The internet has transformed the way we do business in a variety of ways– but the online universe can’t replicate the value of old-fashioned face-to-face interaction at professional events. For this reason, trade shows remain an effective marketing strategy– they give you the chance to meet prospects in person and create more personal connections between your business and your prospects. Consider these statistics (source):
46% of decision-makers make a purchase decision at a tradeshow.
77% of decision-makers found at least one new supplier at the last tradeshow they attended.
51% of attendees request a sales rep visit their company after the event.
If you are new to tradeshow marketing, or if you find yourself falling short of your lead generation goals, this is the blog post for you. Today we’ll break down five ways you can generate more leads at your next tradeshow. Keep reading!
1. Build an extensive pre-show campaign
You can do everything right at a tradeshow and still leave without any new leads. Why? Because the work you do leading up to a tradeshow is even more important than what you do on the day of the event.
Consider this: most trade show attendees enter a show with 75% of the booths they’d like to visit already selected (source). So, if people aren’t aware of your booth prior to an event, you can’t expect to generate many leads.
For this reason, you must create a comprehensive pre-show campaign to build awareness and generate traffic to your company’s booth. Don’t save your promotion at the last minute – we recommend that your campaign begins at least a month prior to the tradeshow. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Promote your booth: This may seem obvious, but you need attendees to know exactly where they can find you at an event. Use directions and maps to show people where your booth will be within the exhibit hall. Then, build excitement for your booth by promoting product demos, giveaways, contests, and anything else you will offer at your booth.
Create event-themed content: Create different types of content– such as blog posts, infographics, E-Books and more– that tie into the overall event theme. Then, target attendees with this content ahead of the show.
Leverage social media: Promote your content across your corporate social media profiles, and use event-specific hashtags to capitalize on any pre-show hype that is happening. With an active approach to social media, you’ll be sure your company is part of the conversation surrounding the event.
Reach out to attendees ahead of the event: Contact the event organizers and obtain a list of registered attendees. Then, reach out to attendees and introduce your company and products, and provide them with a way to schedule appointments with your company at the event. Prioritize prospects that seem to be a good fit for your products or services. With this strategy, you’ll be prepared for specific attendees to stop by your booth.
2. Make your booth stand out
Event halls are often crowded with many booths vying for the attention of attendees. A visually-appealing booth can encourage prospects to stop what they’re doing and check out what your company has to offer. For this reason, we recommend you spend time creating a unique and captivating booth design.
Here are some ideas to make sure your booth catches the attention of attendees:
Present a clear message: Attendees may only take a passing glance at your booth – so your mission statement must be succinct and easy to understand. If someone sees your booth from afar and doesn’t know what you’re offering, they’re unlikely to take a closer look.
Leverage different types of multimedia: Invest in video and other technological elements to garner more attention for your booth. Set up monitors to display product demonstrations or other short videos about your company. Attendees will gravitate towards a video presentation much quicker than they would a pamphlet or other written materials.
Offer giveaways or freebies: Everyone loves a freebie and tradeshow attendees are no different. Give away small, practical gifts that will be of actual value to attendees– things like tote bags and phone accessories. A unique giveaway will entice people to stop by your booth, and from there you can introduce them to your products.
3. Put your products front and center
While the appearance of your booth is important, you will only generate leads if people are interested in the products you have to offer. Remember, an eye-grabbing presentation will capture someone’s attention, but a valuable product will convince them to make a purchase.
Make your products the focus of your booth so attendees know exactly what you offer and how they can benefit from your services. Offer product demos and provide a clear next step for prospects who show interest.
4. Visit other booths
This tip may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out– you can generate more leads by stepping away from your own booth. Tradeshow exhibit halls are often packed with different companies showcasing their products, so it’s a given that not every attendee will make it by your booth.
For this reason, we recommend you venture away from your booth and explore the exhibit hall. Stop by other booths and introduce yourself to attendees and employees from other companies. Take every possible opportunity to network and talk about your company. Sure, it’s easier to stay at your booth and wait for people to come to you, but if you step out of your comfort zone, you will leave the event with more leads.
5. Invest in a data collection tool
Capturing attendee contact information should be seamless and immediate. If you don’t have an organized system in place for collecting leads, you run into a number of problems– incomplete data, duplicate information, and much more.
Invest in a data collection tool to capture leads directly from your tradeshow booth into your CRM. You will save time and avoid the introduction of human error into the lead generation process.
Keep in mind, it’s impossible to predict what will happen at an event. Maybe an element of your booth becomes a hit with attendees in an unexpected way or a random encounter leads to a big opportunity. But, with the right approach and preparation, you’ll boost your chances of wowing attendees and leaving with plenty of new leads.
Remember: generating leads is only the beginning of successful tradeshow marketing. Make sure you have a detailed follow-up plan in place so you can quickly reach out to new leads while your booth is fresh in their minds.
About the Author:Sam Holzman is the Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo where he writes for their B2B blog. ZoomInfo is a leading contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Sam regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting, and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.