We recently had plans to exhibit at the SES NYC (Search Engine Strategies Expo), but due to a growing staff that needed attention, we had to back out. Unfortunately, their terms tie you in to either half the price of a booth or the entire amount if you cannot make it. I definitely understand the need for contracts and why they do it, but they might consider offering options for people that just cannot make it.

This really isn’t about their stern, “lock you in” contract, it is about a promotional product they offer. Since we were locked into a contract for the full amount, I offered the option to move our booth money into some advertising for the event. Granted I had to offer this option up, they do get credit for allowing us to move our money into advertising instead of just losing it. They said to review what was still available and let them know what we would like to do with our booth money. Anything you do with these expo’s is high priced. For example, a premier sponsorship is over 35k! The visibility is very good and you get many perks, but boy do they make some money.

The two options we selected to use up our paid money were the back cover of a handbook and an “email blast“. We have attended one of these events and the price of a handbook advertisement was worth it because everyone has one in their possession at the event and it follows many home. The email blast was a little interesting due to no real stats being offered and usually email marketing is a big question mark anyway. After our handbook back cover, we only had enough funds for the email blast, so we selected it. Continuous questions regarding how many people actually read the email have still ended up with no answers and reviewing tracking stats today, I think I understand why.

I realize the “visibility factor” could play into the value of an email blast to an event that boasts so many big company names, but after due time, I might consider this the worst money we’ve ever spent. The email ad itself was so short you could barely make sense of a sales pitch if you wanted to and one image was allowed but it could only be your business logo. All things aside, I created a quick and catchy email with our logo and sent it on its way like a school boy on his first day, except, this schoolboy was full of tracking url’s that would give me all bits of info regarding this email. Since no one wants to tell me how many poeple get the email, I figure maybe I can track it myself.

Most are excited to know we have received a total 54 click-thru’s, however, most of them are duplicate ip’s, so it’s tough to tell. Zero of the referrals have turned into any type of lead and;or sell. So my thought of this entry is to be very carefull when purchasing anything that has no upfront numbers or results other than a big fat bill. I’ve asked too many times for proof of advertisements and numbers but have been ignored on my reqeust each time.

The moral of this rant is, if you plan to attent a SES or WWW expo, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON AN EMAIL BLAST. Ok, i just dozed off at the laptop only to be awakened by a jolt of mysterious electricity run through my arms and legs. Maybe it was another click from our email blast ad that occurred and it sent a jolt of energy through me for a quick second.

Who knows! I believe in this company and what they do, I just don’t quite buy into “EVERYTHING” they do.