If you want to grow your client base and your bottom line, attending events is a must. In fact, according to Bizzabo, nearly half of all marketers believe that live events are the best tool to generate leads. Why? Well, not only are events an exceptional way to build relationships within your industry, but they also offer a powerful opportunity to get new leads and build business. So, how can you get leads at a trade show?
It starts with solid preparation. You need to spend some serious time upfront planning how you’re going to build your booth/space, how you’re going to capture leads, and just as importantly, what you’re going to do with these leads after your event. Today, we’re exploring 6 surefire ideas you can use to get leads.
1. Plan An Eye-Catching Trade Show Booth and Staff it With the “Right” People
We touched on this briefly above. A successful trade show experience starts with planning ahead. And, this means creating a great booth that’s eye-catching and stands out from other people around you. Create an open layout that invites people in with graphic or signage that draw their curiosity.
Staff your booth with engaging people who are passionate about your product or service. And, if this isn’t you but you want to be there, make sure you have team members who do fit the bill. After all, the best leads and connections come in when you stand up, reach out to people, and engage them in conversation or invite them to participate in your activity. If you can find a way to create a buzz and draw a crowd, you’ll have more lead generation success—because people, by nature, are interested in the things that other people love.
2. Games, Contests, and Interaction
One of the best ways to generate leads is to create an interactive opportunity or game for people to play in exchange for their contact information. This is an application of gamification, which started out as a buzzword and has become a key marketing strategy. By making something fun, you set yourself above the competitors, which in this case is all of the other trade show booths that are competing for expo attendees’ time, attention, and contact info.
Ideas for this are:
- Drawings/Giveaways – Attendees must enter to win a prize that can be related or unrelated to your company. While this is low on the scale of interactivity, it is a tried and true method for lead generation.
- Contests – An example of this is asking people to guess the number of jelly beans in the jar and write it on the entry form with their contact info. A prize goes to the winner. Maybe it’s the jar and maybe a different prize. It’s more interactive than Drawings or Giveaways, but still low on the list.
- Games or Treasure Chests – There are so many different places you can take this. In order to win a prize, attendees must play the game. Perhaps it’s spinning a wheel or answering a trivia question. Or, if you want more interaction and to tie into their competitive spirit, consider a robot race or a bean bag toss. Before they get to play, you grab their contact info. Maybe their prize is on the spot that they get to select from a treasure chest, or perhaps it’s something you email to them.
3. Product Test Drive
Product tests are an especially powerful way to get leads if you are debuting a new product or technology, speaking at a trade show, and/or if your product is fun. Invite people to join you at the booth for a product test drive. And, the only price for taking the controls is filling out your lead gen form.
4. Photo Booth
There are few better ways to engage people and get them to interact with you at a trade show than with a photo booth. You can invite people to take pictures on your booth and talk to them about your brand and product at the same time. You can brand the whole experience by creating overlays and print layouts with your logo, slogan and colors.
With new photo booth platforms, like Onebooth, you can also adjust the backend settings so that in order for visitors to save, print, or post a photo, they share their name and email address. Plus, you can set up custom hashtags that allow you to create additional publicity when these photos are shared socially.
You can easily rent a photo booth. However, if you want to save money you can create your own professional looking DIY photo booth. You will only need an iPad, the Onebooth app as well as a stand and a light. Head over to our article on How To Build Your Own DIY iPad Photo Booth to get hardware recommendations.
5. Special Offers or Show Pricing
If you have a really hot ticket item, offering show specials is a great way to boost sales on the spot. And that’s fantastic, especially if it can lead to bigger purchases. So maybe you want people to sign up to get a special download, a discount code, or something else. Capture their contact information with an onsite opt-in form on your tablet that is set up to automatically send out your special. This requires some advance set up with your email marketing program and CRM, but the automations are well worth your time. If you need a CRM, we love Hubspot and Pipedrive.
6. Scavenger Hunts
There are a few options here. The first might be a photo-based scavenger hunt of specific items or types of items that they upload to Instagram and tag your company. The second might be a multi-vendor coordinated game. While it does require more advance coordination, there can be a great deal of benefits for everyone involved, particularly if there are several vendors with services or products that complement your own. The rules are completely up to you, but a great idea would be to require check-ins at each company’s booth. There are apps out there that make it easy for virtual check-ins so you can easily capture their contact information. And perhaps there are individual prizes at each booth and a grand prize for those that make it to all 4 (or 10).
The bottom line is that event marketing is a powerful tool to introduce your product or service to new people, capture leads, and grow your business. These tips will help you create a booth that is interactive and helps you get leads at a trade show. Then, of course, the next step is putting your lead nurturing and follow up plan into action and converting them into customers.
Please let us know in the comments how these strategies are working for you, or if you have any tips to add!
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