Success In Your Trade Show Booth Means Engaging Your Leads
Once you’re done with your trade show efforts, you’ll probably be all fired up and ready to turn those leads into sales! Well, OK, you’re probably going to be dead tired and collapsing at your hotel. But, in the next <very> few days, it’ll be time to get on those leads.
Of course, as we all know, not every lead you meet at a trade show, even the qualified ones, are going to be ready to make a purchase the day after they visit your exhibition stand. If they are, you already know it. Otherwise, like any lead, they’re going to need to be carefully handled until it’s time to make a sale.
The keys for success at trade shows can be boiled down to three critical components – attractthem to your booth, engage with them while they’re in your trade show booth, and finally, at the appropriate time, convert them into clients.
During the weeks or months following the initial meeting in your expo display, engagement is the key to keeping these leads interested in your product, The more effectively you keep your leads engaged, the better your chances of keeping them around.
So today, we wanted to talk specifically about ideas for ways to keep your new leads engaged, interested, and willing to at least pay attention when they receive material from you.
But first and foremost:
Have A Universal Lead Definition For Your Exhibition Displays
Does your company have a Universal Lead Definition? A surprising number of companies do not, despite how useful they can be in determining which trade show leads are worth prioritizing, or even pursuing at all. Every ULD is going to be different for every company, but at heart, it has three elements:
- Have a well-defined profile of your ideal customer, client, or buyer. A good buyer persona or two can fill this role quite well. Obviously, not every buyer will fit this mold, but it’s usually a good starting point, especially if you have a good collection of data on your past buyers.
- Create a process for lead qualification. What questions will you ask them at the trade show, and what range of answers are “acceptable” for someone your firm will want to pursue? For example, are you only targeting buyers directly, or is your business willing to start with their secretaries\staff and work upwards?
- Give your booth staff a plan to work with in your trade show booth, based on these definitions. Have them funnel leads to different team members, depending on the visitor’s level of interest and type of questions. And be sure to pass on this information after the show – this focuses your sales department and gives them guidance on how to work with the buyers you’ve deemed best-suited for your business.
Having a ULD in place before a trade show is a great way to ensure you know which leads you want before the doors to the expo even open. It’ll also help your booth staff prioritize their own interactions.
But now, what about after the show? We’ve got some tips for ways to reach out to your qualified leads to keep them engaged and “on the hook,” even if it’s not yet time to press for a sale.
- Send a hand-written note.
No one writes letters anymore. Email has become so ubiquitous that we automatically turn to it for everything. However, there’s really a lot to be said for the personal touch of sending a nicely-written note that’s clearly been written by hand. It immediately says, “I value you enough to take time to write you, personally.”
It doesn’t have to be long. Even a postcard could do in a pinch. But that extra touch of being truly hand-crafted makes the note special, and helps ensure it stands out among their mail and, most especially, makes far more impact than a generic email. When a letter, envelope, and postage can be had for less than a dollar per lead, that makes it a highly effective tool that too many people overlook.
- Send a goodie box.
Got a bunch of leftover freebies from your trade show booth that you don’t have other uses for? Put together a promotional package!
Because, let’s face it, everyone loves tearing into a box of free stuff. Even if it’s all clearly promotional, it’s like giving your leads a little taste of Christmas in the middle of the week. Try to include a range of materials, but tilt it towards the fun stuff. Shirts, little toys, interactive demos… It’s all about the experience.
Just giving someone a nice surprise with a few minutes of old-fashioned fun can do wonders for your upcoming sales pitches. Even better, this is exactly the sort of thing that inspires people to talk you up on social media, often accompanied by pictures of the goodies you sent.
- Create exclusive content on your website.
The key word here is exclusive. Don’t send them emails pointing them at your usual CTAs and landing pages. Have your content marketing folks put together a new eBook, video presentation, slide show, or even an animation that’s only for people you met at your most recent trade show. The more you can tie the material directly to the booth, the better it will go over.
Today, with so much information available to practically everyone on the planet, a sense of actual exclusivity is hard to come by. Create this feeling with some micro-targeted custom content, and you’ll help make your leads feel like they are special.
- Join LinkedIn Groups that they participate in.
This works especially well if you’ve already connected to them through social media, but it’s not necessary. Don’t target your messages to them personally – just join in the conversation, and do your best to make interesting and informative comments. A few minutes a day posting in Groups can do wonders for improving your image, and helping cement you as an expert in your field.
Don’t go nuts with this one, though, or it could feel like stalking. Stick to just one or two groups; don’t suddenly appear in a half-dozen places at once.
- Invite them to interactive online events.
Try hosting an online webinar with a chat session. There are plenty of websites allowing you to put together extremely cheap, or even free, online webinars that allow for hundreds of people to attend. When combined with a QA session afterward, it’s a great way to expand on your trade show messaging, in a more intimate format than at a busy trade show.
This is your opportunity to give the pitches and explanations you wish you would have had time to do during the show itself, plus there’s all the time in the world for feedback and questions afterwards.
You might even try making this part of your trade show display pitch. Pre-schedule the webinar for a week or two after the show, and try to get people to sign up for it while they’re at your booth. You’ll give them something to do, and a chance to have any questions answered.
Crafting An Experience Is The Key To Engaging Your Trade Show Leads
Experience is the running theme throughout all of these. You don’t want to simply send static emails and sales pitches to your qualified leads. Virtually anything you can do to get people actively participating in an activity, whether it’s an online chat or digging into an unexpected box of freebies, is going to ultimately increase their chances of converting later on.
This is the sort of hands-on work that will ensure your trade show displays pay off!