Here’s How to Keep Attendees in the Loop After a Canceled Trade Show

If you had a cancelled trade show due to the pandemic, don’t fret. A single trade show does not have to make or break your business. Keep the faith, continue to work hard, make an effort to keep the lines of communication open and you will have a second chance to display the merits of your product at a future trade show.

Though it appeared the coronavirus was coming to an end in the United States, a second wave has emerged throughout the midwest, south and southwest, posing additional challenges. In other words, it might be a while before trade shows with a reasonable number of attendees can be held. Here’s a quick look at how to keep attendees in the loop after your trade show is canceled.

cancelled trade show

Show Cancelled during Setup

A Single Email Will not Suffice

It is not enough to simply send an email to your trade show attendees, notifying them of the cancellation. Nor is merely posting an update to your Facebook page enough. This is your opportunity to display grace under fire, plan for the future, and give trade show attendees something to look forward to. The alternative is to release little or no information and potentially alienate your audience. In other words, this is a time to sweat the small stuff. Notify your audience of the cancellation in a truly graceful manner. Be mindful of your tone when communicating the bad news and you will maximize the number of people who attend the rescheduled event.

Explain Exactly why the Trade Show was Cancelled

Though most of those interested in attending your trade show likely understand the cancelled trade show was the result of the coronavirus pandemic, do not leave them hanging, forcing them to assume the event has been canceled. Err on the side of over-communicating rather than under-communicating. Explain exactly why the trade show was canceled. Communicate the fact that you are disappointed yet will push forward in anticipation of a rescheduled event. Carefully choose your language when crafting this message and you will encourage your audience to show up at on the rescheduled date.

Be sure to point out the fact that you had no choice but to cancel your trade show appearance due to the required social distancing. It would be awfully difficult for people to stand six feet apart from each other at such an event. Dangle the carrot of an even better trade show that provides an inside look at the features of your value offering a couple of months down the line and you just might end up with even more people attending that event than would have attended the original one.

Let Your True Character Shine Through

Now that your trade show can no longer be held and life has come to a depressing standstill, your true character will be revealed. This is not the time to be defeated. Rather, you should view the cancellation of your trade show appearance as an opportunity to show how you handle stress. Do not complain or use negative language when communicating with prospective trade show attendees. Remain positive, brainstorm a compelling statement to communicate the cancellation, and send it to attendees in a timely manner.

Use empathic language throughout the cancellation message to make it clear you care about your audience rather than merely being completely consumed with your own self-interest. Mind the subtleties of the wording and you will continue to hold your audience’s attention throughout the pandemic, until businesses reopen and all the way up until the trade show occurs.

Create an Email Newsletter

Just because it might take a couple of months to show off your product at a trade show does not mean your company has to go completely dark. Encourage your audience to sign up for your email newsletter. Send out an update by way of an email along with some new or helpful insight pertaining to your product and those who would have attended your trade show will continue to think about your unique value offering. However, it is a mistake to send a weekly update. Rather, an email sent every couple weeks or even once per month in the time leading up to the rescheduled trade show will suffice. Be sure to mention the rescheduled date of the trade show in each email newsletter so your audience knows exactly when the new trade show will be held. This friendly reminder also increases the chances that prospective attendees will remember the event and show up.

Remain Active on Social Media

Those who are interested in your value offering are likely to visit your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn account as the pandemic plays out. These are powerful platforms as they present a means of engaging your audience and putting your product’s merits on display. Though interested parties will not be able to physically hold or see the product in person, highlighting its features on social media will keep it fresh in their minds. Furthermore, social media presents the opportunity for interested parties to ask questions, raise concerns, and comment on your products and business. Continue to engage your audience as the rescheduled trade show date approaches and they will prove that much likelier to show up on the big day.

Collect Contact Information

Aside from encouraging your audience to sign up for your email newsletter, it will also help to collect their phone numbers and addresses. This way, you can touch base with all prospective trade show attendees outside of email. Such extra contact information ensures you have a means of reaching out to these interested parties to remind them of the upcoming trade show, greatly increasing the chances they will check out your product in-person on the big day.

Be Thankful!

Express your gratitude to prospective trade show attendees. Make it clear that you appreciate their interest in your value offering. Let it be known that you are genuinely sorry for the cancelled trade show and that you are working hard to ensure the rescheduled date provides an even more informative and insightful look at your product. This positive tone will be reciprocated in the form of impressive trade show attendance on the date the event is rescheduled.