There were more than 11,000 trade shows last year in the US alone. This provides plenty of opportunities to generate new leads.
According to industry research, only 35% of exhibitors are able to identify the percentage of show leads that actually convert into a sale. With this number in mind, the popularity of trade shows in North America also represents plenty of missed opportunities to boost ROI.
Manufacturers, in particular, use trade shows as an important way to connect with industry buyers. However, without a plan for managing these new connections, it’s likely that qualified leads will be lost. With a proper system in place, manufacturers can ensure that their tradeshow efforts are not wasted and that they are following up with the proper leads in a timely fashion.
One of the keys to generating qualified leads at a trade show is a pre-show marketing campaign. Send emails to industry contacts in the months and weeks leading up to the show.
Promoting your business’s presence at the show is a start, but actually inviting visitors to stop by your booth to speak with your team is more effective. tweet
Emails and landing pages with strong conversion elements might invite people to book an appointment time where a member of your staff will be available to answer questions or even to go for coffee. Leads which want to engage with you prior to the show, as well as at the show, are easy to identify as interested.
Any successful manufacturing trade show will generate a wave of new contacts, making it important to have a system in place to manage them. Badge scanners are the easiest way to collect information on a busy trade show floor and are available for rent at many shows today.
Remember the quality over quantity rule. tweet
It is important to speak with booth visitors to determine if they fall within your target market before collecting their information. Scanning every booth visitors badge will only result in having to sift through a herd of unqualified leads after the show. Resist the urge to meet your ‘lead’ numbers by scanning everyone who came for your swag.
When the show is over upload all of the leads generated into a marketing automation tool. Marketing automation tools make it easy to send a personalized follow up email to tradeshow leads and are able to track the interest of each lead. Based on a leads activity prior to, during, and after the show, marketing automation tools assign each lead a score. Leads with higher scores are more likely to be sales ready and should be passed along to sales staff. This is the most efficient technique for managing a wave of new leads and ensures that legitimate prospects are recorded and automatically scored.
So what to do with the leads which aren’t yet sales ready? A successful manufacturing trade show will introduce your product to new leads for the first time. Given the traditionally longer sales cycle for B2B businesses, most of these new leads won’t be ready to buy anything yet. After the show marketers can add these leads to nurture campaigns. Nurture campaigns gradually provide leads with useful information to help them with their buying decisions. These automated campaigns are an effective way for companies to keep in touch with leads over time, and help to determine when leads are getting closer to making a purchase.
Using a system like this it is simple to track the number of genuine leads generated at each show. This makes it easy to calculate ROI and make adjustments going forward to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts.
About Samuel Fordham
Samuel brings energy and enthusiasm to the marketing team at ActiveConversion. With a background in communications and digital journalism, Samuel focuses marketing efforts towards the goal of increasing opportunities for business growth.