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Pony Express HQ at 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego!

What can local business marketers learn from the world’s largest comic book convention?

Excelsior! The Pony Express HQ crew just got back from the 2018 Comic-Con International in San Diego. Along with 130,000+ attendees, we got to meet some of our favorite comic book, television, and film creators and stars. The crowds were massive! The costumes were eye-catching! And the exhibitors were aplenty! From multinational corporate brands (Warner Bros. and FOX) to small mom-and-pop shops, over 400+ booths displayed their wares at on Exhibitor Hall. 💨

Now if you know anything about Pony Express HQ, then you know that we are obsessed with delivering SMS text marketing resources to all businesses. With a 98% open rate, SMS texts reach a far wider audience than other forms of marketing. And nothing -- not even emails -- beat the immediacy of texts; 90% of all SMS texts are read within 3 minutes of delivery. In our opinion, SMS text marketing is the unsung hero of a company’s marketing plan.

However as we walked through the massive convention center, we couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that almost no companies considered the efficacy of an SMS text marketing plan. With the low cost of SMS text message marketing, even the small booths have the ability to reach out to a larger audience. 📈

To bring some perspective, this year’s Comic-Con audience is estimated at 130,000+ attendees. Not just attendees, mind you, but rather 130,000+ captive audience members; an audience that is 100% likely to convert and buy something. Furthermore, many of these fans look forward to Comic-Con specifically to spend their money on exclusive goods only available at the event; but these vendors were doing nothing to engage and enhance the long-term potential of these customers.

If you’re going to market to a captive audience, you need to maximize that opportunities to convert these folks into future customers. Here are a few ideas we at Pony Express HQ would have liked to see:

SMS text is reliable. With such a massive number of people in a contained space, it’s no surprise that access to the web was often limited. It was often challenging to upload the feed from all social media apps. In fact Comic-Con’s own app and site were often inaccessible for updated information about events and panels. Do you know what worked reliably, so long as you had reception (which was 99% of the convention space)? SMS texts. Quite simply, if Comic-Con had an SMS text marketing plan, they could have easily kept attendees on updates to their programming, promotional sales, details on waiting in line for events, and even emergency information (“We have a lost Ninja Turtle at the Help Desk! Mama and Papa turtle, please come claim your ninja hatchling!”) 🐢

Activate your customers. Did you know that exhibitor vendors don’t just sell goods? They also want to buy them! In fact, many vendors offered to buy any of the Comic-Con exclusives folks were able to get. One vendor was handing out business cards asking attendees to reach out to him with their exclusive finds. But beyond that one-time point of contact, he had no other way to engage attendees. Had he executed an SMS text marketing plan, we wonder if he could have saved himself some effort and increased his access to buy that rare Wonder Woman lapel pin? What if he were able to communicate throughout the 4 days which specific items he was looking for and update attendees regularly with what he’s willing to pay for, say that Deadpool Funko exclusive figurine?

SMS can be delightful. You know what Comic-Con attendees love beside their favorite pop culture obsession? They love experiences. We got to preview upcoming video game (Shadow of the Tomb Raider plays like a dream). The big franchises had activations that were impressive (The Purge City store gave a dark/funny take on what one might need to survive 12-hours of mayhem). And if you are someone who loves making friends while waiting in lines (we’re looking at you, San Francisco residents), then Comic-Con is the place for you; sleeping bags were in abundance for Hall H access. Increasingly, the big franchises understand that creating experiences matter to increase brand awareness. But you don’t need to spend huge dollars to create an experience. An SMS-driven event marketing experience can engage more people across the entire convention simultaneously at a very affordable budget. Some ideas to consider:

  • Comic-Con specific SMS trivia contest

  • SMS-based treasure hunt

  • SMS choose-your-own-adventure storytelling

  • SMS text marketing plan aimed at folks who can’t attend Comic-con, allowing them virtual access to promotions, sales, announcements.

The possibilities for fun and effective communication are truly limitless with SMS text marketing.

We loved our time at Comic-Con.💨 If you’re an exhibitor at Comic-Con and wished you had reached a larger audience more effectively, please contact us at Pony Express HQ. Pony Express HQ is your go-to service to connect with large groups of customers and members over text message and mobile messaging. We can’t wait to hear from you and talk all things comics (and how you can engage your customers more effectively)!

*NOTE: And as a special promo, if you can prove that you were an exhibitor at this year’s Comic-Con, we’d love to offer you a Comic-Con Special 250 bonus SMS credits as our way of saying a thank you promotion at the end of July’18 for new members.

Send us a Text! (844) 515-3020 💬

Email: contact@ponyexpresshq.com​ 📩

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