Trade show 101: 8 tips for optimizing leads at your next event

How might you improve your trade show results next time around? Consider these suggestions.
by: Custom Toll Free , May 30, 2017

At their best, trade shows can be inspirational, educational and energizing. You come home with new knowledge, ideas for improvement and a set of really good sales leads.

At their worst, they feel like a waste of time. You trudge back with a slight hangover, a few negligible workshop notes and a useless contact list. You wonder if you’ll see any ROI at all, considering the price of admission and the opportunity costs of forgoing your regular work agenda for two or three days.

How might you improve your trade show results next time around? Consider these suggestions.

1. Be particular in choosing shows most likely to attract your key audiences. Ask peers their opinions, read reviews and get details from show organizers.

2. Secure a list of show attendees and cross-reference that with your internal list of clients, leads and partners. Then email the attendees to let them know you hope to see them, personalizing the messages for those you know and/or hope to meet. If the show list is unavailable, you might reach many attendees by simply emailing your internal contacts who live or work near the show location.

3. Promote your attendance on your website, email newsletters and social media, and take advantage of any free publicity or presentation opportunities offered by show sponsors. How might you be part of the show’s media coverage?

4. Set specific, measurable goals to achieve. Is your priority generating leads, qualifying prospects, researching competitors or just getting more exposure for your firm?

5. If you’re hosting a booth, aim to be among the most memorable. Stand out from the crowd with professional booth design, eye-catching clothes, live demos and/or fun, interactive experiences for visitors, perhaps a game with prizes and/or a display showcasing new technology. Incorporate a comfortable seating area for longer discussions with prospects.

6. Prominently display your vanity phone number on all collateral and online messaging used for the show. That will act as a competitive differentiator in helping attendees remember you, since research shows our short-term memories are more apt to become long-term when linked with a familiar word, phrase or number series.

7. Minimize small talk, using most of your time to determine other attendees’ business needs and how your company might meet them.

8. After the show, start qualifying your new leads by initiating a series of emails showcasing your most-read blogs, white papers and case studies. Your first email should reference your meeting with the prospect, perhaps prompting engagement by asking them to critique the show. Those who show interest can be offered a consultation or phone call and moved further down the funnel.

Talk to Custom Toll Free about using your vanity phone number to maximize your company’s memorability at trade shows and other events.

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