Enhance Your Next Trade Show with Push Notifications

April 23, 2019

Reno Macri

Reno Macri is a founder and director of UK based leading exhibition company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition design, event branding, interior design and retail branding. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions.

Exhibitions are one of the best ways for marketers to gain face-to-face time with both potential customers and business partners, while also offering them a memorable experience. For this reason, many businesses spend a fortune on modular exhibition booths and promotional material in order to maximize the opportunity. 

However, one of the best ways to enhance an exhibition, without breaking the bank, is to make intelligent use of push notifications. In this article, we examine their benefits and the various ways they can be used to improve the attendee experience at your next exhibition or trade show. 

Understanding Push Notifications

First, it’s important to understand what push notifications are. In simple terms, they are messages that are sent to mobile or smartwatch users as an alert. Since push notifications are connected to apps, they can only reach users with your app installed, however, users don’t need to have the app open to receive them. 

Push notifications look like SMS text messages...but they only reach users who have installed your app,” an article from Urban Airship, Inc. explains. “For app publishers, push notifications are a way to speak directly to a user. They don’t get caught in spam filters [and] click-through rates can be twice as high as email.” 

This makes push notifications ideal for sending alerts, reminders or even promotional messages because it increases the chances that users will actually see and interact with the message. The notification itself can be tailored to deliver the exact message you want, and push notifications can be ideal for encouraging a specific action. 

Users have the option to opt-in for push notifications, frequently offered immediately following the app download. It can, however, be offered at a later time, allowing your users to become familiar with the app and the character of your brand. 

Push Notifications as Scheduled Alerts

To make the most of push notifications at an exhibition, it’s important that there is some degree of planning involved and perhaps the most effective way to do this is to create scheduled push notifications in advance, to be sent at specific times. This allows marketers to strategically target attendees before, during and after the show. 

As an example, you might schedule a push notification for an hour before the event starts, serving as a reminder to attend while providing users with valuable instructions. Similarly, you might schedule a notification 15 minutes before a speech to give people time to get to the right place. 

Scheduled alerts do not have to end when the event ends and can be used to encourage attendees to engage with your brand after the show. The primary benefit of scheduled push notifications is time relevance, with messages being sent and received at the point in time they are most likely to achieve their purpose. 

Beacon Technology and Location Data

Another great way that an exhibition can be enhanced with push notifications is through the use of location data. For instance, they can be set up to send when attendees come within a certain distance of the venue and can be used to direct them to your booth and/or provide the day’s schedule. 

According to an infographic published by E-goi, 53 percent of users opt to share their location with apps, allowing for location-based push notifications to be sent. This means that more than half of your attendees, on average, can be targeted in this way.  

Meanwhile, you may be able to reach other attendees through beacon technology. Exhibition design companies can include beacon sensors within custom or modular exhibition stands that allow them to interact with nearby devices. This can be used to send special discount codes or details of offers in order to make attendees more likely to visit and engage with your brand. 

Opportunities and Pitfalls

One of the best opportunities provided by push notifications is the ability to alert users to changes, such as if a scheduled event has been delayed, or if you decide to have a flash sale. In addition, alerts can be sent sparingly to promote sponsors or business partners. 

It is important to remember that you are not the only one at the trade show,” Hytner Exhibitions & Events point out in an article for their website. “Sending push alerts relating to other entities at the event such as personal or event sponsors can even be a way to make an extra source of revenue from the event.

The main pitfall of push notifications is using them too frequently, with users becoming irritated rather than finding them useful, and thus, becoming more likely to turn off notifications or even delete your app entirely. So keep in mind that moderation is paramount.

Push Notifications and GDPR

The EU General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) implemented in May of last year seeks to standardize data privacy laws, protecting all EU citizens’ data privacy, and has refined how organizations manage their client data.  

Under GDPR, consent must be freely given to hold personal data, with the request for such provided in an unambiguous and accessible format. In addition, users must be able to withdraw consent with the same ease. 

GDPR does relate to push notifications and as such your users must be advised, in an appropriate format, of your intent and their options.


Marketers and exhibition design companies go to great lengths to improve the quality of exhibitions and trade shows, due to the unique value they provide. However, one of the single best ways to enhance the experience is to effectively use push notifications to provide attendees with the information they need, at the right time. 


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