand and have a message that’s meaningful to the audience. To start with, your mailer should do three things:

• Get read (otherwise you’ve just wasted production costs and postage)
• Get people to come to the booth (otherwise you’ve just wasted production costs and postage)
• Get customer experience off to a positive start by presenting your brand as more beneficial to consumers than the completion.

Here are five steps to create an effective pre-show mailer that will do all of the above:

1. Create visual interest that emotionally involves the recipient
A pre-show mailer for a business event should still have a suggestion that attending will be an enjoyable experience. To get your postcard or self-mailer looked at and remembered, use a visual that touches the recipient’s emotional core. Whatever image you choose, it shouldn’t just be a picture but a visual essay that makes people think about the topic and provoke their curiosity about your company.

Another option is to feature a picture of your give-away or sweepstakes prize. But again, think of the visual as a chance to engage the viewer’s imagination not just fill the page. It’s a scientific fact that ALL buying decisions are made by the emotional side of our brain. That’s why involving a customer’s emotions is ALWAYS the key to getting them to make a decision in your favor.

2. Give attendees a specific reason to learn more about your brand
The headline and copy should give the reader a reason for wanting to learn more about your product by visiting your booth. It should be clever and memorable but above all, it should mention an advantageous benefit that your brand offers.

Syngenta Exhibit Pre-Show Mailer

3. Announce that there’s a bonus for showing up
Offer a reward to the booth visitor for returning the announcement they get in the mail. Whether it’s a giveaway or entrance into a sweepstakes, this bonus serves as an added reason to come to the booth. Plus, you can use the returned cards to develop a list of people, their titles, companies and addresses that you can refer to when making follow up sales calls. Of course, if someone wants a giveaway and doesn’t have an announcement card they should be given a gift. But ask for their business card so you can use that contact information to add to your list.

4. Include a URL to a digital landing page about the event in the pre-show mailer.
Develop a landing page for the pre-show mailer that educates, engages and develops your leads prior to your event then set off the URL to this page on the mailer so it can’t be missed. Using appealing visuals and copy that proclaims the product’s main benefits, your URL will be a link to a 24/7 sales tool – before, during and after the event. Best of all, this landing page can be accessed by recipients whether they attend the event – or not.

5. Enhance customer experience with your mailer as well as your trade show display.
A customer’s experience with your brand is in play every time they see your company mentioned, your brand displayed or receive any of your marketing material. A pre-show mailer is part of that equation! It’s a chance for you to demonstrate the quality of your brand quickly in a highly cost-effective format. Don’t squander this opportunity or, worse yet, create a bad impression by sending out a pre-show mailer that doesn’t show you and your company best advantages.

Good luck! And enjoy your event!

– Michele Allen, Principal, Crux Creative

Crux Creative has over twenty years of experience strategizing, planning, designing and developing exhibit graphics, pre-show mailers, landing pages and websites for tradeshow exhibits and events for exhibit companies and corporations all over the country. Contact us today to have us help design a strategy to get qualified visitors to your exhibit or event. Contact Michele Allen with Crux Creative at 262.885.6084 for more information.


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Michele Allen

With over 30 years of design and marketing experience, I founded Crux in 2005, a 360° Creative and Marketing Agency, catering to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits. Specializing in experiential spaces, museums, brand development, and digital marketing, I excel in crafting memorable experiences while emphasizing the significance of authentic brand communication. I offer expertise in Brand Development, Trade Show Exhibits, Museums, Corporate Spaces, Interactives & VR/AR, and Digital Marketing, committed to tailored support and guidance.