Planning Your 2018 Trade Show Calendar? 5 Tips to Guarantee Your Trade Show ROI
Attending a trade show, especially if you’re putting up a booth, is a huge expense for most businesses. In some cases, it’s the biggest marketing project of the year. Therefore, it’s important to maximize your efforts to get the most ROI possible from each trade show you attend. Here are five tips you can use to help guarantee your trade show ROI.
Start Marketing Pre-Show
By the time people are walking around the trade show and have a chance to see your booth, you want to make sure this is the third of fourth time they’ve heard of your brand and their mind will connect your booth with a familiar idea. This will drive more traffic to your booth and keep your sales team happy. The best way to approach this may vary depending on your industry and the size of your company, but providing valuable educational content via your website and email marketing campaigns will both position your company as an industry thought leader before the trade show, and build your mailing list so you can let as many people as possible know where you will be pre-show.
Consider adding a call-to-action below your company email signatures, directing contacts to sign up for meetings in advance, and even offering them a discount or special offer in exchange for pre-registration at events your company is running during the trade show.
Get a Good Location
If possible, scout the trade show a year before you plan to attend to figure out the best place to put your booth and sign up as early as possible to reserve the best spot. You don’t want to be off to the side were no one wanders. Another great strategy is to try and get a booth that’s close to one of the biggest sponsors of the event. They’ll likely attract a lot of foot traffic that will pause and look at your booth as they pass.
Prep Your Sales Team
Everyone who will be manning your booth needs to be familiar with your products and understand the main challenges of your target customers. If you have several junior associates supporting a few top salespeople, it’s important to teach the junior people how to qualify leads before passing them on to the senior sales people. Everyone should know what the post-show marketing plan is and encourage people who drop by the booth to swipe their contact badges to collect email addresses – or better yet have ipads set up in your booth to collect more extensive info and enter new leads into your CRM right on the spot.
Follow Up FAST
The leads you’ve collected from a trade show can be sales gold, but only if you capitalize efficiently on the follow up process. If you have a sales team, divide the leads among the sales team and ensure that individualized contact happens quickly.
Collecting the right information at the trade show will also make this follow up process easier. If certain leads came to the trade show ready to purchase, it’s vital to collect this information (ideally through a form that syncs directly with your CRM) and to mark them as top priority for personal follow up (preferably within 24 hours after meeting them, and then again within 24 hours after the trade show ends). You can be sure you won’t be the only company contacting them, so it’s important to be the first! For less important leads, consider automating or semi-automating the follow up process with email templates.
Continue to Educate
While your sales team is following up with each lead, you also want to take advantage of the wealth of information you gained at the trade show to nurture some longer-term leads. Not everyone who visited your booth is ready to enter directly into your quoting process, so you want to make sure you keep your brand in front of them so that you’re their first thought when they reach that point. Follow up emails after the trade show and a well-planned, educational, value-added lead nurturing campaign are great ways to make this happen.
Marketing professionals like the team at StepUp can help you maximize your trade show follow up to ensure people who are interested stay informed and your brand stays top of mind. Reach out today to find out about the services we offer and learn more about how to maximize your trade show ROI.
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