In the world of cutthroat competition where businesses are increasingly turning their heads to online advertising and social media marketing- It may leave us wondering if live events such as trade shows or exhibitions are still relevant

Well, the answer is Yes!

Though businesses have endless options of marketing today than what they had a few decades ago, they shouldn’t ignore the massive power of trade shows and exhibitions which can help them stand out amidst high competition. There is no denying that these live events do involve high costs, but with right steps and team on board they can turn out to be attractive lead generation opportunities.

Being themed events, trade shows or exhibitions help in garnering the attention of customers who are interested in services or products being offered. Moreover, these allow businesses to expand their customer base in a very short span of time. All one needs is to cleverly sift through the crowd identifying hot leads from the sea of people!

Here I have come up with some creative ideas that will help you turn attendees into leads, ensuring the best return of your investment.

1.Choose Strategically: Research is the Key

Exhibiting at a trade show is never a cheap deal-hence thorough research beforehand on choosing the right place, convention and the type of trade show to attract maximum leads is prerequisites to successful business marketing at live events.

For instance, say, your target audience is small business and they are on the lookout for knowing more about a particular industry at trade shows. Find out what they are looking forward to know and then equip them with some insightful information. Capitalizing on this opportunity and acing your presence at the trade show will leave a lasting impression of you as a business expert that will help you in future too.

Hence, know well in advance, what you want and then craft those details to delivery properly.

2. Invest in Pre-Event Promotion

The trade show is going to be your showcase event, hence you must ensure it is pre-promoted heavily.

Make sure to update your contact details to reach as many customers as possible. Make use of social media, update information on your website, create event landing pages to segment your contact lists and automate emails.

Another good way practice pre-event promotion would be to create a door of enticement. Send out just a particular piece of information to your contacts that may prove valuable to them, thus urging them to come and claim the full portion while attending your booth at the actual event.

3. Keep the Booth Designs Attractive

Your booth design will go a long way in attracting visitors hence make sure your booth appearance is professional yet attractive. Keep the design in line with your buyer persona in mind. Don’t include things that have nothing to do with your business and services. Invest smartly in building the brand so that your booth stands out: a nicely designed background, highlighted bold banners, some extra lighting (not too gaudy) and may be some unusual chairs.

Consider ‘installing call to action elements’ at your trade show booth such a screen asking visitors to fill a survey along with their contact details. You can install vending machines where you can ask visitors to equip it with their business cards. Such elements at your booth design will help you generate leads while encouraging participation from visitors.

4. Equip Your Booth with the Right Staff

Staffing your booth with enthusiastic, kind and inviting staff is one of the prerequisites to gauge solid leads.

The people at your booth are your brand representatives who know your services inside out. Hence, it is important for them to be assertive, friendly and professional in their approach and not behave like employees sitting behind tables who are bored and drained of energy.

Hence, be selective about selecting your staff and look for people who can communicate well, are willing to participate in the goal of bringing benefit to the company. They should also have a warm smile and pleasing personality. Taking a technical guy with no communication skills to represent your booth who can answer the toughest questions will never serve any purpose. Lastly, ensure that the staff manning your booth are trained about the products and well aware of your business objectives.

5. Hand out Freebies, Keep Giveaways

Freebies can instantly catch visitor’s attention, provided they are aligned well with your lead generation strategy.  Consider keeping giveaways that are related to the services you are offering such as a pen drive for a software company, a wooden showpiece for a furniture company.

Also, make sure to give your gift items to qualified leads and not just for the sake of giving. Make them work to earn it like keep a prize draw as this will keep them engaged and offer a more time span to discuss your product value to them. 

Though we are living in the age of digital, keeping some form of paper collateral such as a leaflet, a catalogue is good. Don’t forget to include details of your company logo, services offered, website etc. with everything you plan to give away.

6. Nail your Live Presentations and Product Demos

Doing a live presentation or a product demo would be one of the most effective ways to generate crowd at your booth.

However, make sure to keep it short and engaging keeping it for 10 minutes at most.

  • Keep a good presenter who is confident as well comfortable addressing the audience.
  • Doing a recurring presentation say every hour or at frequent intervals will be helpful in telling people about your products and inviting them to your booth.
  • Make sure to indulge or invite people after your presentation so they don’t end up leaving your booth. You can make them fill a form, participate in a competition or speak to your sales personnel so they can qualify them further.

7. Focus on networking, Visit Other Trade Booths Too

Exhibitions and Trade shows are not just about hype or making money, but also connecting with like-minded people, networking and having some fun!

Visit other booths, introduce yourself to people who might turn into your prospective leads. Strolling out can help you understand what your competitors are doing in keeping attendees engaged thus proving out a valuable tactic.

8. Keep the Atmosphere Lively, Indulge in Fun

The experience of meeting people in person at a real event can be overwhelming, especially when you can control the experience you want for your visitors. It can actually be energizing meeting leads face to face, knowing about them while adding a little flavor of fun while interacting with them.

In order to make your event memorable that can leave a long lasting impact in the minds of attendees, you can:

Consider doing a stage talk, or perhaps walk through a product demo answering questions and asking them, you don’t have to only focus on gaining customer attention but also in making your message stick longer with them.

Investing in some form of entertainment, music, food, and drinks will also make the environment more comfortable for your team boosting up the enthusiasm to work actively towards closing deals.

9. Collect Data and Follow Up Timely

Given the huge stake involved at your trade show event, it is important to collect all the data of your prospective leads who may be interested in your services in the future. Make sure to have a robust method for collecting the data.

Make use of productive CRM tools that can directly feed data to your smartphones or tablets ready to be launched in your customer database, it will save in a lot of time and manual effort.

Moreover, following up with leads in a timely fashion is crucial to keep the conversation going. Left attendees will forget you and grow cold in today’s’ fast paced environment or they may get wooed by your competitors who are faster on their feet. Reach out to leads through social media, connect them up on LinkedIn. Reply and Respond to every query and request to establish credibility and authority.S

Trade shows can be fantastic opportunities for you to increase brand awareness, multiply leads and maximize ROI for your business. All you have to do is understand what visitors are looking for, man your booth with the right staff, craft an attractive booth appearance, nail your live presentations, focus on networking and follow up in a timely fashion.

Ultimately the planning, thought and participation you put into your trade show will have a direct impact on the leads you will generate. Formulate your strategy based on the tips and suggestions outlined above and walk confidently in the direction of making your upcoming event a success.