Trade shows are a great way to get quality face-time with highly qualified leads. No need for cold-calling and getting past their assistants. While this is certainly not a low-cost marketing methods, the potential return on investment can be significant. While it would be impossible to cover all the necessary ingredients for a successful trade show in one post, here are a few that definitely deserve your attention.
Picking and Prepping Booth Staff Your showing at a trade show will only be as good as the staff you pick to run your booth. Think carefully about who you will pick; talk to the stakeholders to get their input on who they think would be a good fit. Make a list of desirable attributes—you will probably not find anyone who fits 100 percent, but zero in on the people that come the closest. Many business owners engage the staff in pre-show training, such as a class in boatman ship.
Here they will learn all sorts of important information, from getting people to visit the booth to how to engage people without being solely focused on selling products and services. Establish clear goals. Make sure they know everything you want them to know about what your company sells and the challenges and needs of the various industries you serve. They need to know what constitutes a good lead and what types of questions to ask to extract important information.
Pre-show marketing is an important element of trade show success. Encourage current clients to attend with incentives such as a pre-or-post -show mixer or free or discounted tickets to events at the show. Trade publications are still a great way to reach out to target markets—take out an ad and offer a free gift to anyone who stops by your booth with the ad—it can be anything from a free t-shirt to Android flash drives. And of course, we can’t forget about social media.
Look for LinkedIn groups you can join to make connections with potential leads before the show. Post Tweets and status updates on your Twitter and Facebook accounts—let people know you will be there. Post teasers about any new products you may be launching. Direct mail is still a powerful way to reach out to potential customers who are likely to attend the event.
Lead Follow Up The trade show was a great success; you and your team gathered some piping hot leads. Now, is time to reach out to these prospects, and hopefully turn some of them into customers. While the trade show is going on, categorize people you talk to base on how strong a prospect they are. Anyone in your ‘’A’’ group should be contacted within 24 hours after the show ends.
If you gathered email addresses, before just adding them to your database and sending them what you are sending everyone else already on your list, write a welcome email explaining who you are and that you met at the trade show. If you can reference anything specific about your interaction, such as a conversation you had about a particular problem his business is experiencing, do that.
This ‘’referencing’’ is also important if you are making a direct call.
Many of your prospects may not be ready to talk to your sales department—develop a marketing strategy that will nurture them and lead them through the funnel. This could take the form of helpful articles you send to your list, blog posts you have written about the industry, etc. if your sales staff spoke to anyone personally at the show, they should follow up personally and establish a connection, whether through email, the phone or LinkedIn.