At trade shows, lead generation is the name of the game. In order to generate leads, you have to maximize the number of touchpoints you have with attendees.
And the key to that is attracting people to your booth so you can start a relationship and get the person’s information. From there, anything may be possible.
Five Tips for Generating Attention
Depending on the type of show you’re attending, you could be only one of hundreds of booths in a massive exhibition hall. You need a strategy to cut through the noise and sights, so that you can persuade people to stop by and engage with you.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to magnetize attendees and encourage them to spend time at your exhibit.
- Design a Compelling Booth
Visuals are everything, obviously. You need people to get excited when they glance at your display.
If they don’t get aroused in a positive way, they’re unlikely to stop in. Instead, they’ll keep walking in search of a booth that piques their interest.
According to PosterGarden, modular trade show display is the best way to get immediate results. Depending on the type of booth you select, you might be able to incorporate interactive options, counter monitors, shelving, and more.
- Secure the Right Location
As with real estate, location may be the single most important aspect of a trade show booth. If you can score the ideal placement, you’ll have an immediate leg up on the competition.
Typically, the most desirable locations include spaces near the entrance, food and drink establishments, and possibly the restrooms. You want to be situated where people congregate and will pass by.
Depending on the type of trade show, you may have to pay a premium for such locations. In other cases, booths may simply be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. You need to find out which is the case well ahead of time.
- Use Your Best People
Trade shows can be exhausting … especially if they’re held over multiple days. In order to generate consistent results throughout the event, you need staff who are experienced, outgoing, gregarious, and represent your company and its brand values the best.
Don’t assign people to your trade show team based on convenience or comfort. Choose people who are articulate, knowledgeable about the business, and willing to put themselves out there. The ideal representative will pull people in, rather than waiting for attendees to wander by.
- Use Giveaways and Promotional Items
People like free stuff. If you want to raise the stakes and pull people into your booth so you can speak with them and gather information, try giveaways and promotional items. The booty could be as simple as bottled water or as nice as branded apparel.
- Run a Contest
In addition to giveaways, you can use contests to up the ante and increase your engagement with individual attendees. Common contests include:
- Prize wheels. This classic contest involves spinning a wheel and giving the corresponding prize to the individual.
- A drawing is nice because it allows you to gather information from prospects. If the prize is sufficiently enticing, you may be able to generate hundreds or thousands of leads at a single trade show.
- People always love a good trivia event. It’s a nice way to break down barriers and engage in natural conversation prior to getting down to business.
- Photo contests. The rise of social media has given way to photo contests. Encourage guests to upload a photo of your trade show booth with a specific hashtag. You might also require contestants to tag a certain number of people in the post. You must also promise to select a winner at the end of the day.
- Counting contests. This is another classic challenge. It typically involves a jar of Jelly Beans, pennies, or M&Ms. Attendees try to guess the exact number in the jar and submit that along with their name and email address.
The great thing about the contest is that it drums up excitement while also giving you more time to interact with attendees. Try out different strategies to see which ones work best for your lead generation efforts.
Final Thoughts: Have a Plan for Following Up
It’s imperative to figure out a way to interact with as many people as possible at a trade show. All this effort will be for naught, however, if you don’t follow up with the leads you generate.
Post-trade show follow-up is arguably the most crucial step of the process. Within 12 to 36 hours, you should be contacting all the leads in some fashion.
The hottest ones should be a priority, of course, and should be contacted via SMS or phone with the goal of scheduling follow-up meetings or sales calls. The coldest leads may require a steady drip of non-intrusive contact (email newsletters are ideal).
Either way, you have to do something. Only a fraction of your leads will convert in the short term, but don’t underestimate the value of exposure.
When the next trade show comes around, the groundwork you’ve laid with other leads could lead to even greater results.