ActiveConversion recently conducted a “lunch and learn” seminar, and I must say, the topic was pertinent. The event was very timely. Here are some of my thoughts gained from this seminar.
The most important question asked is, “How can I improve my tradeshow ROI?” There are many ways to market for a tradeshow and many ways to spend your money, but often little if any ROI is realized. The most compelling factor to attend a trade show and set up a booth is the prospect of meeting face-to-face with the decision maker. But is your tradeshow marketing investment totally justified when you are just a needle in the haystack?
There are many other techniques to market a tradeshow: you can sponsor an event, you can write editorials in the event magazine, you can advertise on the tradeshow website etc. Tradeshows are already an expensive endeavor, and they can cost more if you choose to advertise using these other popular channels. If you are not a large company, costs for tradeshows can be significant considering the already limited marketing budget. On top of the advertising costs, there are other associated costs such as designing the booth, time that your sales reps spend to exhibit, flying costs, as well as food and lodging.
So, how much do you get back on the investment you just made on the tradeshow? Not as much as you were expecting, but the use of online marketing techniques can boost your tradeshow investment. In my last post, I wrote how you can combine the use of traditional and online marketing techniques and benefit from them, but here I’m describing how you can use online marketing to better market your tradeshows.
Following some concerns and solution suggestions based on online marketing and online tools – thus making it the most for your tradeshow investment.
BEFORE the show: How do we get more people to visit our booth?
Invite people from your list to meet you at the booth. Give them a compelling reason for a meeting: a big prize give away, or a free product, or a free software copy, or free consulting time or free passes to the trade show in your email. Give prospects a good reason to meet you to make the best use of their time and money.
DURING the show: How do I maximize marketing during the show?
When the prospective client meets you at the tradeshow, you can scan his badge and register him in your system. These are already partially qualified leads and can be entered into your CRM or Marketing Automation system. Using a marketing automation system will let you know exactly who clicked on your offer, and then scanning their badges at the show and assigning those leads to your system can qualify your leads further.
AFTER the show: Who are my best prospects? Whom should I follow up? What do I do with the big list of names?
After the show, send the prospective client a thank you email note with the prize giveaway announcement and have the prospects click on the results. If the prospect does more than just look at the prize landing page (for example visit other web pages) browse your product page or the pricing page, you can see how the accumulated scoring of your leads will give you a better picture of the lead quality. Now that you know who is really interested, you can nurture them further using marketing automation tools.
Therefore, during various stages of your tradeshow, you engage the prospect and help qualify the leads that actually will be worth spending your time on. With online marketing, make before the show, start of the sales cycle.
So the next time you are a part of tradeshow, think about the before, during and after of the tradeshow, and how online marketing can help generate stronger leads. Go on and start perfecting your tradeshows!
About Ritu Singh
Ritu has over 10 years of experience in planning, facilitating and executing marketing programs. She is passionate about marketing and driven to help start-ups and small to large companies market products and services online and offline.