Pro Tips for Sending Push Notifications at Trade Shows

February 26, 2016

Rob Cartagine

Rob Cartagine is the co-founder and lead software developer of AppBurst (, a mobile application development and internet marketing company headquartered in Florida's Palm Beach County.

Push notifications are commonly used by mobile apps in every industry to engage users with real-time messaging. Mobile devices are a crowded space, however, and understanding the best way to leverage push alerts is vital to ensure attendees continue to accept communication from trade show hosts and enjoy real value in return. The following concepts go beyond the basics such as event promotion and last-minute updates to focus on creative options best suited to maximize benefits for hosts and attendees alike.

Utilize Deep Links

Standard push notifications are effective for quick alerts regarding a booth number change or reminders about a networking event. Yet many attendees consider turning off notifications unless they consistently provide tangible value and more relevant details; inserting a deep link into the majority of notifications gives attendees the ability to quickly access relevant mobile app content from a link provided in the alert.

Examples of helpful deep links include directing attendees to the exhibitor profile of a sponsor’s message or a session detail page when sharing room or time change information. Compare a short message without the ability to extend the interaction with attendees to providing insightful context available one tap away. The latter provides better value and simultaneously increases page views in any mobile app.

Schedule Alerts

Push notifications without a consideration for timing are seldom as useful to attendees. Do mobile app users really want an alert generically promoting the event or urging people to mingle on the trade show floor? Consider scheduled push alerts to coincide with important sessions and meaningful demonstrations throughout the event to provide helpful and real-time information. Attendees are increasingly expecting personalization with their event technology and sending timely messages only serves to improve the experience for everyone involved.

Scheduled push notifications also serve to remove a significant workload from event planners. The “set it and forget it” model of queueing push notifications days or even weeks in advance enables planners to focus on other responsibilities and once again improves the attendee experience and overall effectiveness of the event. 

Generate Additional Revenue

Traditional methods of selling sponsorships in a mobile event app include banner ads and splash screens. Push notifications enable trade show planners to offer a more personalized method of reaching attendees as companies may request a notification timed around a specific presentation or to promote a brochure. Real-world examples include charging an exhibitor to include marketing material in their exhibitor listing with the ability to deep link the content to a series of timely push alerts.

Sending sponsored push notifications also helps attendees. Ensure each sponsor is relevant and valuable to the trade show’s audience to create a better event experience; new product launches or updates on industry trends is often of great benefit to attendees and might even surpass the ROI associated with increased sponsorship dollars.

Consider the Overall Attendee Experience

Many event hosts are rightfully consumed with sending updates and promotional content via push alerts without ever stopping to consider the attendee experience. Send a push alert notifying attendees of free snacks when lunch is pushed back for a longer midday session or provide tips on the best spots for free wifi around the event facility.

Ask what attendees might appreciate most and utilize push notifications to communicate in ways traditional communication before mobile technology could never accomplish. Let a sponsor provide the snacks or partner with a company to provide the free wifi hotspot if it makes sense. The goal is to make sure attendees receive great service at the event with thoughtful alerts when needed most.

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