ASAE Annual Exhibitors Miss Another Opportunity

post-show exhibitor emails

Yesterday, one of my friends started a conversation on Facebook about all the post-show emails sent by ASAE Annual exhibitors. We’re not receiving nearly the deluge of emails that go out before the show, but, once again, many of these emails are missing the mark.

Segment your list.

You scanned badges. You know the names of the attendees who visited your booth during the show. Right? So why are you telling someone who didn’t come to your booth:

“Thanks so much for stopping by our booth at ASAE in Detroit. We enjoyed visiting with you.”

How do you think an email like that goes over with an association exec who didn’t visit your booth? I’ll tell you: not well. It’s a sloppy and lazy example of the “spray and pray” tactic.

Next time, segment your list. Send a “thank you” email to the attendees who really did stop by your booth and send a “sorry we didn’t get to meet” email to those who didn’t.

Offer value, not another sales pitch.

Only two post-show exhibitor emails offered anything of value.

  • One was titled, “How Associations Can Grow Membership and Generate More Revenue,” and linked to a blog post about one of their key take-aways from the conference.
  • The other was titled, “Association Challenges Uncovered at ASAE,” and linked to three posts about those challenges.

As I wrote in my post about pre-show exhibitor emails, you have been given access to an association exec’s inbox—don’t blow it. Use this opportunity to be a resource. Don’t take advantage of that privilege by using it only as one more chance to sell.

Stop relying on drawings.

I understand you want to attract people to your booth, but how qualified are those leads who only visited because they want to win an Apple watch? And you’re still pushing that damn watch!

I really wonder how many association execs with decision-making authority notice who’s giving away prizes. They’re not going to the expo floor to enter drawings. They’re going to the expo floor to learn about the latest in online learning technology or mobile apps.

Become an ally.

The association executive crowd can sometimes be prickly about vendor outreach—if you’ve seen some of the discussions in ASAE’s Collaborate community, then you know what I mean. I wrote a post about a phrase that might sound familiar to Collaborate regulars: “No Vendors, Please.”

Why do so many association execs have this attitude? Because too many vendors don’t understand how to develop relationships with association execs. And, relationships are the foundation for sales.

Lead with value. Take a consultative approach. Be a source of information and education. Get to know your prospects—their challenges, problems, frustrations, and aspirations. Help them solve problems. Be a positive, valuable member of the association community.

If you’re going to send out blast emails, do it wisely. Sad to say, you will stand out if your emails deliver value to association executives because so few take that approach.

I hope any vendors out there take my suggestions in good spirit because I share them in goodwill. I’m on your side.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Bark)

Author: deirdrereid

Deirdre is a freelance writer for companies serving the association market, who after more than 20 years in the association and restaurant industries, is enjoying the good life as a ghostblogger and content marketing writer. Away from her laptop, you can find her walking in the woods, doing yoga, going to shows, journaling, cooking, or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and a glass of something tasty in hand.

5 thoughts on “ASAE Annual Exhibitors Miss Another Opportunity”

  1. Great points for exhibitors & vendors … at any show.

    Here is my peeve: I visit a supplier at the show, have a great conversation, exchange business cards and take literature. I get back home, and a week later decide I want to do business with this company.

    I make a telephone call (yea, I actually am old fashioned and want to business personally) only to find a) the person I spoke to is “on vacation.” b) there is no one else to help me right now c) and invited to leave a message (which I do explaining who I am and why I am calling).

    A week passes, then another and soon a month has gone by and no call back from the business. By then, I have decided that this is not a company with which I want to do business.

    Why do companies spend all the time and money to participate in shows if they are not prepared to develop new business?


    1. Because they’re not so smart? They treat trade shows as an event, a task to check off, and not part of a strategy that has a before and after. You made the right decision, that’s for sure.


  2. First off, great article!

    Now, we’ve exhibited at ASAE for about 6-7 years now. We get tremendous interest in our Webinar platform as so many associations have a need for these collaboration tools.

    This year we did something different – we created an email, survey, and blog article around the statistic that 80% of Associations use video in their webinars – “Are you part of the 80%”

    We thought this would get tremendous response, but honestly it did not at all. Do you have any suggestions? Here is the link to find the email/survey/article.

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Sorry for the delayed reply, Beth. I love the idea, like you, but wonder if the survey puts people off. How many questions were in it? The first field asks for an email, and you know how people feel about giving up emails–even though they know you have it, they may feel like giving it to you will opt them into further communication they don’t want.

      One of the newsletter vendors, maybe MultiView, runs a poll in each issue of the newsletter they do for AM&P. But it’s a simple one-question poll that doesn’t ask for any info. You see the results immediately after entering your answer, and they report the full results in the next issue. No barriers so they get a decent response. Maybe something like that on your website next time.

      Or, people were just too busy before the conference–no time to do anything but scan emails and delete. And delete they will unless your subject line and email copy was compelling enough to draw them in.

      Also, I got all those emails and I just did a search for “onstream” and found nothing, even in my trash. Are you sure it went out?


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