Reasons to Attend Trade Shows: Lead Generation
This article, on Trade Show Lead Generation Ideas, is Part I of a three part series developed to help companies improve their results from attending trade shows.
When you think of participating in trade shows, three objectives will quite likely spring to mind: lead generation, increasing brand awareness, and strengthening relationships with your existing customers. Needless to say, of the three, lead generation is paramount.
That being the case, are you aware of the not-so-secret formula for successfully generating leads at trade shows? The formula consists of a set of strategies, tips and ideas that should be built into the planning stage and beyond. Let us refer to it as your blueprint for trade show success.
You can make your next trade show exhibition the most successful yet. Simply use the strategies outlined below as your guide:
1) Trade Show Calendar Planning
When mapping out your trade show calendar, be selective about which ones to attend. Use lead tracking to determine which shows have provided the best ROI in the past, and put increased effort into planning for those shows.
Attend fewer shows. In so doing, you can put greater resources into pre-show promotions, trade show staff training and booth planning and expansion.
Depending on your trade show budget, and the logistical ease, you could add a foreign trade show to your calendar. It would expand your pool of potential leads.
2) Planning Each Trade Show
It is important to set quantifiable goals when developing your trade show schedule. It’s entirely possible that your expectations from every show will vary quite a bit. What will be your goals and expectations? Set goals that allow for results to be measured. For example, how many leads would you like to generate by the end of the trade show. Numbers talk!
In addition, act early to acquire a prime location at the event, and make sure your customers know exactly where they will find you. High visibility optimizes lead generation. By the same token, staff members can display your brand by wearing matching t-shirts.
Your booth will be the face of your company at the show, so forget about it looking like a shrinking violet. Booths communicate messages to attendees: what do you want yours to say? Pay particular attention to graphics, color and image.
Don’t be afraid to attend your industries premier trade shows. If your company has only a small pop-up display you have options. If you want to step up your game you can dominate the floor by exploring rental trade show displays. Team One has rental displays including very large booth designs that can be customized for your brand.
Make your booth bold, make it big, make it different from the others and make it outstanding! It should make the other booths shrink into the background. Let your booth call out to the potential leads: they will flock to you.
Plan to utilize interactive order software to capture contact details, orders and other vital information.
Finally, make sure your booth will be staffed by friendly, knowledgeable, motivated and outgoing personnel, and make sure there are enough of them so that adequate breaks can be taken. Stressed, fatigued and overworked staff cannot generate leads.
3) Pre-Show Promotion Work
The trade show is going to be your showcase. As such, promote the upcoming event heavily. That means getting the word out to as many customers and contacts as possible. Use social media to reach the largest number of attendees. Don’t forget to touch base with top clients to off-hours to build customer relationships at a trade show.
Among the tips for pre-show promotion, a very useful one is the practice of sending out enticements. For example, you could send out just a portion of something that attendees will find valuable, but they have to stop by your booth at the show to claim the full portion.
Alternatively, promise free product samples that can only be collected at the show. There are lots of incentives that you can use. Sending out free tickets to your most likely prospects is a good tip to improve floor traffic, and ultimately affect lead generation. What will be your hook or incentive? For companies with large custom trade show displays we can offer a lot of free advice.Simply give us a call to discuss your upcoming show, and we will be glad to get the creative juices flowing.
4) Trade Show Floor Promotions
There are a host of trade floor promotions that you can use to draw potential leads to your booth. Here are a few suggestions:
- Offer an interactive display: attendees like to be able to touch and manipulate products. Augment this with digital catalogs.
- Offer smaller prizes and one big, high-value prize.
- Have a spokesperson from your company make speeches or host workshops.
- Erect one or two large video monitors to run video loops or presentations.
- Offer significant discounts on firm orders placed at the show.
- Have representatives wear branded attire, and walk the floor handing out promotional items.
- Some marketers offer chair massages. That is a nifty idea and a welcome sight for tired feed. Not only will you have a “captive” audience, but there is likely to be a line of leads waiting for their turn in the massage chair. You can up the ante by offering healthy refreshments.
- Feature a celebrity or a celebrity look-alike to attract the crowd.
Protect Your Leads
It is a very good idea to never leave leads information in your booth overnight. Unscrupulous competitors are known to empty business cards from fish bowls, and take papers with leads and notes. Being careless with your hard earned leads can quickly cause your trade show ROI to be a negative. If you’re tech savvy you should consider using a mobile app for lead management.
Post-Show Action Items
Generating leads is of no consequence if you do not follow up on those leads, and time is always of the essence. Follow-up ideas to bear in mind include:
- Make contact with the leads as soon as possible after the show.
- Reach out to leads on social media, especially connect with people on LinkedIn.
- Respond to every request you received: it will demonstrate you dependability.
- Draft suggested orders based on the discussions you had with your leads, then fax or email the orders to your contacts/clients. Doing so can lead to firm orders.
Ultimately, the thinking and planning that you put into your participation at trade shows will have a direct impact on the leads you generate. So, formulate your strategy and choose tactics from the tips outlined above, then go forward confidently with your blueprint for trade show success.