For many companies, trade shows are a primary method of securing new leads for many companies. Therefore, it makes sense to learn how to maximize lead-capture techniques before setting up a booth.
Exhibiting at a trade show provides businesses with the opportunity to put products and services in front of numerous qualified prospects. However, not everyone will fit the criteria. Here are some of the best ways to narrow that number down and maximize your leads from a trade show during the short time you are there.
Finding the Right Trade Show
No one wants to waste time. Business owners or marketing managers scope out the trade shows they think will have the type of audience they need for improving the bottom line. Examine the usefulness of a trade show with the following perspectives:
- Relevancy: Will your ideal customers attend this show? Have you identified your ideal customer?
- Website: How good is the conference website? A poorly developed website means that show organizers do not understand most exhibitors and attendees will get most of their information here. If they didn’t invest much in this crucial information vehicle, it often means the show itself will be equally poor.
- Social Media Channels: As with a website, if a conference can’t effectively market itself through social media it’s a red flag. Are the event’s social media channels active? How did the show use social media last year? Check Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook primarily.
- Cost: Setting up a booth at some trade shows is expensive. Often that’s because of high demand based off of a proven record of success. Still, look into the cost and ask, does the show deliver enough insight and exposure to justify the cost a company will spend to exhibit.
- Well-Known Speakers: If a show can attract big-name speakers, then it most likely can also provide you with a good ROI. Impressive speakers are attracted by trader shows that have a good reputation, and ones that will enhance their own reputations.
- Attendees: Who else attends the show? The two important questions that need to be answered to maximize time are: 1) Do your competitors attend and 2) Are target demographics going to be there?
Outline the Goals for the Trade Show
Before presenting at any trade show a company team should understand what needs to be accomplished and what their roles are in the process. Significant, specific and achievable goals include:
- Meeting industry leaders
- Gathering competitor knowledge
- Pitching to clients
- Increasing exposure
- Getting new social media followers
- Growing your prospect list
- Taking advantage of speaking opportunities
Organize and Use the Leads
Once your trade show has ended and you’ve collected your leads, it’s time to organize them and start talking to them. It’s best to use a customer relationship management system to help manage not only the names but further demographics and details you collect about them. A good CRM system can also schedule out reminder emails and target them based on specific areas of expressed interest.
Add leads to your newsletter and send them updates on your company and new services offered anywhere between once a week to once a month. Even better, ask your subscriber list how often they would prefer an e-mail and start to ask what they would like to see in it. Continuing the conversation after a face-to-face meeting reminds them of your company and could eventually lead to a referral (Hey, take a look at this company. They know about wine, or cars, etc.) or a sale, which is the ultimate goal.
Treat potential customers carefully and don’t overwhelm them. Be engaging and professional and in the end, an organized company should begin to reap the rewards of trade show leads.