For any demand generation initiatives, joining a tradeshow is one of the best ways to put your brand and your products on your customers’ radar. It also gives you an opportunity to see and learn more about your peers, especially your competitors. However, joining a trade show does come a price. From securing a prime spot for your booth; to making sure your brand gets ample visibility during a two (2) or three (3) day trade show; all the way through making sure you always got the right people to talk to your customers, you should expect to incur serious expenses. For small-scale tradeshows alone, an average budget of US$2,000 – US$3,000 dollars should be allotted. Mid-scale tradeshows can rack up an expense of US$5,000 – US$7,000 while large-scale tradeshows can most likely exceed US$10,000.
However, since taking part in trade shows can help you bring your brand to the limelight, the question should not be “Should I join these tradeshows,” but rather “How can I utilize this investment to maximize my demand generation program?” Here are 10 tips on how to answer the second question.
Top 10 Tips to Maximize Tradeshow Lead Generation
Since you are investing a huge part of your marketing budget to be able to participate in a specific tradeshow, you should be strategic when choosing your booth’s location. Remember, the biggest tree isn’t always the best one in the forest. Similarly, in a big hall full of booths, the biggest and most expensive slot may not always be the best. When choosing, always consider the location of the booth they are offering you. You wouldn’t want to end up having the biggest space but in a location where people rarely visit, would you?
Establish your Company’s Tradeshow Storyline
How many times have you gone to a tradeshow looking at all the booths as they were just one big picture – full of similar products that cater to your specific industry? As you look from left to right, are there booths which jump at you? It’s one thing for a company to be able to generate the budget to join a tradeshow, but when it comes to the story you want to tell your potential customers, it is important that it is something they need and they want to hear. Do not participate in a tradeshow just because your competitors are there, participate because you have a different story to tell.
Announce your tradeshow presence even before the actual event
Nowadays, there exist a realm which connects individuals 24/7 – the internet. An average person spends at least 4-6 hours on social media or simply browsing the worldwide web. Why not utilize these platforms to make sure that people know that people know you are participating in the tradeshow you’ve invested in? Creating a simple website which people can browse through highlighting your booth information and activities can go miles for your lead generation program. How? Well, let’s discuss more about this on the next tip.
Create and Execute a Communication Plan Promoting the Event
You have now created your event website and have decided to utilize the digital realm to announce your presence. Now what? Well, now it’s time to create and execute a communication plan to promote the event. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just a matter of posting anything and everything on the internet. Key things need to be considered if you want to generate quality leads from your tradeshow: (a) Who are the people you want to visit your booth? (b) What action would you like for them to do once they visit you? (c) What would you like your customers to leave the event with at the end of the day?
Knowing the answers to these questions will greatly affect how you will be marketing your company’s presence in the tradeshow. Remember, even your competitors will have the same visibility as you. The question is, how valuable will your customers time with you be?
Bring the Best Men and Women to the Frontlines
Yes, you’ve already told your potential customers that you will be joining a tradeshow; and yes, you’ve already told them what to expect; and now comes the day of the event. Always remember that each person who invests resources, time-wise and monetary-wise, invest for a reason. In case of tradeshows, it may be that they are searching for new information regarding their respective industries – may they be about new technologies, or newly emerging services. Whatever they may be, make sure that the person you will be assigning to face these potential customers will be able to engage them in deep and meaningful conversations. Remember, you may be looking for potential leads, but you are also looking for quality leads. Not just names on paper, but actual people who would, later, think to contact you when the time comes that they would need your services.
Yes, gone are the days of fishbowls on tradeshow booths. If it hasn’t yet in your place, I’m pretty sure that it would soon become obsolete. Remember, a person’s time is valuable and for someone who wants to explore a whole hall full of booths? Well, you can just imagine how much treasure is there for his / her to uncover. Data Capture Technologies make it easier for both you and your customer to give and receive information. Just imagine – one scan of a badge and your potential customer’s information would go straight to your marketing database. This would eliminate the need for you to manually encode information of those who dropped by your booth. Not only that, but these data capture tools are often customizable. Meaning, it can allow your team to get information which can add value to the conversation these people can have with your sales team in the future (i.e. if they have ongoing projects they need help with; where they are in their customer buying cycle). Again, remember, we are not simply talking about leads here, but quality leads which you can pass on to your sales team.
Drive traffic via In-booth Activations and Activities which would Appeal to your Potential Customers
Remember the first point? What greater way is there to stand out than to include activities and activations which would speak directly to your potential customers? Want to establish thought leadership for your industry? Why not offer one-on-one sessions with your subject matter experts? Got a new technology you want to showcase? This is a great venue to introduce it to everyone. Whatever these activities may be, just remember that they should revolve around the tradeshow storyline you’ve established at the beginning of your planning session.
Invest in a Welcoming, and Aesthetically Pleasing Booth
Contrary to popular belief, looks can be very important. Yes, you may have been able to establish a great tradeshow storyline, or create a great online presence. Yes, you may have picked great thought leaders your customers can learn a great deal from, and you may have planned great in-booth activities. However, if your booth does not look very welcoming, how will you get these potential customers to tap into your treasure trove of knowledge? Always remember – first impressions last. Why not strive to leave a mark that would last in everyone’s memory – in a very good way?
Be Practical in Choosing What to Give Out
Let’s all be honest, how many of us have thrown a thing or two away from that loot bag we got from the last trade show we’ve attended? In choosing what you would like to give out to those who will be stopping by your booth, we usually consider those which they can take home and stack away. However, oftentimes, it just ends there – stacked away with all the other brochures, fliers which they have collected from previous tradeshows. In a highly digital world, these brochures can be given out electronically. Instead, what you should be investing on are the little things which would make people recall your brand – Coffee in a cup which they can bring with them as they roam around the tradeshow hall? Re-usable bags which they can use to carry all the brochures they will be collecting as they visit other booths? Why not? Just don’t forget to print your logo on these items.
Keep in Touch
This is probably one of the important things we tend to overlook when executing any event. What with all the chaos of the planning and event proper, how can you still think of post event communication? However, this oversight is probably one of the biggest reasons why you do not see any return from the investment you’ve made. Again, what you should strive to achieve is not just getting names on paper, but being able to have a continuous conversation with your potential customers. After all, isn’t that what demand generation is all about? Post event communications is like driving a nail through that “relationship” you are trying to create with your customer. Thus, it should be conceptualized carefully. Remember that data capture form you invested on? It should’ve been initially setup so that you will be able to customize your communication to each person who dropped by your booth.
Yes, investing in a tradeshow may come at a price, however, once done right, it can open doors of opportunities for your sales team and for your organization. However, the success of tradeshow participation should not just be based on the number of people who dropped by your booth, but on the number of people whom you could open a good conversation with. Lead generation is not just about quantity. More importantly, it is about the quality of the leads you can get from your investment.
VSynergize is your one-stop destination for getting closer to your potential leads and partners. Thanks to our telemarketing, appointment setting and content syndication. Get in touch with us now and knock the door of endless opportunities.