Tradeshows, conferences, and other live events offer the perfect opportunity for attracting leads and buidling your customer base. Attendees are generally there because they are looking for new products or services. As a result. they are receptive to sales techniques and are in buying mode
Selling in a face-to-face
environment gives you the chance to build relationships with prospects and gain
their trust. Humans are social creatures and like to meet in person. And, if people
start to trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. Live events are a
perfect way for brands to showcase their personality and connect with potential
customers in a meaningful way.
Consider these experiential marketing stats, according to Caroline Grey, a content writer on the subject of live events.
But how do you make the most of a live event in order to build your customer base?
Why is event marketing important?
Live events are important because they give you in-person access to your target audience. You have the opportunity to make a positive impression on scores of prospects in a short timeframe. When backed by an effective strategy, event marketing can be a powerful tactic to help you boost your brand, generate qualified leads and build your customer base.
Event Marketing Strategy
It’s important to approach live events with a strategy in place to make the most of the opportunity. Ms. Grey offers the following tips to maximize your success.
1. Choose the right live event
There are many industry-specific events throughout the year and choosing the best one for your business can make the difference between success and failure. Research the audience an event attracts to make sure it is right for your business. To reach a maximum number of prospects, a larger trade show may be the most appropriate. However, smaller conferences or seminars can be more targeted and attract better quality leads.
2. Book a good space
One of the key factors affecting the number of leads you gather at an event is where your stand or booth is located in the exhibition hall. Being on a back wall at the end of an aisle will not bring you much attention. Choosing a space with maximum footfall is ideal so busy intersections are good, or positioning close to restaurants or restrooms. Being close to, but not actually by the entrance, can be successful, as people will want to move away quite quickly from a busy entrance but will then be primed to look around. Locating near a big competitor who will draw crowds can be beneficial, but you don’t want to appear inferior by comparison. It’s a good idea to visit the venue before you book to establish the best positions.
3. Engage in pre-show marketing
A live event provides an ideal environment to talk to propsects and clients. Use social media and email to reach customers and prospects before the event and let them know about your attendance. Invite them to meet with you during the event –either at your stand or somewhere close by in the evening. When you use social media to advertise your attendance, use hashtags used by the show organiser to promote the exhibition. Look up people who are using the event hashtag and are excited to be at the event. Contact them with offers or discounts that you will be promoting.
You may be able to get a list of attendees from the event organiser. This will give you the opportunity to contact attendees by text, phone, mail or email prior to the event and encourage them to visit you. Provide a hook – a freebie, demonstrations or discount to entice them to come.
Look for opportunities
to sponsor or advertise at the event, whether in the show catalogue or on
4. Design an eye-catching stand
Your exhibition stand is probably the most important factor in determining how many visitors come to your display area. Design your stand so it will attract attention and stand out from your competitors. Look to create something unique with large, minimal graphics. Make sure that all logos and text are large enough to be read from a distance. Being taller than other stands can be helpful, as can clever use of lighting. Don’t have too much text on your stand; it will look cluttered and no one will read it. Ensure that your logo and messaging won’t be blocked by furniture and position them towards the top of the stand.
5. Make your stand interactive
Consider having TV monitors or iPads to promote your products or services. These electronics draw attention to your stand. Giving visitors something to interact with other than just sales staff can be an effective way to entice people to visit your booth. If appropriate, give demonstrations of your product. Demonstrations can attract crowds and further education stand visitors. If your product is too bulky to demonstrate, consider using virtual reality to showcase it. Research shows that the more people can interact with a product, the more likely they are to buy it.
6. Be welcoming
Ban staff from using mobile phones or eating at the stand, and ensure they are not standing with their backs to visitors or sitting behind a desk. Make eye contact with people and smile. Encourage your staff to start conversations with visitors using open questions – not just "can I help you?"
Plan the initial sales pitch to draw people into your stand. Train your staff members prior to the show on what they should be saying about the products and company. Ensure everyone working your display area is knowledgeable and able to talk with confidence.
7. Offer promotional items
One of the easiest ways to lure leads is to give away a free gift. This especially works if your live event is directed at consumers rather than other businesses. People will be more likely to give you their contact details in exchange from a promotional item. Supplying something useful that has repeat use, like a memory stick for example, can help keep your brand top of mind over time.
8. Run a competition
Hosting a competition is a good way to gather prospect details at an event. Ensure the prize is worth it. You will be able to gather many leads for simply the cost of an iPad.
9. Qualify leads
Use a lead-capture form to take visitor details, so that you can qualify the leads as much as possible. Simply taking a business card can be ineffective since it may be difficult to remember details after the event. With a lead capture form, you'll be able to gather meaningful information from prospects and note whether they are interested in your product or just winning a prize.
Your team should be able to ask the right questions in order to qualify leads in a short time. A lot of information can be gleaned from body language, too. The more time you spend with a hot lead, the more information you can gather. That’s why you need to qualify individuals quickly and avoid time wasters. However, don’t disregard people who don’t qualify. You never know when they might be looking for a product like yours.
10. Follow up
One of the biggest mistakes made by exhibitors is not following up on leads from an event. Research shows that 81% of leads are not contacted by companies when the event is over. Make sure you store leads in a customer relationship management (CRM) system and contact individuals within a few days following the event. This will give you the best opportunity to convert leads into sales.
Live events offer a unique opportunity for attracting leads and building your customer base. Nowhere else has a large number of people in one space, all looking for new products like yours. But having a marketing strategy in place is important to attracting leads and promoting the success of the event.
Content Source: Writer Caroline Grey has a wide variety of business and marketing experience across different industry sectors. This article was written on behalf of Quadrant2Design. Ms. Grey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTRACTING TRADE SHOW VISITORS
Trade Show Marketing Strategies
Attracting Leads - Tradeshow Booth Ideas
Things that Compromise Trade Show Results
Using Booth Entertainment to Draw Crowds
Create Buzz with Product Demonstrations
Using Interactive Presentations to Attract Visitors